Breastfeeding support in Nairobi
Hillman Medical Education Outreach
To celebrate mother’s day in 2016 a team of postgraduate students from Department of Paediatrics and Child Health University of Nairobi conducted a half-day session on ‘Empowering Mothers to enjoy motherhood. The facilitators were Dr Douglas Gaitho (also the Chief Resident) and Dr Priscilla Nganga. Prof Grace Irimu mentored the trainee paediatricians and also accompanied them for the Hillman Medial Outreach. This session was sponsored by the Hillman Medical Education Fund.
Breastfeeding is one of the simple intervention that may help eradicate extreme poverty in the world and bring about equity and lead towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goal #1. A child who is breastfed get sick less often, grow to a healthy child, has a higher IQ compared to the one who is not breastfeed; all of which contribute to better performance in school and a more productive adult.
However, optimal benefits are achieved if the child is breastfeeding correctly. Initiating breastfeeding after delivery, exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding for at least 2 years. This requires the mother to have correct breastfeeding practices and technique so that the challenges of breast pain and insufficient milk are not encountered. Any mother can breastfeed, but correct breastfeeding techniques can increase success.
The idea of preventive medicine is not very well embraced, with breastfeeding being assumed by mothers that it’s a natural process and that insufficient breastmilk and breast pain are expected outcomes and every mother should be prepared to cope with these challenges. We strive to change this mindset; every mother should enjoy breastfeeding and provide enough milk for the baby with exclusive breastfeeding practiced for six months. This is possible if the mother is taught the correct breastfeeding techniques and how to feed the baby on her own breastmilk when she is away from home e.g. when she resumes work. Those who attended said it was ‘an eye opener’ and promised to go support mothers do exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months and continue breastfeeding until baby is at least 2years of age.