Dr. Joachim Osur, AMREF Kenya
When you start breastfeeding
- – Breast feeding (bf) should be initiated in the first hour of birth:
- – Provide mothers with information about bf before birth;
- – Assist mothers with skin-to-skin contact and with recognition of signs showing that the baby is ready to start bf;
- – Ensure that maternity facilities have polices and staff who encourage mothers and infants to stay in the same room, and initiate bf within one hour of birth;
- – Guide new mothers on techniques of breastfeeding
- – Support early initiation of bf among mothers who give birth at home.
- – Nothing can substitute breast milk
- – Breast milk contains all the nutrients an infant needs in the first six months of life
- – It protects against common childhood diseases and may also have longer-term benefits such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
- – Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk – no other liquids or solids are given – not even water, only medicines where necessary
How long should you breastfeed?
- – The World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life
- – Thereafter, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or more
- – Complementary feeding; The transition from exclusive bf to family foods
- – Covers the period from 6–24 months of age
- – Is a critical period of growth during which nutrient deficiencies and illnesses contribute globally to higher rates of malnutrition among children under five years of age
Kenya is breastfeeding
Along with Wayua of Mum’s Village, an organisation I’ve talked about before (see previous Blog post), we visited the Diamond Mothers Centre, a local NGO whose main objective is to improve the health status of vulnerable children and their mothers from informal settlements by promoting optimal breastfeeding practices.
We spoke to close to 100 mothers who are breastfeeding or expecting little bundles of joy. Breastfeeding continues to make a huge difference in their lives and they have a great support system, but need a lot of empowerment when it comes to pre natal and postnatal care.
We donated items such as diapers and soap, and Darling Hairstyles (FB – Darling Hairstyles (KE) donated buckets for the mothers as well.
The Hygiene Factor
New mothers are encouraged to maintain hygiene at an optimal level, especially with their babies and children under 5. not taking this seriously can lead to serious illnesses for these babies and children, some even die.
I’m not only an advocate for hand washing with soap, but the Brand Ambassador for the Help a Child Reach 5 campaign with Lifebuoy.
If I can help spread the message of hand washing with soap to save lives, I know it will benefit someone or some people out there and I feel a social responsibility to do so.
We ended the session when I taught the mother and mothers-to-be the importance of hand washing with soap. All in all, a great way to end the World Breastfeeding Week.