The Growing Healthy Food, Growing Healthy Children program works with pregnant women and new mothers in Ghana, until their child is two years old in effort to combat malnutrition. Self-Help International staff focus on tracking the baby's growth and development and ensuring that both mom and baby are not only getting the nutrients they need now, but also that they understand how to continue to include foods in their diet that will provide them those nutrients moving forward. Nutrition officers also work closely with mothers to support them in exclusively breastfeeding their baby for the first six months after birth. This helps to ensure that the baby is getting the nutrients needed in those critical first few months of their life. Because of the demands on a mother’s time and other pressures from family or the community, it is often difficult for a mother to commit to that. Patience Obour, Nutrition Officer at Self-Help International, recently spoke with one of the clients in the Growing Healthy Food, Growing Healthy Children program about her experience. Alimatu talks about how the nutrition officers supported her in this process.
“Alimatu Yakubu is my name and I’m a mother of 6 kids, five males and one female. I joined the program through a friend who was part of the program. My baby was three months old. I will say joining the program was a timely intervention since I was almost giving up on breastfeeding my son.
The nutrition team encouraged me to continue breastfeeding exclusively for six months because that is the best nutrition for my child. I told them I thought I wasn’t producing enough breast milk for the baby because he cries a lot. I was asked to demonstrate how I breastfeed the baby. From the demonstration, I was told I was not positioning and attaching the baby well enough for breastfeeding. I was shown how to breastfeed my child properly, and for the first time, my baby didn’t cry when he was breastfed.
I was advised on a four-star diet and was supplied with some supplements in the form of tom brown [a high protein porridge mixture common in the region] and eggs. The supplement really increased my breast milk production so I was able to breastfeed on demand. This really helped me to breastfeed my son till he was 6 months old despite the pressures from the community.”
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