Health expert Mrs Peace Essien has called on husbands to always suck the breasts of their pregnant wives to get the pores of the nipples ready before the arrival of the new baby.
Essien, the coordinator of the Primary Health Care Operational Base, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, stated this on Tuesday during an interview in her office to mark the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week, themed “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents.”
She said husbands of pregnant women, apart from giving psychological and financial support, have some responsibility before antenatal care or during the formative stage of the pregnancy.
“Husbands are encouraged to suck the breasts of their pregnant wives to get the pores of the nipples ready for the baby to feed. Alternatively, if the husband does not suck, he should use fingers on the nipples to make it open,” she said.
Essien noted that effective breastfeeding will make the baby grow well, both physically and mentally.
“Breastfeeding stimulates the brain; the nutrients in it boost the immune system and enhance the growth of other parts of the body in a baby,” she stated.
Mothers, too, she stressed, also benefit from exclusive breastfeeding.
“It makes the body return to its shape. It serves as another method of family planning for some mothers as it guides against immediate pregnancy and increases bonding with the baby,” she said.
She called on families, community leaders, and religious leaders to encourage young mothers to feed their babies exclusively with breast milk for the first six months.
She also urged women leaders in the community and the church to amplify the need for exclusive breastfeeding.