PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s wife Hadjiya Aisha Buhari has asked employers across Nigeria to allow working mothers to breastfeed their children while at work so as to encourage more of them to join the workforce. Over half of Nigeria’s population is made up of women but this ration is not reflected in the workforce as a lot of mothers have to give up work to look after their children. In a bid to enhance productivity, Hadjiya Buhari has called on employers in Nigeria to create an enabling environment for mothers to breastfeed the babies at work. Speaking at the commemoration of 2015 World Breastfeeding Week themed Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work, Hadjiya Buhari urged all mothers to remain committed to feeding the babies properly to help reduce malnutrition in the country. She added that breastfeeding is key to reducing malnutrition. Linus Awute, the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, said it was important that all Nigerian mothers be encouraged to breastfeed, even at work. He added that there is no shame in breastfeeding, pointing out that breastfeeding messages must get to the rural areas. An international lactation consultant, Clarissa Georgestone, said if a breastfed child is sick, he or she is likely to recover faster than a non-breastfed child. Ms Georgestone pointed out that while breastfeeding is beneficial to babies, it is also important for mothers to breastfeed as it is safe, easy and quick and can be given anywhere. Ms Georgestone said: “It helps to reduce the risk of some cancers and bone disease while reducing bleeding after delivery. Breastfeeding also helps with mother and child bonding.” According to Chris Isiokponou, The head of nutrition in the federal ministry of health, only 17% of mothers are breastfeeding exclusively in Nigeria. With the rise in the number of working mothers, many professional women no longer have time for breastfeeding.
Hadjiya Buhari urges Nigerian employers to allow mothers to breastfeed while at work