The Breastfeeding Blogs – Stories from Kenya

Seteyo

Seteyo’s newborn son was born weighing 3 and a half pounds – a tragedy that would terrify any mother. Exclusive breastfeeding helped Seteyo nurse her baby back to health.

“My child could have died and so I eat well and make sure that he gets good nutritious breast milk.”

When 19-year-old Seteyo gave birth to her first child, he was born underweight at just three and a half pounds. To add to an incredibly stressful situation, after conducting blood tests, doctors found that Seteyo was infected with malaria. Seteyo was heartbroken, “I was just about to lose my first child and I was so scared. I wondered if it was my diet that made my son underweight.”

The baby’s temperature was low, he was discolored, and, dehydrated. Seteyo had to work with a community health volunteer to explore alternative approaches to breastfeeding and caring for her baby’s needs. Undernutrition is the underlying cause of almost one half of all deaths of children under age five. Breast milk is perfectly designed for a child’s nutritional and immunological needs. It has all the nutrients a baby needs to grow healthy and stay healthy.

The new mom was put on the skin-to-skin Kangaroo method of care which is recommended for premature babies. In this method, moms are instructed to hold their bare-chested baby upright and directly against the mother’s chest as often as possible. Along with constant skin-to-skin contact, for the first few months of life Seteyo would pump her breast milk and feed it to the baby with a teaspoon.

Today, mom and baby are doing much better thanks to these lifesaving interventions. Seteyo is so grateful,

“My child could have died and so I eat well and make sure that he gets good nutritious breast milk.”