As the commemoration of the World Breastfeeding Week continues, another pivotal aspect is support for nursing mothers in line with the theme of this year.
It is commonplace to hear of Breastfeeding Support Groups and Teams in other countries.
In Cameroon, this aspect which was once downplayed now has a major role as support groups for nursing mothers keep springing up.
Most of such groups operate online on Facebook and WhatsApp.
Precious Lactation, Support System for Many Nursing Mothers
“…It was really a tough journey because I had low production of milk. I almost gave up but the group really encouraged me on the advantages of EBF (Exclusive Breastfeeding). Now, my baby is strong and very healthy.”
This is the testimony of a Mother who belongs to a support group for nursing mothers, Precious Lactation.
Precious Lactation or simply put, PL is a WhatsApp forum that was created on March 9, 2021 to promote exclusive breastfeeding and proper transitioning into complementary foods through the education and support of pregnant and nursing mothers.
The Founder of the Group, Dr Akwen Ndi explains that even though breastmilk and the act of breastfeeding have so many advantages for both baby and mother, breastfeeding is not widely practiced.
“Upon consulting with several mothers, we found out that many mothers could not exclusively breastfeed their babies because they were not properly educated on the benefits or lacked support to go through the journey,” Dr. Akwen Ndi reveals.
The above realities coupled with the fact that the world is still far from reaching the objectives set by the World Health Assembly to exclusively breastfeed 50% of babies below six months globally by 2025, pushed Dr Akwen Ndi to create the Precious Lactation Group.
“We run two platforms; Precious Lactation Group One which works strictly with mothers having babies less than six months of age and Precious Lactation Group Two which works with mothers having babies at least six months old.
Discussions in Support Group
“On the forum, we educate mothers on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding / advantages of breastmilk,” Dr Akwen Ndi explains.
Nursing mothers are also shown how to properly position the baby for maximum milk flow.
Apart from the above, the group encourages mothers morally, through the breastfeeding journey.
Nursing mothers are also taught how to express, store and thaw breastmilk.
The second group teaches mothers how to prepare foods for their babies, when they reach six month.
The forum is run mainly by Dr. Akwen Ndi who is a Public Health Nutritionist and Pharmacist. She is supported by medical doctors, dentists and pediatricians.
From Visiting the Hospital to Focusing on Support Groups?
“The hospital is still very necessary,” Dr Akwen Ndi insists.
“For now, the forum runs on social media platforms but physical examination of babies and their mothers in the hospital is very important,” she reiterates.
Precious Lactation, a Success Story
The testimonies by mothers who are members of Precious Lactation are many.
Since its creation the forum has been able to impact over 800 mothers and babies combined.
“Through Precious Lactation’s education and support of mothers, we have seen many mothers exclusively breastfeed their children for six months. We have had babies who up to the age of two, have never gotten sick. This means with more education and support, we can hit the World Health Assembly’s objective of exclusively breastfeeding at least 50% of babies globally by 2025,” Dr Akwen Ndi argues with a smile.
Eleanor Ayuketah Ngochi
Click here to become a member of Precious Lactation Group 1.
Click here to join Precious Lactation Group 2 for complementary feeding after six months.