Friday 29 April 2016

Memoirs of an Nigerian Mum : Jedi Jedi, Nra, Ela.

Many Nigerian mums must have heard the terms jedi jedi, nra , ela or nla and can describe the 'treaments' for it.  Search as much as your internet savvy self can, there are only few reliable literature about that condition on the internet. I hope my experience gets to inform some mums about this very popular baby ailment in Nigeria.

My baby was few weeks old when i noticed this inflammed area around his neck, bum and the sides of his nose. Like most first time mums I was concerned. Visiting mums will notice it and scream. some called it jedi jedi, others said it was nra, while some called it ela. I released they were just different  names for the same condition. What scared me most was the treatment regimen they prescribed, from some sort of flower, to leaves, root, hydro-cortisone creams and even antibiotics (to kill the ones inside, they said). The treatment prescribed scared me more than the apparently painless condition. Some told me it would enter his intestines and make him pass greenish poo.
A baby's inflamed neck

I did a little research which included consulting a pediatrician friend of my hubby . I simply decided to give baby about one diaper free hour daily during which I laid him bare-butted on a mackintosh spread on either his cot or my bed and also apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly (vaseline) on his butt when changing his diaper. Within two weeks the fire-like coloration on his buttocks was gone.

The one on his neck took a little while to clear. My baby was quite chubby and drooled a considerable lot. This, I believe contributed to the neck case. I simply applied petroleum jelly frequently to keep the place greased. I did not notice when it cleared just like the one on his nose. I also did not avoid any foods as a result .

So when I hear or see people give herbs and all what not to very tender babies, I feel sad  Reading articles like This as well as talking to a pediatrician strengthened my resolve to handle things the way I did.

 I share my experience so other mums will learn and also relax when they see such issues. We often give medications unnecessarily to very tender babies. If in doubt in any issue concerning your child's health please contact a pediatrician. A second or even third pediatrician's opinion may not hurt. Getting advice from other mums despite how well-meaning can actually not always be of help.

I pray our children grow up to be strong and healthy

side view of the so called jedi jedi in a baby's neck

Suggested posts: A child's first 1000 days
                            Maternal mortality in Nigeria
                           Steps to take in protecting your girl child from sexual abuse

Friday 8 April 2016

7 myths surrounding nutrition we need to discard

March was a month most nutrition advocates marched 4 nutrition by promoting targeted actions and investments to improve nutrition for mothers and children especially during a child's first 1000 days. Read this for more on a child's first 1000 days.

Though March is over, we at The Informed Mum  would keep marching on till every child in Nigeria and the world at large gets a good chance to thrive.

Nutrition is a core element of health and development with long and short-term benefits for both the child, his parents, community and nation . We live in a society where many myths thrive. There are myths surrounding almost every facet of our lives. While some may be harmless, others may put us in harm's way. Listed below are some myths  surrounding nutrition which could have consequences on a child's growth and development.

(1)A pregnant woman should not eat snails lest she delivers a sluggish baby who drools a lot . In reality, snail meat according to experts is a good source of protein,  iron and several other minerals a pregnant woman needs. What is more, it is  relatively cheap in many parts of Nigeria and there has been no evidence whatsoever linking it to sluggishness or excessive drooling in babies.

(2) Giving a child egg can induce stealing in the child. Eggs are said to have significant protein, vitamins and mineral contents which a growing child needs . They have never been known to induce stealing in a child. A child that steals does so for reasons other than eating eggs.

(3)Eating Ogbono, Okro or any draw soup when pregnant makes one deliver a baby with bald head. This particular myth is not only laughable but untrue and no evidence whatsoever exists to strengthen the myth. Some babies are born bald and it has nothing to do with consumption of draw soups.

(4) Fruits cause intestinal worms. This is very untrue . Fruits can get contaminated when grown in, or they get in contact with contaminated environments.The worms can then get transmitted when the fruits are not properly washed, hence the need to wash fruits in salted water or vinegar, especially those to be eaten raw . The sweetness of a fruit has noting to do with intestinal worms.

(5) Eating grass-cutter makes a pregnant woman's labor prolonged. This is laughable and untrue with absolutely no proven evidence backing it. A pregnant woman who wishes to avoid grass-cutter meat can do so for other reasons except prolonged labor as that myth holds no water.

 (6) A mum breastfeeding a newborn should not eat fruits and vegetables as they will make the baby have stomach pain,  diarrhea and jedi jedi. Most fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre and other nutrients vital for a breastfeeding mum. It is even necessary for a new mum to consume significant quantities of fruits and vegetables.

(7) Oily foods cause malaria. Malaria is caused by parasites of the Plasmodium family and is transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito. Oily foods DO NOT CAUSE MALARIA and there is absolutely no evidence to suggest so. Instead of avoiding oily foods because of malaria, sleep under insecticide treated nets and avoid mosquito bites as much as possible because they, and not oily foods cause malaria.

So when next someone tells you any of the myths above, advice the person to discard them as the myths could place them in harm's way.

You can add more of the myths you know in the comments section

Thursday 7 April 2016

Seven things no nursing mum should apologize for

Being a nursing mum is hard and just like all hard things,it comes with its unique challenges. You do not have to fit into a perceived norm. So long as your choices do not lead to you neglecting your baby then you owe no one an apology.
Here are seven things no nursing mum should ever apologize for.

(1) Loving your job. You are supposed to be engrossed with caring for your baby but you rather have your mind on your power-point presentation, your shop, or wherever your duty post is. So long as your baby does not suffer for it, please go ahead. It shows fulfillment in your chosen career. Your baby should be better-off for it in the long run as he/she would likely have a happy mum(which rubs off on children), and a more financially stable home. Your career should not suffer because of motherhood. I once witnessed a midwife who herself just gave birth less than 24 hours before go to assist in delivering the baby of another mother in labour . She still had that legs-apart gait many mothers with recent episiotomies have, but she went to help save at least two more lives. That to me was beautiful and meant she loved what she does for a living. There are certain women who sitting at home can drive crazy, you owe no one an apology if you fall into that category. No one wants a crazy mum.

(2) Furthering your education. I have seen mums use the opportunity of maternity leave to round-up their studies or enroll into a fresh one. Education, just like a career is tasking and can take  you away from your baby . We all at one time or the other need some form of self improvement, do not let nursing a baby deny you an opportunity to do that. Just ensure your baby is in good hands when you are not disposed to attending to him/her.

(3) Choosing not to exclusively breastfeed your baby. Feeding your baby on breast milk alone for the first six months has proven time and again to be the best way to feed a baby, but for certain reasons, some mothers may not be able to keep up with it. You do not have to be shamed into what you cannot afford doing or do not want to do. Go ahead and supplement with formula but keep it in mind that your option is not the best available but is good nevertheless. And you owe no one an apology because no one but you wears your shoes and therefore you alone know where it pinches.

(4) Breastfeeding in public. Most mums can identify with that moment when your child refuses to be pacified except by your jugs, Please go ahead and feed the baby. Yes you can be discreet and do your 'thing' without baring it all. But if there ever exists a situation where you have to choose between baring it all and not feeding your baby, please choose the former. Anyone embarrassed by the sight should look the other way.

(5) Feeling overwhelmed. Nursing and motherhood in general can be overwhelming.Simply get someone to help you with your baby when you  think you are on the verge of breaking down, then take time out to rejuvenate.  It is completely normal and does not stop you from being a super mum. Your baby needs a sane and happy mum so you should do what it takes to retain your sanity.

(6) Calling your baby's doctor at the slightest sign of discomfort. It is okay to be a bit paranoid when it concerns your baby's health. It is better a concern is dismissed  by the doctor than have a health issue aggravate because you do not want to disturb anyone. Never belittle your mummy-instincts no matter how many times it has sparked off when there was little or no cause for alarm. Never apologize for wanting a healthy baby.

(7) Your post-baby body. It is great if you can get your pre-pregnancy body back, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with stretch marks that refuse to clear, extra weight that has refused to burn and the baby bump that has refused to completely flatten. And when anyone makes a negative remark about how you look post-baby, remind the person of the maternal mortality statistics in Nigeria and the fact that making babies in Africa is not a feat for the weak-hearted. You should never apologize for not getting back you pre-pregnancy body.