Photo Stories | Nursing Mama

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Ben Aijian works in media for Heidi and Rolland Baker at Iris Ministries in Mozambique. One of his passions is photography, and here he shares the story behind one of his photographs taken while working with Iris.

Nursing Mama

Maria is a young Mozambican mother that is enrolled in one of the many ministry programs that we have here at Iris in Mozambique. Amongst the poor in a nearby village, there is a program that helps young mothers with their infants. One of the greatest problems that faces the average Mozambican, especially mothers and small children, is the crisis of malnutrition. While adults often have more resilience to the effects of malnutrition, children are far more vulnerable to its perils. The basic diet of an average Mozambican woman will often be so poor that when she has a child, her body does not have the nutrients required to produce enough milk to effectively nurse and sustain a newborn infant. This is especially compounded when a mother, like Maria, gives birth to twins.

The program that we simply call ‘milk clinic’ is a weekly class that mothers can enroll in for several months. It includes basic training on nutrition, hygiene, and how to take care of a newborn baby. Often included in this is some form of Bible teaching. Our staff will also do a weekly weighing of the infants which allows them to record the specific state of malnutrition that a child is in, and how much they need to be eating in order to stay healthy. A weekly allotment of baby formula will then be given to the mother, as well as some food for the mother herself.

Maria, like many other mothers, has enrolled herself in the program and has committed to walking several kilometers every week for the sake of her children. It takes only a short time for the babies to put on weight, some even become chubby!