A GROUP, `Baby Friendly Initiative/Infant and Young Child Feeding (BFI/IYCF)’ have urged women to observe adequate nutrition within the first 1,000 days from conception to age two of their babies.
“It is very necessary for normal brain development, cognitive, motor and socio-emotional skills throughout childhood and adulthood life,” said Ngozi Ekwedike of Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
Ekwedike said this at Ukpo, Dunukofia LGA, during sensitisation training for community women leaders from 21 Local Government Areas in the state on ‘`Optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF)’’.
Ekwedike, who doubles as coordinator of BFI/IYCF, explained that malnutrition during this critical 1,000 days was a basic cause of stunted growth among children.
“Children without adequate nutrition during early life are at risk of later neuropsychological problems, poor school achievement, early school drop-out and low-skilled employment. It also causes chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers later in life,” she said.
Ekwedike enumerated some of the causes of malnutrition as lack of nutritious foods, poverty and poor infant and young child-feeding practices, poor care giving and poor hygiene.
“I am pleading with you to take this teaching on early initiation of breastfeeding within 30 minutes of birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of babies’ life to other mothers.
“Mothers can introduce nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods at six months of the baby’s life plus breastfeeding until the child clocks two years,” Ekwedike said.
Women Leader, Oge Ekweozor, commended the government for the training, promising that they would ensure that the teachings would get to grassroots mothers for a better Anambra.