October 2017 Gloria Mulder Update
Hello Friends and Family,
I hope this finds you well. Thank you for your past and continued support.
There has been some turnover of children in the last 6 months. I am thankful to have been able to care for the children who left and for the new precious faces that have come to us.
I will share with you one story of the children who we care for at the centre.
I came back to Mozambique in October 2016 with a desire to start a nutrition program. The idea I had was to teach a group of moms (whose children were 0-2 years old) the importance of giving their children nutritious foods to eat, as well as teaching them when to start giving their children food. I did not have a clear idea of what this would look like or how to start it. I wanted the program to give the moms knowledge but in a way that they could also have the ability to carry out what was being taught. I did not want to give them theory that they would not be able to use in their daily life. I also wanted it to be something that was collaborative. I wanted them to share knowledge with each other rather than myself being the only teacher. I wanted them to be able to share what they were learning and possibly share that knowledge with other moms in their communities. I did some reading on and off throughout this year and found some research and teaching on mother to mother support groups. The purpose of these groups is exactly what I was envisioning; it is mothers volunteering their time to teach other mothers the importance of nutrition and caring for your child well. The struggle I have with this is finding the moms. Living at the centre does not avail itself to know where and how moms normally gather in the community. I wanted this group to have a home feel, so having the moms come to the centre did not seem to be an option.
One of the programs I am already involved in is the milk program. The purpose is to provide formula to babies of moms who are not able to breastfeed for reasons of illness. Working with this program opened my eyes to the need of teaching moms nutrition for their babies. Myself and the Mozambican nurses who work with the moms noticed that once the babies reached 6 months of age, their weight gain would slow down. When the nurses would ask the moms what they were feeding their babies, the response they would get was “milk” (i.e. formula). The moms were only feeding their babies formula rather than starting baby on complementary foods. Either from lack of education or resources, the moms thought that formula was enough for their children after 6 months of age. The Mozambican nurses would then educate the moms that they needed to feed their baby food but it was not always acted upon by the mom.
One of the babies in particular, was not gaining well. The mom was asked how often and what types of foods she was feeding her child. She gave the right answers but, based on how the child was presenting, it was obvious to us that the child was not being fed well. Working with the Mozambican staff, we were able to speak with the mom and make a plan with her that the child would come live at the centre for a short period of time to receive nutritional rehabilitation.
My goal is to work with the mom in the weeks leading up to her child’s return home to teach her strategies on how to feed, how often, and what types of food to give, so that the progress the child has made here can continue at home.
This is one way that I am able to support a mom and the nutrition of her child. It is not an official program or a large number but I am content to start small. One mom and one baby at a time.
Thank you again for your support and prayers as I continue this work.