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Ghanaian Men Urged to Give Nursing Mothers a Break to Exclusively Breastfeed their Babies in Peace

Some female Members of Ghana’s Parliament have urged the men in the country to stay away from the breast of their nursing wives during the recommended exclusive six months nursing period.

The men are being blamed for the dip in the country’s exclusive breastfeeding rate within the last decade.

According to the MPs, the breastmilk is an exclusive preserve of the newly born baby who needs it to build his or her immune system from diseases and for growth. Regrettably however, the men are always found to be in some sort of competition with the baby over the breast of the mother.

The female Legislators made the comment in a contribution to a statement made on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 by the MP for Keta, Kwame Dzudzorli Gakpey to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

The Breastfeeding Promotion Regulations, 2000

According to the maker of the statement, even though Ghana adopted the International Code and enacted the Breastfeeding Promotion Regulations 2000 (LI1667), lack of enforcement has allowed the commercial interest of breastmilk producing and distributing companies to overshadow and undermine breastfeeding, optimal infant and young child feeding, and health of children and women.

“The country’s exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) rate increased from 2% in 1988 to 63% in 2008, an achievement which has since been eroded with the EBF rate currently being 43%, after dropping from the 2014 rate of 52%,” he said in his statement.

Contributions on the Floor

In her contribution to the statement, the MP for Tanor North and Former Deputy Gender Minister, Freda Akosua Prempeh blamed the men for the decline in the exclusive breastfeeding rate in the country.

She said, “the men should give the women a break in order to allow their new born babies to enjoy their breast milk in peace when they start nursing.”

Okaikwe North MP, Thereza Lardi Awuni on her part, re-emphasized the point that the men are guilty since they continue to compete with their children for the breast of their mothers. She urged them to keep off the breast.

The MP for Ketu North, Dzifa Abla Gomashie, advocated for the leave period to be extended for nursing mothers to enable them honour the recommended exclusive six months breastfeeding period. She also recommended that men should be given paternity leave to help their nursing wives to take care of their children during the nursing period.

However, on her part, the MP for Ada and Deputy Minority Whip, Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe-Ghansah said some women are also to blame for refusing to breastfeed their babies for required period for fear that their breast would sag too early.

She used herself as an example to call on the women to stop protecting their breast from sagging and rather think about the health and growth of their children. “I have fed six children with my breast yet they are still standing. These young ladies should stop protecting their breast for fear of losing the firmness which attracts the men.”

She also urged the men to give the women a break when they start nursing their children because it is not easy for the women during the nursing period.

The Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi who was one of the few men who contributed to the statement on the Floor, came to the rescue of the men. He rather attributed the decline in the exclusive breastfeeding policy in the country to the quest of women to keep their breast in shape for their men.

He said, “Because most men like breast that are standing, the women are refusing to breastfeed their children in order to keep it in shape for the men. The men are not the cause for the decline in the breastfeeding rate.”

At the end of the statement, the Speaker referred it to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health for consideration and report.

Source: Clement Akoloh||

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