For every child, a healthy nutrition

How two mothers are encouraging healthy nutrition for their children?

Menna El Malky
How two mothers are encouraging healthy nutrition for their children?
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Rehab El Dalil
17 October 2019

“When I became a mother I felt a love like no other for my daughter, I felt blessed. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world” said Nahed Nabawy, a 29-year-old mother of three girls.

Nahed was one of 20 mothers who took part in UNICEF’s focus group on food and nutrition. The result of this focus group is incorporated in the “State of the World’s Children Report”, which helps to shape the road map of UNICEF’s programs and intervention, so that the most pressing issues for children can be addressed.

 Nahed explained that her family and pediatrician provided her with all the support she needed during and after her pregnancies; when she and her husband welcomed their first daughter, her husband insisted that all of their children should be breastfed, at least during the first 6 months of the birth and formula milk was never an option. Despite Nahed’s shortage in her milk, she managed to overcome this obstacle.

On this issue, UNICEF advises to persist in trying to breastfeed even when the breast milk production seems insufficient as this is the best way to generate the milking process. UNICEF also advises to consult a pediatrician if the problem persists.

Nahed then added that breastfeeding made her form a special connection with all of her three daughters, “I think I would not have experience it if it wasn’t for breastfeeding my daughters” added Nahed; she continued to say that when time came and she had to stop breastfeeding, it was harder for her to let go, more than her daughters, she expressed it as: “ I was the one who suffered not them.”

How two mothers are encouraging healthy nutrition for their children?

She then concluded by saying that she got her information on nutrition and breastfeeding from her doctor and mother. They also had a significant influence on her during pregnancy and after giving birth, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. “My two eldest daughters were able to develop early, without complications thanks to breastfeeding.”

“I had many complications during my previous pregnancies and went through several miscarriages until I was gifted with my son Mohamed”, said Doaa Sayed, a 26-year-old mother who actively participated in the focus group.  

Doaa’s difficulties continued even after her son’s birth. During the first week, , she couldn’t breastfeed him. However, after several attempts, she finally succeeded. “I felt an amazing connection with my child, and I genuinely wish everybody will experience it”.

Due to the miscarriages Doaa went through before delivering her son, she kept on reading and learning to be able to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery, in consultation with her gynecologist. The gynecologist told her not to follow blindly the advice given by friend and family on topics related to breastfeeding and the nutrition of her son. She would first double check the information provided and the pediatrician before deciding whether to follow the advice or not. “One of the wrong advices I received was to start introducing food to my son when he was only 40 days old”, recalled Doaa.

Thankfully, Doaa had sufficient information on the nutrition of her child, that she started to introduce boiled vegetables, like zucchini and boiled potatoes, when her son was 6-month-old.

As Doaa’ son continued to grow and develop, she started following an interesting approach to test if her son is allergic to a certain food; she would first introduce a new food to him by feeding him a small portion of it and then observe her child for a day to see if his body developed any kind of allergy. This method proved to be efficient and she soon discovered an allergy to banana.

Nahed and Doaa have their own distinctive experiences, ideas and insights on topics related to nutrition and breastfeeding, which encouraged UNICEF Egypt’s team to meet and give them the floor to express thoughts and recall their experience and help spread the message of the importance of breastfeeding and good nutrition to the largest members of the community as possible.