Friday 24 November 2017

Memoirs of a Nigerian mum:I am a good mother

Last week Thursday something interesting happened.
It was a work day at African Founders.
I rushed home to be there when the children are dropped off.
I got in earlier and reposted the graphics for the promo posts for the Content Creation Challenge on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Then it was time to put on the mommy hat.
The boys came back from school.
I gave them (snacks) yoghurt and peanuts.
We then spent the next hour or so doing homework.
Then it was playtime for them and dinner preps for me.
In my haste to quickly get food ready, I cut my finger. Ouch.
Every wash was added pain.
Seasoning the food added salt to my injury.
My legs were already tired.
Then while the food was on fire, I quickly bathed them.

I had the choice of giving them cereal for dinner but since it was a long time since they had eaten pepper soup, I decided to give them as well.
But it was still cooking.
Treasure was already hungry and clingy.
I had shooed him gently and he wasn't going.
He came back while I was slicing the scent leaves. I then raised my voice and told him to stay away from the kitchen.
He sulked away.
I could get the food ready.
Minutes later, my glorious pepper soup was ready.
Come and eat, guys!
I entered the living room and what I saw stopped me dead in my tracks.
My boys were ASLEEP.
After all my efforts.
I then heard that ever-familiar voice of condemnation whisper, "you are a bad mother".
So this was how my children would go to sleep hungry.
Feeling the tears well up behind my eyelids, I retorted, "I'm not a bad mother. I'm doing the best I can".
I don't know how many times I said that to myself till I was in control again.

There are times when things would spiral out of control and you would be faced with the unexpected.
Drown the voice of condemnation faster than you can say your name.
Because if you wallow in self-pity and shame, you won't be able to produce anything positive.
When those voices come, just say to yourself, "I'm not a bad person. I'm not a failure. I'm doing the best I can".
But don't say this unless you are truly doing the best you can.
Keep your head up!
Yes You Can.

Love, RZ
PS: I later made the cereal and fed them half-asleep. They slept with food in their lil tummies. 😍 #goodmother

Culled from the Facebook group called BABES REDEFINED. 
Written by Ruth Zubairu

Thursday 23 November 2017

Sleep position in late pregnancy linked to a mother's risk of having a stillbirth

Stillbirth; the death of a baby before birth,  almost always causes heartbreak to the hitherto expectant parents and often leaves them wondering what they may have done or avoided doing that led to the loss of their unborn baby. The babies lost before birth, just like those lost after birth are hardly ever forgotten. 

To contribute towards reducing incidences of stillbirths, risk factors are often studied to identify women at increased risk, with the aim of possibly reducing the risk factors.  Some researchers in the UK looked at the association between maternal sleep practices and stillbirths. 

Image result for maternal supine position
They found out that 'mothers who went to sleep on their back had at least twice the risk of stillbirth compared with mothers who went to sleep on their left-hand side'. The study suggested that 3.7% of stillbirths after 28 weeks of pregnancy in the UK was linked with going to sleep lying on the back. The report as presented in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology posited that the maternal supine position (a position where the pregnant woman lies horizontally with her face and torso facing up) is associated with compression of the inferior vena cava and reduced venous return, which in turn decreases the amount of blood pumped by the heart per minute and ultimately leads to reduced blood flow to the uterus. The study further reported the maternal supine position as a contributor to abnormalities in fetal heart rate traces in labor. 

Physiological studies had before now reported that unborn babies frequently adopt the quiet sleep position which is an oxygen sparing position whenever their mothers are in the supine position. 
Although women regularly change their sleep positions when sleeping, the report stated that the going-to-sleep position is very important as it is the one that is held longest and may have the greatest impact on the baby.The study suggests that incidences of late stillbirth will decrease if no pregnant mother goes to sleep on her back. 

Based on the reports of the study and other similar ones, pregnant women are recommended to as much as possible avoid the supine position, especially during the last trimester. 
While a pregnant mother may not be able to do anything about the position she wakes up in, she can do something about that which she goes to sleep in. Putting a pillow behind her back would help encourage side-sleeping.  It is best if she can afford a maternity pillow which can help her remain in the side-sleeping position. 

Image result for pillow behind back sleeping
Source; A maternity pillow

Sunday 5 November 2017


Malnutrition is a serious health condition that occurs when a person's diet does not contain the right amount of nutrients to meet the person's nutritional needs. It often occurs as a result of deficiency, excess or imbalance of food nutrients. Malnutrition includes both undernutrition and overnutrition; that is, both obese and starving persons are described as malnourished but this write-up is focused on undernutrition as that is the most prevalent type of malnutrition in Nigeria.
Image result for types of malnutrition
The problem of malnutrition should not be taken lightly as it can cripple a child's entire life. Almost half of all deaths in under five children in developing parts of the world  are attributed to malnutrition (undernutrition). Malnutrition is said to be the underlying cause of morbidity and mortality of a large proportion of children under five years old in Nigeria. 

 Malnourished children are prone to continuous bouts of  diseases which can affect their growth and development. They are exposed to common infections, the severity and frequency of which  contribute to delayed recovery or even death. Poor nutrition in the First 1000 days of a childs life can also lead to wasting and  stunted growth, which is irreversible and associated with impaired cognitive abilities and reduced school and work performance.
 Infants and pre-school children depend on adults around them for their nutritional needs and if the selection of foods for them is incorrect, they may suffer from malnutrition. The process of weaning a child off breast milk increases the risk of malnutrition in that child as complementary foods offered may be deficient in certain nutrients. In Nigeria, the most common food offered to infants for complementary feeding is pap (akamu in Igbo, Ogi in Yoruba).   Pap supplies carbohydrates with little or no proteins,  and lack of proteins in the diet may result to severe wasting of body tissues. This can be fatal, or may lead to impaired or delayed cognitive development. It is therefore necessary that an infant's pap be enriched with some protein-rich foods like milk, egg yoke, crayfish, soybeans, deboned and mashed fish etc, as well as with fruits and vegetables. From birth to 6 months, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended to take care of the infant's nutritional needs.  Beyond then,  an infant's meals should be carefully planned with a balanced diet in mind. 
Image result for malnutrition in children
Measures used in dictating malnutrition
The three commonly used measures for detecting malnutrition in children are:
1. Stunting (extremely low height for age): Stunting  usually results from  chronic undernutrition;  it is  increasingly used  as  the key  measure of nutritional status  in under two  year olds. Stunting can lead  to irreversible cognitive damage. 

2. Underweight (extremely low weight for age).

3. Wasting (extremely low weight for height): Wasting usually results from an acute, significant shortage of food and/or disease.  It a strong predictor of mortality among children below five years old.
Image result for malnutrition in children

The UNICEF conceptual framework on malnutrition takes into account three major causes of malnutrition which include 

1. Basic causes: such as human and environmental resources, economic systems, political and ideological factors. Basic causes of malnutrition often affects an entire community or nation.
2. Underlying causes: insufficient household food, inadequate maternal and Child care, and insufficient health services and unhealthy environments result to household malnutrition.
3. Immediate causes: inadequate dietary intake and diseases like diarrhea, infections etc are the immediate causes of malnutrition in children.  

Malnutrition if not checkmated  can not only affect the affected persons but also influence the economic growth of the nation. The immediate causes of malnutrition can be prevented starting from the first 1000 days of a child's life, which is from the start of a pregnancy to a child's second birthday.The first 1000 days offer an opportunity for preventing undernutrition and it's consequences. 

Read baby meal ideas for suggestions on healthy homemade foods you can offer your baby