It’s a hot afternoon in MCH’s neo-natal room. New mothers are resting under purring ceiling fans. Newborn babies are sleeping peacefully beside. Grandmothers quietly whisper stories, hopes, and dreams to each other.
MCH’s social worker, Baby Haq, pulls up a chair beside one new mother. As she asks her questions, others in the room gather and listen. Soon, Baby (quite an appropriate name for her job!) flips through a colorful picture book on baby-care. She carefully explains the values of breast-milk.
But she’s not the only teacher at MCH. Midwives, nurse aides, and other social workers help the new mothers. Breast milk is the one safe and secure source of food for babies, providing active protection against illness and keeping infants warm and close to their mothers. Breastfeeding soon after birth also helps mothers by reducing the risk of post-partum hemorrhage, a leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide. So it’s helpful all around.
MCH’s female medics do follow up teaching in the out-patient clinic to assess technique, to determine adequate milk production, and to encourage mothers on how to increase milk production. Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition and illness and death. In all situations, children who are fed infant formula are more likely to become ill and die than those who are breastfed. We all take this seriously; we’ve seen the results.
When breast-milk substitutes are distributed where they are not needed, this harms breastfeeding practices and put mothers and children at risk. Due to the expense of baby-formula, the lack of maternal antibodies in formula, and the difficulty to maintain a clean system with using bottles and water, all of our mothers are encouraged to breast feed.
Breast milk: It’s another free gift from our gracious God.