The Giwa Hospital Triplets (A breastfeeding story)
Motherhood is beautiful and the joy of birth lights up households and communities, but the thought of exclusively breastfeeding her triplets for 6 months sounded unimaginable, as she listened to her midwife during her antenatal classes. All the way home, Mrs Amina Sani Abubakar, struggled with the thought of exclusive breastfeeding and the pain she'll have to endure and sacrifices she'll be making all through this period.
Deep within her, she couldn't set aside the many benefits of exclusive breastfeeding as outlined by the midwife. Who doesn't want children with high IQ? Which mother wouldn't feel proud to see her babies growing strong and healthy? Amina decided to seek further counseling from the midwives and work out a plan with her family to help achieve this goal as advised by the midwife. Soon after, her world lit up with joy as she gave birth to a set of triplet at Giwa Hospitals, Kaduna State and requested to breastfeed them within the first hour of birth, so they can get the colostrum they need to build their immunity.
Amina's decision to take on the challenge was strengthened by the support she got from her husband and family members. The continued counseling from the midwives who are working on the Alive and Thrive Infant and Young Child Feeding program being implemented by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, also encouraged her. The journey was indeed tough and the road very long, but 6 months after delivery the benefits of her decision are the handsome and healthy bundles of joy she proudly cradles in her arms.
She had often wondered how possible it would be to support a baby with just breastmilk for 6 months. She sometimes doubted the possibility of sustaining such a painstaking task, even for the most dedicated mothers. Today, Amina happily expresses the fact that the benefits are well worth the sacrifices, especially with the right support and counseling needed by mothers.
Breastfeeding needs the support of significant others within the family and community for it to be a successful exercise for every mother. Husbands, family members, employers, neighbours, health workers and other community members have a significant role to play in ensuring mothers can achieve early initiation to breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. This is the conducive structure we helped establish for Amina, who like other mothers within our program have pledged to play an active role in reducing the loss of over 800,000 babies to malnutrition and other related health challenges. Our babies are a source of joy not sorrow.
Amina’s story will not be complete without stating the impact of the FHI360 Alive and Thrive program, which is being sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, Norwegian Government and other partners and implemented by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa within the facility she delivered. The trained midwives the Wellbeing Foundation Africa provided to support her has delivered in the organization’s core value of ensuring improved maternal and child health, and reducing mortality to the bearest minimum.
This World Breastfeeding Week, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa celebrates mothers like Amina Sani Abubakar, whose dedication and sacrifice to practicing exclusive breastfeeding is laying the foundation for a healthier future for our children. Our hearts light up at those beautiful smiles and warm giggles from our triplets as we watch them play, they’ve indeed started strong for a better future.