Improving Babies’ Lives in the First 1,000 Days
Evaly and other mothers are finding ways to overcome the logistical challenges associated with a desire to breastfeed their babies for a longer period of time. According to the Nicaragua Río Coco program, the first 1,000 days of babies’ lives are the most critical for the healthy development of their bodies and minds.
Evaly explains, “A lot of the women farmers start to feed our children solid food at three to six months. We have to leave our infants with neighbors while we go to work in our fields, which are far from home. The sitters can’t give the babies breast milk, so they feed them mashed potatoes or a little porridge. We’re learning through this program that infants get much better nutrition from mother’s milk, so we’re eager to make any changes that will keep our little ones healthier.”
Local partner Acción Médica Cristiana teaches women how to plant kitchen gardens close to their homes. A community health agent comes to talk to the expectant mothers and families with young children about nutrition. With workshops on cooking and how to combine the vegetables they grow, the health of mother, child and the entire family improves. Participants also learn how to market and sell their surplus produce, and the extra income is then used to help meet other needs.
Evaly says she has a much better understanding of the nutritional importance of breastfeeding, when and how to start a baby on solid food, and what to do if a child is malnourished. Her daughter, Kati, is starting off healthy because she’s been putting into practice everything she’s learned.
This is a joint effort sponsored by Nicaragua Rio Coco Program, Church World Service, Accion Medica Christiana, and your gifts from One Great Hour of Sharing, United Church of Christ.
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