A paediatrician, Okiemute Olibamoyo, on Wednesday advised mothers to stop the habit of force-feeding their babies to avoid accidental-suffocation.
Ms Olibamoyo of the Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
According to her, such practice is dangerous and has led to untimely death of many infants in Nigeria.
“If you find out that your baby is not eating well or does not want to eat, do not scold her, rather change the way and pattern you prepare her food.
“Sometimes you find out that the child that refused to eat her mother’s food is eating the same food prepared by another woman.
“It could be that she likes her plantain, for example, boiled and not fried.
“Mothers need to study and know what their children like best instead of forcing the child to eat. This is wrong and can instantly kill.
“Don’t say because your mother force-fed you and you survived, therefore, your child would survive; in your own case the child may die,’’ Olibamoyo said.
She added that most times when mothers force-fed their children, fragments of food ended up in the child’s lungs and could trigger pneumonia.
The paediatrician told NAN that force-feeding a child could also lead to the child developing hatred for food, saying that the child would start seeing feeding as stressful.
Olibamoyo said that once a child developed hatred for food, the hatred might lead to eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.
She said, while forcing a child to eat, the mother might accidentally break the child’s jaw or hurt the child with the plate used in feeding her.
The expert also blamed mothers for their baby’s frequent ill-health, adding that some mothers do not maintain proper hygiene.
“Some mothers use to wipe their babies’ buttocks, without washing their hands, they use the same hands to prepare the child’s food.’’
“Why will the child not come down with diarrhea or other diseases?’’ Olibamoyo said.
She urged mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies till they are six months old.
The expert advised mothers who had no ideas on what food to feed their babies after six months to visit the primary health care centres for more information on what to do.