Chief Executive Officer of mom and baby care company, Mothersbond
Limited, Mr Michael Osuji, has said that government’s recent approval
of 30 days extension to the three months maternity leave is
commendable but still falls short of appropriate recommendation.
According to Osuji, government should still look into the six months
maternity leave recommended by several health bodies and medical
experts, if Nigeria has hopes of having healthy children. He said that
exclusive breastfeeding of babies in the first six months helps them
balance physically, mentally and emotionally, even as it gives them
the best start in life.
He, however, said that this commendable gesture may not serve a better
purpose if government did not ensure that private sector employers
also complied accordingly. The Federal Government recently announced
the extension of maternity leave from 90 days to 120 days to further
strengthen the bond between nursing mothers and their newly born
babies. Osuji said: “While this is a huge step in the right direction,
we would continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders in
government, health care experts and the media to push for at least six
months fully paid maternity leave. The underlying goal of this is to
ensure that newly born babies have no hindrance to exclusive
breastfeeding in the first six months which helps them have the best
start in life, physically, mentally and emotionally.” He, however,
advised mothers to augment the length of exclusive breastfeeding with
sustain breastfeeding pumps, even after the four months maternity
leave. “Mothers can still do exclusive breastfeeding beyond the four
months maternity leave, through breastfeeding pumps, which can be used
to appropriately express and store breast milk, for caregivers to feed
babies with, when they are hungry.

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