Isaac Adewole, minister of health, says there’s a plan in motion to extend maternity leave from four to six months.
Adewole said this on Thursday while inaugurating the 2018 World Breastfeeding Week in Abuja.
The minister said breastfeeding “is a national investment in the cerebral architecture of our citizens and in the future development of our country”.
He urged men to stop competing with babies for breasts.
“Breastfeeding is a national investment in the cerebral architecture of our citizens and in the future development of our country. So, let us work together to promote it,” Adewole said.
“To the men, please allow the women to give it to the babies. Don’t share or compete with the babies. Only promote it. To the women, I know you love us but don’t give it to us, give it to the babies.
“What has been shown clearly is that the brain, which we actually need to drive everything we do in life, is sorted out in the first two years.
“If you give the baby good food, good protein, we will have good workers and good leaders in the future. But if we don’t give them good food, then we will have a generation of jesters over the years and that is not what we want in this country.
“Now we have four months of maternity leave but we are working with labour to increase it to six so that there will be no excuse because if you have six months, there is no excuse.”
On her part, Zainab Ahmed, minister of state for budget and national planning, said according to health practitioners, initiating breastfeeding early would reduce the risk of asthma and obesity in babies.
“Health practitioners have advised us that initiating breastfeeding within the first hours of life reduces the rate of neonatal mortality by up to 22 percent. It also reduces the risk of asthma and obesity in the babies,” she said.