In Summary
  • Lactation expert prescribes exclusive breastfeeding but not every mother can produce enough milk.
  • To avoid maternal stress and depression, she says, one can supplement with baby formula but not with cow, goat or camel milk.
  • Raw camel and goat milk have become ‘a thing’ among new mothers, thanks to social media pressure

Pressure to breastfeed exclusively for six months has spawned new entrepreneurs targeting Kenyan mothers struggling to produce milk.

They sell anything from Amazon-imported biscuits and teas, chia seeds to bras. Mary Mathenge, a lactation expert at Aga Khan University Hospital, says parents spend lots of cash on fancy, unnecessary items that pose risks to infants.

Ms Mathenge, who has worked with mothers for 25 years, prescribes exclusive breastfeeding for every newborn but acknowledges that not everyone can produce enough milk. However, to avoid maternal stress and depression, she says, one can supplement with baby formula but not with cow, goat or camel milk.

‘‘The casein protein in goat or camel milk is not easily digested in infants below one year. It forms a curd and causes protein allergies,’’ she says. Raw camel and goat milk have become ‘a thing’ among new mothers, thanks to social media pressure where others credit it for its richness in nutrients and for treating eczema.

However, before you give up on breastfeeding, she says you need to understand how milk is formed and how the baby should suckle. A baby may be wrongly latching the nipple instead of the areola where milk is temporary stored.

Chia seeds packed in containers.

Chia seeds packed in containers. The seeds yield 25 to 30 percent extractable oil that includes alpha-linolenic acid. PHOTO | GRACE GITAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

‘‘After two to three days after child birth, a woman should wear a bra and even sleep with it. Sagging breasts stretch the areola, making it hard for a baby to suckle. Wearing a bra also prevents clogged milk ducts in the armpits,’’ she says, adding that if the breast is engorged, freeze a cabbage and wear the leaf like a bra to reduce swelling.

VITAMIN D

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