The Breastfeeding Blogs – Stories from Kenya

Paulina

In developing countries, introducing foods too early has the risk of contaminated water and poor sanitation infecting a newborn baby. Exclusive breastfeeding is the natural antidote. Paulina learned this lesson in a way that no mother should have to.

“The birth of my daughter made me nervous and excited.”

Most women living in the slums of Taveta county are unaware of the dangers of exposing their newborns to solid foods before the age of 6 months. Exclusive breastfeeding helps babies combat infectious diseases, prevents and treats diarrhea, and lowers the risk of respiratory infections.

At the age of four months, Paulina’s daughter Sophie began to vomit incessantly. She received medical attention and was s diagnosed with severe diarrhea. At four months, Sofie weighed only nine pounds. When asked about her daughter’s diet, Paulina informed doctors that she wasn’t exclusively breastfeeding, and doctors determined the diarrhea was related. “I was informed that lack of hygiene and sanitation was the reason for my daughter’s health condition,” says Paulina.

Road to Recovery

Sophie was administered a series of injections and medications that steered her back on to a healthy path. Today, Sophie is a happy and healthy baby, but the lesson of the importance of good hygiene, proper sanitation and the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding is one that Paulina will not soon forget.

Introducing solid foods too early during infancy brings the risk of diarrhea and other infections.  If all babies were fed only on breast milk for the first six months of life, an estimated 800,000 children would be saved every year.

The 1000 Day Journey is working in Paulina’s region to help sensitize the community to lifesaving interventions like exclusive breastfeeding, immunization and proper sanitation.