File photo: Breastfeeding

Nursing mothers have been advised to adhere strictly to exclusive breastfeeding at least for the first 1,000 days after birth to promote the well-being of new babies.

The ‘First 1,000 Days’ are a period of rapid physical growth, mental development and provide a unique opportunity to build health and intelligence. 

The baby in the womb depends on the mother for nutrition and mental, physical and emotional growth.

Sekyere East District Health Director, Dr Justice Ofori Amoah, says that proper exclusive breastfeeding helps prevent infant mortality. 

He spoke during an inauguration ceremony of community health groups trained to promote proper breastfeeding.

The first 1,000 days refer to a child’s life from the moment they are conceived until they reach two years of age. 

This is a time when their brain, body and immune system grow and develop significantly.

In their first 1,000 days, babies need healthy food, loving relationships, and time to play.

Dr Amoah said parents who oppose exclusive breastfeeding experience health and economic effects, not only on babies but the family as well.

He urged parents in the Sekyere East District to cooperate with the community health volunteers on the exercise they have been tasked to deliver.

Regional Operations Manager for World Vision Ghana said the volunteer health groups have been trained and equipped with bicycles to implement the project.

Mr Joshua Baidoo said the groups as part of the exercise will sensitise nursing mothers on nutritional foods that are best for babies at an early stage.

Good nutrition in the womb and through early life is essential to the future health of the child.

Research has shown that what a mother eats, her weight and her lifestyle habits can influence the baby’s metabolism, immune system and organs. 

Poor nutrition during pregnancy and early life can lead to obesity, heart disease and stroke later on.