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Sucking your wife's breasts can prepare her for breastfeeding your baby

Husbands are advised to suck the breasts for the pores of the nipples to be ready for the baby to feed.

Young mothers are encouraged to feed their babies exclusively in the first six months [American Academy of Pediatrics]

According to her, the husband especially has a crucial role to play before the Antenatal Care (ANC) or formative stage in getting the pores of the nipples to be ready for the baby to feed.

Essien, while speaking with newsmen in Uyo on the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week, said the support of the community and the family was crucial in sustaining practice of exclusive breastfeeding.

Essien, who is a Ministry of Health director, said family members should encourage young mothers to feed their babies exclusively in the first six months to stimulate the growth of their babies.

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She said that the most beneficial type of baby care is Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) which should start 30 minutes after delivery and to last for six months.

The health official added that before delivery, many steps should be taken particularly during antenatal care to promote and encourage breastfeeding.

"This entails eating a balanced diet. The husband, apart from giving psychological and financial support, has a responsibility before antenatal care or formative stage to suck the breast for the pores of the nipples to be ready for the baby to feed.

"Alternatively, if the husband does not suck, he should use his fingers on the nipples to make it open. In promoting breastfeeding, you have to first all agree on ideal things, particularly health education. This involves preparing the woman mentally and physically for feeding.

"Physically, the mother needs to eat well, stimulate the nipples. This is because in some women when pregnant, the nipples become enlarged and when the baby wants to put the nipples in the mouth if it is closed, the baby would find it difficult to suck.

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"Effective breastfeeding will make the baby to grow well physically and mentally without water. Breastfeeding stimulates the brain, the nutrient in it boosts the immune system and enhance growth of other parts of the body in a baby," Essien said.

Essien emphasised that women leaders in the community and the religious places have a role to amplify the need for exclusive breastfeeding at their various fora.

She, however, added that the state of the economy and the fear by some women that their breast could sag hindered effective breastfeeding.

She advised pregnant mothers to always go for antenatal care for health education where they would be taught proper method of breastfeeding, which includes, how to position the baby while breastfeeding.

Essien urged nursing mothers to make good use of local food which is rich in nutrients to produce milk to avoid malnourishment of the baby.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for 2023 World Breastfeeding Week was "Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents."

It aims at increasing awareness of the benefits of supporting breastfeeding in the workplace.

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