The Breastfeeding Blogs – Stories from Kenya

Mercy

Weaning Stephanie off breast milk hasn’t been easy. Mercy’s baby knows what she likes and will sometimes refuse food. She signals to her mom that she would much rather drink breast milk.

“Bringing up a child is not an easy task. It needs a lot of sacrifice and dedication.”

1,000 Day Journey staff facilitate mother support groups for women in the community. The groups give expecting and new moms a forum to learn from each other’s experiences, receive medical advice from a community health worker, and develop meaningful friendships.

After giving birth to her first baby, Mercy joined the women’s support group offered at the health centre in her community.

At four-months-old, Mercy returned to her job as a school teacher. She had to leave her daughter, Stephanie, with a woman in the community. However, Mercy began to suspect that the woman was up to no good and was not respecting Mercy’s decision to exclusively breastfeed her daughter on mom’s milk. Unsure about how to proceed, Mercy found great comfort in turning to the women’s support group for advice. The group gave her the strength and tools to find a new care provider.

Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers as well as their babies. Breastfeeding mothers have quicker recovery times after childbirth and gain natural birth spacing.

Introducing Solid Food to Stephanie’s Diet

After six months of exclusive breastfeeding, Mercy turned to the women’s group once again. She wanted advice on how to introduce new foods into her baby’s diet. The group gave Mercy nutrition tips and even encouraged her to plant her own garden. Through the 1000 Day Journey program, Mercy is now growing nutrient-rich orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in her home garden to feed Stephanie. Additionally, Mercy started incorporating foods such as mashed potatoes, porridge, ugali, small fish and eggs into her baby’s meals.

But weaning Stephanie off breast milk hasn’t been easy. Stephanie knows what she likes and will refuse food at times. She signals to her mom that she would much rather drink breast milk instead.

Mercy likes that her daughter is fussy,

“I hope my baby will grow very happy and achieve whatever she wants to be.”