A humanitarian group, Save the Children International, has advocated for exclusive breastfeeding.

The organisation noted that for breastfeeding to be successful, a mother needs a supportive environment at home, at the workplace and religious centres.

The Advocacy Campaign and Policy Manager, Ifedilichukwu Innocent, stated this at this year’s World Breastfeeding Week with the theme ‘Step up for Breastfeeding – Educate and Support’.

Innocent, who doubles as Chairman of the Steering Committee of Civil Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CSSUNN), said the objectives of the campaign was to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action to support, promote and protect exclusive breastfeeding at individual and organisational levels.

He said: “The government should protect, promote and support breastfeeding by enforcing the BMS code to end exploitative marketing of breast milk substitutes. Employers should encourage exclusive breastfeeding by having corporate policies that support it, provide conducive areas for breastfeeding, and prioritise maternal and paternal rights.

“Breastfeeding can suffer dramatically in an emergency situation. We need to set up mother and baby areas to ensure that mothers in refugee camps can receive advice, encouragement, and counseling on infant feeding practices. The public should share awareness about exclusive breastfeeding, be respectful to breastfeeding mothers in public, and support breastfeeding mothers in our household.

“We also need to sustain the zero-water campaign and enhance awareness among professional groups, especially the health and nutrition stakeholders’ platforms and groups. Full implementation of the multi-sectoral plan of action for food and nutrition should also be encouraged.”