Woman To Woman Talk #24: Intrigues of Nursing Newborns (Omugwo): Grandmas & Nursing Mothers

Credits: Grandma Kisses – Pinterest. This is how to pamper a baby with love!!! Lol…

It is a thing of joy for all family members when a new baby arrives. Grandmas and Grandpas do dance steps that had been hidden away for a long time. As soon as news of the birth of a child reaches older parents plans are made for the grand mummy to go and help nurse mother and the newborn. Sometimes a grandma goes to the home of her son and daughter-in-law vice versa before the arrival of the baby.

The baby becomes a center of attention and shared joyful moments between daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law. They forget their differences and celebrate the new member of the family for a while.  But soon the different approach to raising and nursing a child begins to cause a clash. The grandma who has a generation of experience insists on throwing the baby up during bath time and the young mother screams and says, “mama that’s dangerous, please don’t throw my baby up!”😨. The grandma under her glasses😎 if she is wearing one looks at the young mother like, “hey young lady, that’s how I did it with your husband, my son and he is still alive for you to marry!”😒. Grandma also wants to give the baby some local herbs to help make him or her strong, the young mother and father go like, “mama, that can damage the intestine of our baby”! Now grandma is getting frustrated and feeling misunderstood.

Cooking:

The other problem between Grandmas and new mothers when babysitting their newborn is the issue of cooking. Some grandmas want breakfast as early as 7am, an in-between snack before lunch and dinner making a foursquare meal. Guess who has to prepare the meals? The new mother who is still recovering from the herculean task of delivering a 3.7kg baby and God help her if it was not a Caesarean section delivery. So the young mother spends a sleepless night breastfeeding her baby but has to also get up to prepare mama’s food and the type of meal is the one she will properly have to pound yam for mama! Don’t get me wrong, having a baby does not mean that a woman can no longer prepare meals but hey, a new mother needs all the rest she can get!! Some mums a few weeks after delivery end up breaking down and others even land in the hospital…this is not acceptable.

Grandma when you go to the home of your son or daughter to help nurse a baby be prepared to be patient, help a little extra beyond just helping to carry a well-dressed fine looking baby after his or her bath in the morning.

House Chores
Apart from the stress of preparing meals and going to the market to get the ingredient house chores is another matter of concern when a grandma comes to help nurse a newborn. Now this time I am on the grandmas’ side. Some young couples think that since mama is around to help nurse her grandchild she must be ready to do more than her fair share of house chores. Some grandmas simply because they are willing and some don’t want to say no sometimes are made to do the dishes, washcloths, cook, hold the baby at night so the mother can sleep…hmmm very soon grandma will fall ill and all of you will be running in and out of the hospital. I once told one of my siblings who had just had a baby one time to get help when our mum goes to help with nursing their baby. I told her point blank, “mummy is old and cannot be the one doing all your house chores oooo”! “We cannot have her breaking down”, I added.

Our older parents are not slaves so please get an extra hand to help with your house chores when grandma comes to help nurse your baby.

Grandmas are not as agile as they once used to be, making them do all your house chores is an abuse. This not to say they cannot help around the house. They can cook and do whatever else catches their fancy but do not abuse your aged who has come to help you nurse your baby. So grandmas and new nursing mothers balance is the key here…and please be patient with each other.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

January 8th – 12th, 2018: Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week in Oyo State

Mothers and Newborns at Akinyele Primary Health Center in Ibadan, Oyo State

The Oyo state government is starting the year in a grand style by paying attention to maternal and child health. A one week long activities which will provide free medical services for mothers, newborn and children in 702 health facilities in various local governments in the state.

Children under five will be given Vitamin A supplement; other services to be provided are malnutrition screening, HIV testing, provision of family planning commodities to help mothers rest in between births, malaria drugs and deworming tablets and more.

The commissioner for health in Oyo State, Dr, Azeez Adeduntan confirms that health officers will visit schools to administer Vitamin A to pupils. What a great way to start another school term as children resume school work this week!!

Encourage mothers around you to take advantage of this free health service…spread the word.
Let’s all join hands together to end maternal and child mortality.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Maternal & Child Health : Best Female Journalist (NAWOJ), 2017

Yippee…  at the just concluded Nigeria Association of Women Journalists(NAWOJ)  Press week events,  Stella Oyebanji emerged as the Best Female Journalist in Oyo State, on the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health reporting Competition.

Stella is part of my team on the Abiye (maternal & child health) radio education project. We are so proud of her. Kudos girl, keep flying high!!

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

 

 

Maternal & Child Health : Two Mothers Who Wouldn’t Register for Antenatal Care/Vaccinate Their Children

Once while at Ankor Market in Eruwa, Oyo State with a team on community interaction with mothers about registering for antenatal and immunizing their babies, we came across a few women that surprised us.

One of the women was a young pregnant mother selling stuff in the market. We asked whether she had registered at the hospital for antenatal care and she said she didn’t have the time yet. She travels to the farm to bring goods to sell in the market and was just too busy. It was a thing of concern to my Abiye team(maternal and child health media education team) and I. So here we were in the middle of the market with all the ambiance of bargaining going on attempting to convince this woman to register herself and unborn child at the antenatal clinic. We did our best to educate her on the importance of antenatal care to having a healthy baby and safe delivery.

Moving further down in the market we met a nursing mother with her baby strapped to her back. She was there to buy some foodstuff. In our chat with her, we tried to find out if she had been taking her baby for his immunization doses. This mother responded that she didn’t believe in immunizing her children. To her, it was not necessary and she even feared that it might be harmful to her baby. We were flabbergasted at her “ignorance”. My thought was… “Do people still think like this at this age”? We soon found out that there were others like her in that same market and community.

Again we engaged her in a dialogue to educate her about the importance of immunizing her children to their wellbeing. I enlightened her about the fact that vaccines protect children from childhood diseases that could be fatal. This woman was busy smiling and shaking her head, it didn’t look like she would take our advice and there wasn’t much we could do about it.

Many others like these women whose stories I just Shared really need to be better educated.

It is easy to think that with all the campaign to create awareness about the safety net of immunizing babies and children,  people would take it seriously. Unfortunately, there are still those who have a bias and are not properly informed. Community education is still very important and must continue.

As we mark another world Polio day today 24th October 2017, encourage every mother in your community to go immunize their babies to protect their lives and future. Polio is a crippling disease that is iireversible but can be prevented through immunization.

Encourage expectant mothers to also register for antenatal care where they are likely to have proper education about immunization services for their babies.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

One Way to Prevent Abortion

Abortion is the termination of pregnancy or fetus in the womb before it can survive outside the body. An abortion can be said to be induced when a miscarriage occurs or deliberate when the individual chooses to terminate the pregnancy.

Why is this done
Usually, abortion is carried out because an individual or a couple is not willing to have a baby that is already conceived. Sometimes an abortion is carried out due to health implications to the mother or fetus. Then miscarriages happen and a baby is aborted before it reaches full term for delivery.

There are arguments for and against the morality of doing an abortion. Whichever side of the divide you belong to I believe the most important thing is to deal with the reason why anyone would want to do an abortion. My own point of view though on the matter is that abortion infringes on the rights of an unborn life. Going for the option of an abortion is a big choice and is not a simple matter. There are risks involved in doing one and a woman should not take this step without proper counseling and be informed about choices available.

Who & Who would Get an Abortion
1) I see young school girls endanger themselves every now and then attempting to abort a baby. Many of them try to get rid of a pregnancy that “just happens” while been sexually active irresponsibly. Often we hear of girls who try to get an abortion using all kinds of dangerous stuff that sometimes becomes fatal as the girl dies doing this or her womb is damaged leading to serious complications later in life when ready to have a baby.
2) Another group is couples/married people who are not ready to have a baby and pregnancy occurs anyway. So they opt for aborting the baby.
3) This group is what we call sex workers who by the nature of what they do are engaged regularly or on daily basis in an activity that can bring “babies from heaven”. When pregnancy occurs with these ladies they try to get rid of it because hey it is bad for business. Sometimes they do have the babies but imagine how many other pregnancies have been aborted.
4) This group, I will call the “encouragers” or the ones who point women and girls in the direction. The Boys and Men who are not ready to be fathers and flippantly tell their girlfriend or lover to get an abortion. Sounds easy, “is it not just to flush the thing out; I mean it is not yet a life”, says such men.

Circle Bead – A modern family planning method(femininematerz photo)

The Way Out – Know more About Family Planning Options/ Contraceptives
I will try to look at the different categories above
Schoolgirls/Teenagers: I am a strong advocate for abstinence but what can we do sometimes when young people want to experiment or are already sexually active? As a parent, I will do my best to support and help my children to wait and not rush into gratifying their sexual God-given appetite, for indeed it can be controlled and waiting is worth it. It worked for me their mother and some others that I have seen.

However, I have met a number of young people who are already sexually active and the question of introducing the use of contraceptives sounds like a good idea. My church mind sends a red alert every time I hear people talking about educating young people about their options when it comes to choice of a contraceptive (condoms, pills etc.). But over time I have learned that sometimes this is the best option for a young person who is sexually active.

An experience that I do regret was a teenage girl’s case I intervened in while working on a maternal and child project (Abiye-saving a mother/Infant). I will call her Mary. She had to stop going to school because she got pregnant and had a baby. My team and I helped to get a home for her baby while we linked her with someone willing to sponsor her education and who also took her in giving Mary a home and family.

One of the intervention piece of advice we got was to take her to a family planning clinic and help her get a contraceptive method done since she was sexually active. Guess what? We felt it will mean that we were encouraging her to be promiscuous, so we didn’t do anything about it. We would later regret it because soon Mary became even engaged in sexual activities as she was now free of taking care of her baby. Mary left that family and stopped going to school and as we followed up on her case, she aborted a number of pregnancies after that and almost lost her life at some point. Still, Mary won’t stop and now she has two more babies and is inaccessible to us.

So if a girl is sexually active get her to obtain a family planning method to prevent unplanned pregnancy while also working on helping her to make the choice of delaying gratification. And this is not just for girls teach your boy to be responsible. Let him know that If he wants to engage in sex he must know that means he can impregnate a girl so abstinence or use of a condom is advised.

Couples/Married
If you are not ready to have a baby; go get a contraceptive or family planning method done instead of aborting that baby. This allows couples to pursue their goals and careers; the woman is able to rest in between births and they can both have the number of children they can provide for. Visit a family planning clinic or see your doctor to get proper counseling on your choice.

Let’s reduce the number of abortions by opting for contraceptives.Create a world where every pregnancy is wanted.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

No Woman Should Die Giving Birth to Another Life: Preventive Measures

BBC photo

 

It is really disturbing hearing that another woman or any woman just lost her life after delivering her baby.

In the compound where we live the cries of an elderly woman who lost a dear young woman filters through our window. We rushed out and knocked on her door. She managed to unlock her door and with our concerned and worried faces we stepped in asking her like ten questions all at once. That was when we found out a lady dear to her, someone she had worked with at her office before retirement had just died. They lost her after the birth of her third child… It was a very painful news for me.

I am not sure of the details of the complications that could have arisen during or after delivery of her baby but I just simply know that… THIS Shouldn’t BE!Complications that can lead to maternal and child death include:

  • Bleeding/hearmorrahage, pregnancy induced high blood pressure. 
  • Lack of going for antenatal
  • Engaging services of untrained midwives or health care providers;
  • Refusal to follow the doctor’s advice
  • Sometimes it is the careless mistakes of health personnel or anyone taking the delivery of the baby and more.
  • Having too many births in quick successions.
  • Prolonged labor due to narrow birth canal and a baby with a big weight or a breached baby.

A lot more needs to be done to prevent these needless deaths of mothers and their babies. Those to ensure this:

  • The pregnant woman herself – Eat right, take your immunizations, go for regular check up at your antenatal clinic, carry out all necessary and routine checks.
  • Husband/spouse – Be involved and ensure that your wife goes for all her antenatal visits; encourage her to eat and rest well ; watch out for any emergency signs and don’t delay in getting medical intervention.
  • Families should not insist on old traditional harmful delivery practises.

Other preventive means for maternal deaths or birth complications:

  1. Stop female circumcision/FGMC – This causes scaring in the vagina of such a woman or girl therefore narrowing the birth canal. No wonder then that such a woman experiences prolonged labor and tear that could lead to VVF if the case is not managed properly.
  2. Stop the use of traditional birth attendants and engage trained health personnel.
  3. Adopt a modern family planning method to allow mothers to rest in between births. It also enables a family to have only the number of children they can cater for. Family Planning also prevents a woman who has been otherwise advised by her doctor to stop having children on health/wellbeing grounds.
  4. After delivery ensure the woman goes for her postnatal visit to the hospital. There she gets medical check up.
  5. Rest.. Rest and rest after delivery. Don’t rush into doing your normal work routine doing so much than your body can handle.
  6. Naming ceremony can wait if the mother and child are still receiving medical care after delivery.

And seriously a Ceaserian Section is not a taboo or evil! It is a perfectly safe way to ensure that a mother and baby go through the delivery process safely.

No woman should die giving birth to another life.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Reaching People at Home & Work Places with Information about FP

Engaging our community and dialoguing with members at the grassroot level about Family Planning is key to poverty eradication and family empowerment.

Once while working with ARDA & NURHI on the field going from house to house, business centers dialoguing and informing people better about the need to plan their families we met a group of men. It was interesting discussing the issue with these men, some agreed that couples should only give birth to the number of children they can cater for but one man’s opinion stood out. This man whom I will call Bode believed that a man has a right to keep giving birth to as many children as he desired. Then we raised the issue if how frequent and too many births can affect a woman’s health. The discussion then centered on the wellbeing of his wife; Bode believed that he would keep acquiring more women to give birth to more children.

I looked at Bode and it was obvious that he didn’t earn much. Bode like many others hold the cultural believe that the Lord Almighty who gives children will take care of them. I believe that God is the giver of children and he also makes provision to care for them. However he expects us to be responsible therefore he will also hold us, parents accountable if we do not train and equip our children with all they need to become responsible men and women in the society.

I see many women at the grassroot suffer and struggle to take care of children because their husbands/men are busy donating babies to as many other women. Forgive me if I sound rather hard here.

Then there are men who will insist that the woman(his wife)  should just keep having as many babies as possible to the detriment of her health and the family’s wellbeing.

Family Planning means having the number of children one can care & provide for.

Family planning is key to preventing abortions. 

Family planning has helped couples who didn’t know any better to stop aborting babies. I have met a few couples who were able to relax in between births before having another baby and no longer had to abort unplanned pregnancy.

Life is all about the choices we make. These choices in turn make us and our future.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

#SAFE MOTHERHOOD – Do You Know that Parts of a baby Forms 3 weeks after Conception? How to Have a Healthy Baby.

Your baby’s development and growth starts in the womb and not just after birth. Most times we begin to count a child’s age when he/she is born. I’d like to think that the nine months in the womb should be added. Yes, the life of any child begins at conception. It is therefore important that a woman understands that once she gets pregnant everything and anything she does can affect the development of her child.

As early as three weeks after conception occurs a baby’s organs internally and physically begins to form (head, hand, fingers, intestine, heart etc.) So it is very important for a mother to start eating right and taking care of herself right from the time she is aware that another life is growing in her. I would say even before you get pregnant eat right, eat a balanced diet and feed well. Then your body can have enough supply of nutrients, vitamins, minerals needed by you and your baby.

What you eat; how you take care of yourself and health during pregnancy matters.

Foods rich in nutrient to help your baby develop well in the womb:

  • Eat a lot of proteinous foods such as egg, fish, meat, beans, Moimoi, Akara(Bean Cake) – Helps your baby’s brain and muscle development.
    Specifically Beans – contains Zinc an important mineral that helps to give your baby adequate birth weight and cut down the risk of having a pre-term baby.
  • Fruits (Orange, banana, Apple, grapes, Guava, etc.) contain lots of vitamins.
  • Dairy products such as milk, yogurt – This is rich in calcium necessary for the development of your baby’s bones, teeth.
  • Foods rich in fiber such as oatmeal, cereals rich in wheat – This class of food contain vitamins and proteins.
  • Vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, efo tete, ugwu leaf and so much more – These are rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Water is essential in helping organs of the body to function properly. Water aids digestion, circulation of nutrients in the body and oxygen flow in the body. Therefore water is very important in pregnancy. Take a lot of water in pregnancy.

Most malformation (birth defects) occur when the organs are forming and what can cause this include effects of drugs used without doctor’s prescription or exposure to radiation. 

Beware Alcohol, smoking and taking drugs without a doctor’s prescription can have serious implication on your baby.

Warning Alcohol affects the development and health of a baby in the womb and after birth.

Photo Credit: BBC

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Breastfeeding #1: A Healthy Baby Bonding With Mother

Breastfeeding makes a happy and healthy baby.
Breastfeeding gives a mother great moments to bond with her child.
Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs to grow healthy.

Exclusive Breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life is worth it. To achieve this companies and organizations need to provide baby care centers to enable nursing mothers breast feed their babies.

To Every Nursing Mother: Eat healthy by taking a balanced diet. Take a lot of fluid such as water, Pap/Ogi,  coca oat, tea and fruits🍉🍏🍋🍅🍓🍇. If you are from Africa particularly Nigeria abeg eat correct Amala, Eba, Future with a lot of vegetable. Hehehe enjoy!

Feed yourself very well in order to have the energy and strength to breastfeed your baby. That’s the way to take care of those hunger dizzy spells that occur after breastfeeding all night or any other time of day. 😀😀

Happy Breastfeeding Week.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Water is Essential in Health Facilities – SafeMotherhood #6

 

I was at a Primary Health Center(PHC)  to join in on a community mobilization effort to sensitize people about Family Planning and its benefit to women’s health and poverty reduction organized by NURHI Ibadan. While the group gathered I decided to visit the toilet to ease the pressure in my bladder and I asked the nurse on duty to point me in the direction of the toilet. I  was told that there was no water and was advised to pee in the bush somewhere around the back of the health center outside. It wasn’t funny but I had to afterall I have been in rusettings before 😕

It is unthinkable to run a hospital with little or no water supply. Yet that is the case in many primary health centers serving communities in Nigeria. Having worked on a maternal and child health program (Abiye)  for more than five years now many of the PHC my team visited and worked with lack access to clean water. 

Imagine a pregnant woman in labor pains coming to deliver at a PHC where there is no water… 

A few PHC are lucky to have a well or get a bore hole sunk by philanthropist, politicians who need to shine. But most do not have access to clean water to attend to patients.
If there is no water in a facility patients and health workers alike are exposed to serious health hazards.

Water is necessary to keep a hospital environment clean and everyone in it safe and healthy. It’s availability enables constant washing of hands by health care providers to prevent spread of diseases; to have a clean toilet; to conduct surgeries and wash hospital equipments and basically keep the hospital facility clean.

How can we ensure that clean water is accessible to primary health centers? Who is responsible for providing water? What can communities do you help their PHCs access water?

Adebisi Adetunji (C)