Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, Professor Rosemary Ogu has warned against traditional post-partum care practices that can be harmful to newborn babies.
“Babies have died because somebody was pressing them, babies have died because soap entered their nose,” she warned on Nigeria Info FM’s Hello Port Harcourt.
Traditional bathing patterns such as intense body and head massage, bending over of the baby with the head facing the ground, etc. are common post-partum practices in Nigeria adopted by most new mums and relatives who give care during a post-partum period known as ‘Omugwo’ (meaning child visit).
These practices are believed to make babies strong and healthy.
Professor Ogu urged caregivers to be tender when bathing new babies as some traditional post-partum practices are no longer applicable.
According to her, new babies can be cleaned without soap, especially in the first week of birth, but while this is optional, precautions should be taken to avoid putting the baby at risk.
Professor Ogu also advocated for exclusive breastfeeding, stating that new mothers should be encouraged to give only breast milk for the first six months of birth, every three hours.
“Stop telling newly delivered mothers to give water…we have eighty percent of water in breast milk” she stressed.
The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, further clarified that unusual pregnancy cravings are normal. She, however, advised against eating popular edible clay known as ‘Nzu’, half-ripe paw-paw, and other cravings that could be detrimental to the health of the mother or the baby.
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