Baby Friendly Initiative

by Admin on

The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched by WHO and UNICEF in 1991, following the Innocenti Declaration of 1990. The initiative is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

Ten pillars of successful breastfeeding

Every member of the hospital staff that will directly or indirectly contact the mothers should have basic knowledge about breastfeeding. Such details should be penned down and easy to refer to or present to a new member of staff.

Practical sessions should be organised to train the members of staff on what has been written down. For example, each member of staff should be able to demonstrate to the mothers how they can position the baby properly for breastfeeding.

Pregnant women should be put through the benefits of breastfeeding throughout their antenatal visits and contact with the hospital, either through general organised sessions or one on one as they visit. Printed leaflets will also go a long way to achieve this.

Sometimes, the healthcare providers can so focus on keeping the mother stable that they forget the newborn needs to get fed and that quickly. Unless where otherwise indicated, help both mother and child to get on with breastfeeding within 30 minutes of delivery.

It is not enough to tell the mother to start breastfeeding, show them how (positioning and sitting posture) and make sure they get it right. Should there be a need for separation, either the baby is admitted into a neonatal unit or the mother is admitted, they should be allowed some time together, mother should express milk from their breast too where direct breastfeeding may be impossible.
This will prevent breast engorgement and abscess in the mother.

The breast milk contains all the baby needs – nutrients, water. A lot of people feel an irresistible urge to quench the baby’s thirst with water. Breast milk is ENOUGH!

Bonding between mother and child is very important especially in those first days, weeks and months of the baby’s existence. Neonatal baby units and wards usually have a room and space for mothers to be as close to their babies as possible in the event that the baby is admitted.

Feed the baby as often as possible, theirs isn’t thrice a day.

You know those “mouth plugs” and mouth pieces to stop the baby from crying? Stop using them.

A breastfeeding group or club doesn’t sound bad, there’s strength in numbers so why not.

It is advocated that babies be exclusively breastfed for 4-6 months, that is, at least 4 months of breastmilk only without water or any other thing. Other fluids should be introduced from 6 months. This is the ideal and best practice. Workplace practices should cater for this provision to encourage women to comply as possible.

Oluwatosin Fatade (MB;BS Ib)


Written by Oluwatosin Fatade

The world’s population is estimated at about 7 billion as at the last time of caring to find out. Going by the high turnover of pregnancies and deliveries I have personally taken record of, 10 billion must be warming up on the sidelines! I also think there are enough Myths about everything to go round a quarter of the world’s population!
Well, let’s talk about Myths surrounding pregnancy, and childbirth. There are tons of them, we all probably practice one or two without even knowing it. Either actively or passively, these have been passed down to us as meat to be chewed, re-chewed and churned out to offsprings like the cud.
I’m hoping your diet will change after reading this, you’ll focus on nutritional meat rather than these unfounded staples.

Umbilical cord care

Umbilical cord

  1. The umbilical cord must be heated or rubbed with something.
    Abort mission! Do not attempt to heat that newborn’s umbilical cord with lantern, candles or hot knife. Cases of tetanus have been recorded through such practices and yes, it is deadly! Some have done it without repercussions, don’t gamble. A baby’s cord will fall off within a week if it has been properly tied off. All you need do at all is clean it 2ce or 3ce daily within a clean wipe or cotton wool made wet with methylated spirit. And, don’t tuck it in with the pampers please! You don’t want shit and urine traveling up the cord into the baby, do you?
Breastfeeding, baby friendly initiative
  1. The baby needs water to quench thirst.
    Breast milk contains enough water to quench the baby’s thirst even if the baby is a desert. The breast milk is always served fresh at the right temperature and in the right safest container. Don’t risk your baby’s life just yet with the poor water you’re used to. Breast milk only for the first 4 to 6 months without adding water at all is very sufficient for your baby.
  1. The mother needs hot body massage so her belly won’t be big after delivery.
    El-Oh-El! “Belle wey wan big before go big even if you rub am with fiery furnace”. There’s something called puerperium. It stands for the period after pregnancy that it takes the body to return fully to its pre-pregnant status. Usually 6 weeks, you get where 41 days comes from now, don’t you? The uterus (a woman’s womb) gradually reduces in size after delivery and returns fully to previous state in 6 weeks. Warm compresses or hot massage that won’t burn the skin are good for the skin, it stops there. Don’t turn a newly delivered mother to a burns injury patient.

  2. In the face of probably the most painful experience of a lifetime, someone says to the mother in labour, don’t cry! Ehn? You say what? It is somehow associated with a bad omen, you’ll hear things like, if you cry the first time, you’ll always cry in labour. There’s nothing wrong in crying please, it means you’re normal and can feel pain, no one ever died from crying. There’s much talk about the Hebrew women, nor be only them o. I once had an 18 year old girl, likely Hausa. From the beginning of her labour till the end, we no hear pim! I had heard legends of how people from that tribe can endure pain, or bottle it in, I saw it live! I had to check her more frequently than others. For the sake of your doctor or whoever will take your delivery, please cry if na so e dey do you. Crying is not a sin.

Safety pin
  1. Safety pins, tying clothes into knots or putting a stone behind your ear will not ward off evil spirits. Evil spirits won’t give a hoot about language, the safety in safety pin is to keep your clothes safely tacked together. It is as impotent in keeping you safe as the status of a federal road safety corps officer in a road accident.
Snail, pregnancy myths


  1. Eating snails or okra won’t give your baby mental retardation or make them slow when born. Please eat these nutritious delicacies freely.
Anterior fontanelle, ọká


  1. Some people think eating Plantain is the cause of the “hole” in the baby’s head. They call it “ọká” and consider it a disease. It is normal for a baby to have this space, it is called Anterior fontanelle. It allows the baby’s head and brain enough allowance to grow and mature before it closes. It usually remains open for up to 1 year and a half normally.

Have any more beliefs that have been passed down and you’re not sure whether to discard or follow? Reach out to us, we’ll be glad to help out.

The Blues – 3

by Alexandra Akinnadeju on

Written by Alexandra

Read Part 1 here
Read Part 2 here

Part 3

My wife had been ignoring the baby, even when he cried. It’s 2 days post-delivery and my ‘Post-delivery Fatigue Syndrome’ diagnosis is beginning to sound lame. We had to make do with infant formula, my mom doing all the feeding. I brought the baby with me yet again as I made for her bedside, but my wife wouldn’t acknowledge the two of us. Then I said, “I’ve been thinking we should name him Gabriel. He doesn’t look like a Solomon to me.” She just kept looking at the baby as if he was some stranger, I tried to place the baby on her laps but she just pushed my hands away. She looked at me and said, “I don’t feel like touching or holding the baby. I don’t know how to act around the baby. I’m just so tired.”
“Just hold the baby, please”, I begged. It was obvious that the orderlies and nurses were eavesdropping. In fact one of them was bold enough to step close to mop the floor though we spilled nothing! Several episodes of same followed and on one of those final efforts, as if overwhelmed by some magical force, my wife stretched out her hand and held the baby. She looked at him for a long time, then smiled. We were eventually discharged on the third day and I was glad to take both mother and child home at last! Home has proven to be the best cure; with both grandmas around, as well as my sister. Sade had stayed out of bed, even breastfed the baby. It was such a relief because I always really worried for her. Breast engorgement is another painful thing I didn’t want her to go through. Day 4 and 5 were largely uneventful but I still kept a close watch on my wife.

Sade woke me up at 2 a.m. the following day and said, “are you sure that is our baby?” In that moment, I knew my night was over. “Of course he is! Why would you think otherwise?” But the ultrasound said it was a girl, she argued. Ultrasounds aren’t 100% accurate, Sade. I made a mental note of looking through the motherhood book she was reading while pregnant. She trusted the book more than she trusted me apparently. “I know something happened to my baby,” she continued. “I heard her cry then she stopped.” Of course, newborns cry and stop and it is a he, not ‘she’ dearie. “They also took my baby away, she started again. Only to clean and weigh her! I replied impatiently.

Sade had gotten better after the naming ceremony but I was losing my mind at work. I had been looking forward to the delivery and so had she. Maybe for different reasons; but hers had all the excitement. She was all ecstatic one minute and ice-cold the next, unpredictable, and yes it frustrated my spirit, soul and body! My consultant called me into his office at work one morning. “Sit down, Olaniyi.” You know something’s wrong when your boss calls you by your first name. I moved to defend myself, I had documented without signing out. A little misdemeanor, but a sign of great indiscipline with this man. “Olaniyi, I have not called you into my office to castigate you over the case note; that is settled. You seem absent minded, and that so unlike you! What is the matter, is your workload too much?” No sir. Are you worried about your exams? “No sir!” I cleared my throat.
“Well, I want reasons young man.” The famous stern voice was returning. “You have a promising future ahead of you. Medicine isn’t something you do absent mindedly. If you keep this up, you are bound to make a mistake which could affect your career.” Sir, I promise to be more focused. He peered at me through his glasses while I squirmed on my seat.
A cold drink or a hot tea?
I adjusted my tie, “a drink sir“. He went to his fridge and brought me a light beer then he took one for himself. He opened his and I followed suit. Although I wasn’t one to take alcohol, I took a sip after him. I felt a bit more relaxed.
Then the old man started telling of how he almost lost his mind after the birth of his first son. “I married late; I’d had a quiet life for 40 years then came this wailing buster. My wife sleeps deeply. I was the one who rocked and fed at night. I almost made a mess of my master’s thesis.” He launched into stories and stories till I started laughing. Then I told him about my wife. How she cries and is always tired. How she is always having fears about the baby and at times showing utter neglect. I told of him of her self-neglect. He listened intently. I went on and on, till I had emptied my heart, and the bottle of beer.
He looked me directly in the eyes and said, “Your wife is having the blues. The earlier you accept the diagnosis, the earlier you would seek help for her sake. Forget about investigating if someone in the family has had this before and take active measures.” By all means pray but let the young lady see a psychiatrist. She wouldn’t forgive you if she were to miss these first days of her child’s life.
Those few months showed me I’m made up of stronger stuff than I think. Our families have been supportive, and I have learnt to ignore the gossips and the ignorant. I’ve learnt to pray, and I’ve come to realize this – a wife is the most delicate and the most important piece in a man’s world. Now I can really appreciate just how scared I was. I thought I had lost my wife! It was not been easy at all- the therapy sessions, the side effects of medications. I had to take an extended leave from work. My wife has won the bout against post-partum depression/psychosis with me as her coach and God as referee. Only she could explain what she went through. I saw the agony and could recognize her pain. For someone who is connected to her body, soul and spirit, I could almost touch the grief or absolutely share it with her. It was just like labor! I did not allow her to suffer in silence. We sought professional and spiritual help. She now thinks the boy is the most beautiful baby in the world. I enjoy watching her do all and more than she has planned!

My Folasade is finally back! Now Gabriel has the love, attention and devotion of mummy and daddy. I can’t wait to watch him grow!

*** the end ***

The Blues – 2

by Alexandra Akinnadeju on

Written by Alexandra

Read Part 1 here

Part 2

It’s the same hospital where I work. The same unit where I am a junior resident. One of my favorite colleagues and senior, Dr. Mrs Olga examined Sade and sent us straight to the delivery room. She clapped my shoulder and said, “you really wanted to deliver this baby at home, what changed your mind?” I couldn’t tell her I had slept while my wife went through labor alone. So much for my preparation against today, the rocking techniques and Lamaze videos we had watched together.
The nurses were more than eager to satisfy all my wife’s whims. We were in the most comfortable delivery room. My mom, who made her way down to the hospital immediately her drowsy and somewhat confused son called her, was allowed to stay. She stayed close and never missed a single sweat that dotted my wife’s brow. I stood close by watching. She had grown less chatty, or so it seemed. She told me over and over that she wasn’t mad at me for sleeping but I still felt so bad.
The head nurse came in and asked if I would wear a glove and an overall on my scrub. I obliged but I was more than satisfied to let her take the delivery while I held and encouraged my wife. She was placed on fluids while I initially declined augmentation. The contractions were strong enough as my wife’s abdomen seemed to vibrate with each wave of contraction. The amniotic membrane was ruptured artificially and at that point it was foolhardy to refuse augmentation. Dr. Olga didn’t bother asking, she went straight ahead.
Sade complied with every command, as the head of the baby crowned.
She pushed and tears gushed out of her eyes. Mom said it was a bad omen and started reprimanding her…”women don’t cry during labor, it’s bad omen for the baby.” I had to tell mom to let her be, our baby is a blessing from God. It cannot be anything otherwise. My little outburst seemed to give Sade some extra impetus as she gave hard pushes; then it happened – he arrived!

I cannot describe the relief I had when I heard him cry immediately he came out. At least it was all good news thus far. He was the most beautiful bloody-body covered with whitish-dirt I’ve ever seen! I held him for a while, before he was yanked off me by the midwife to be cleaned up. I thought he looked like an angel, a baby angel if one ever existed. Maybe we should name him Raphael, no, Gabriel would be better… “Dr. Olaniyi!” I was brought out of my mini trance. “Your wife, do you think she’ll need a repair? She has a little tear.” For someone who had spent almost a year in obstetrics, I seemed confused. “Please let Dr. Olga examine and decide” I mumbled, as I held Sade’s hand. She seemed to have regained some of her strength, as she asked if I covered the delivery on camera. I smiled and told her the camera was the very last thing on my mind. Truly no amount of preparation could brace one up for the reality. Nothing had gone as I planned, as we planned. In fact I had planned to do a video recording of every moment. My wife and I had had good laughs at how hard she would bite me and call me the most terrible man in the world. She would speak in tongues and sing hosanna in the highest sopranos. In one case scenario, she even sent me out of the labor ward. All we had at that moment was alternate reality.

Suddenly Sade closed her eyes and turned away from me. No eager smile or eyes searching out the crying infant. I asked how she felt and she said she didn’t know. I put on a new pair of gloves quickly to confirm she wasn’t bleeding, since Dr. Olga seemed to be preparing for an emergency caesarean section. I asked for more intravenous fluid because I figured she might be hypoglycemic and exhausted from the whole process. I quickly ordered mom to stay with her while I got something for her to eat.
The nursing sister at the postnatal ward called my name. I was amidst a bunch of my colleagues from the pediatrics department who were on a ward round at the postnatal ward. I ran into them whilst returning from my trip to get Sade her favorite meal. It was a happy atmosphere filled with congratulatory jokes. The nurses had told my colleagues that I was all fidgety in the labor ward, that I kept wringing my hands as if that wasn’t what I did every day. She even went as far as saying I kept making groaning sounds while my wife pushed, like I was the one in labor!
“Doctor, can I have a word with you?” the nurse said as she arrived where we all stood. Alarmed at the tone of her voice, I followed her and asked what the matter was. We tried initiating early breastfeeding for your baby in line with baby-friendly initiatives but your wife has declined breastfeeding. She said she doesn’t feel like it. Should I give him infant formula for now or would you like to speak with her? “It’s okay. I’m going to check on her, thank you”, I replied.
“Folashade, how do you feel?”, I asked as I arrived her bedside. Smiling up at me, she exclaimed “refreshed! “ She was sitting up in bed and looking way better than the woman I saw being wheeled into the post-natal ward hours earlier.

“Would you like to eat now? I asked. “Yesssss!!! Is it moi moi?” Sade, no moi moi please, I got you rice and meat. She gave me a peck, rearranged the bed spread and requested for a tray. I talked while she ate. Then I stood up to throw away the take away pack when she was done and I went to carry the baby from the baby cot beside us. After about 5 minutes of hoping she would take the baby from me and start feeding, I realized something was indeed wrong. I went further to ask gently when she would like to start breastfeeding but she only dismissed us – myself and the baby with a wave of the hand!

To be continued …

The Blues – 1

by Alexandra Akinnadeju on

Written by Alexandra

I’m sitting down quietly listening to my wife ramble on and on about the tiny pink shoes she got at the market today while shopping with my eldest sister. Clearly she couldn’t wait to have the baby put them on, our unborn child.
My wife, Omofolasade, is 32 weeks pregnant, and gone were the days of just a bump. She was never really sick except for the persistent malaria that turned out to be our first baby. It was as if the diagnosis brought on the healing. And since, ‘Omofolasade mi’ hasn’t stopped planning or imagining: how the baby would sound when he or she cries, the cute little faces s/he would make.

I remember her picking up a popular book for soon-to-be mothers and how she would bombard me with question after question. I also remember the numerous, unplanned ultrasounds I had to dutifully attend because she was worried she couldn’t perceive quickening at 18 weeks. Why didn’t I keep my mouth shut?!
Now that she is so round, I come home and watch her every move to her total discomfort. She could ask for the moon and I would die trying to get it for her. Gone was my hour glass babe, at least for now. I can’t seem to shrug off this feeling that I actually did this to her; and everyone appears to be rooting – except the scared me!
I also fear that my chatterbox wife is gone temporarily. Sade complains about how slowly I drive. She would make a sudden turn in her sleep and I would be on the alert. She is not near delivery but I cannot wait for all this to be over. The changes are rolling in at an alarming rate; medical training doesn’t prepare you for what it would feel like when it is your wife. Now I can understand the confused look the husbands of my patients always wear.

Sade had gone into the room and is back with the smallest shoes I have ever seen in my life. It couldn’t accommodate my two fingers. I couldn’t help but smile. A tiny someone that is totally mine is on the way.

It all started with vomiting and dyspepsia at about 1 a.m. that fateful day. I really needed to sleep as I had just finished a 48 hours call. I warned Sade the night before not to eat more than a wrap of moi moi. I’m all too used to the aftermath of such escapades in times past in her non-pregnant state – indigestion and excess gas, to mention a few. She was coming too close to tears so I gave in, she hadn’t eaten all day too. She’d ordered for moi moi and was waiting for me to return so we could eat it together. I however made sure I extracted a promise from her that this would be the last moi moi session before the baby comes.
After offering all the assistance I could, I cajoled her to take antacids. I sat on the bath while she tried to use the toilet for 30 mins, a grouchy me handed my wife over to mom and went to sleep on the couch.
Sade said she was better when I was woken an hour later and so we went to bed. A shrill cry woke me up 45 minutes later. As I looked at my wife, she explained that she’d been having back pain for two days, but that particular one felt different. ‘My stomach gets tight then the back pain hits’, she explained.

I got up, much more alert than ever. I checked my wristwatch, it was just past midnight. I held my wife close and massaged her back for as long as nature would allow me before slumber set in yet again. I was woken 45 minutes later with yet another cry. This time it was her chest. Instinctively I grabbed my stethoscope and listened to her chest, it was the weirdest thing I’ve done in a while – listen to my wife’s breath via an instrument! But then what I heard was reassuring. I also did some more examinations, and reassured Sade, or so I thought I did. I still got no sleep till 6 am, after I had watched her sleep for one full hour, I cuddled her and then closed my eyes… “Honey, wake up!”, “wake up!” It was Sade yet again. Now I really wished I could just carry this pregnancy! It was nine o’ clock. “I think we should go to the hospital” she said. I simply didn’t have the strength – physical or mental, to argue. I got up, put on my scrubs that I had worn for the call the previous day, and made for the door. I then remembered I had left my wife in the room!

To be continued…

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