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Breastfeeding in the heart of Africa

Breastfeeding in the heart of Africa


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Breastfeeding in the heart of Africa is very different from what we Western women know. Feeding the baby right after birth is very important for its survival. Mother Nature has foreseen this fact and endowed all women with a very concentrated first milk, full of nutrients and antibodies, yellowish in color, more liquid and, in turn, also more digestive for the baby's immature stomach.

This milk, which is liquid gold for the baby, is colostrum. A delicious milk that, however, is despised by mothers in Senegal. So, by culture and tradition, Senegalese mothers do not usually offer their colostrum to their newborn baby and, during this time, it is fed by another woman in the community until the mother passes that phase. The wonderful colostrum is thrown away when babies need it most.

Breastfeeding children in Senegal usually lasts a couple of years, in part because of the difficulties of finding another type of milk for children, although they often combine breastfeeding with solid foods such as millet, rice or sorghum flavored with herbs.

It made me laugh to watch the little ones suckling so calmly, pulling their mothers' elastic nipples, while they laughed shyly when I passed them with my camera. Then they would grab my arm and, in an attitude of pose, they would urge me to portray them.

Once I was shooting with my camera, these hurried women surrounded me to see the result of the photograph, then they jostled and joked with each other like schoolgirls, hiding their laughter behind the fabric of their dress. What a tender image! ... and, when the ice broke, they touched me, they surrounded me and, in no time, we were hugging and portraying as fifteen-year-olds on a holiday.

Meanwhile, their little ones with their faces covered in snot, looked at me with wild eyes, swinging their heads from side to side in time with the body movement of their mothers, who looked happy with their bare chest.

Infants wear curious openwork car hats with fun colored beads, bracelets and necklaces that girdle their little bodies covered with colorful fabrics. An explosion of color that enhances your dark complexion.

As a doula, in my life there has been a before and after after my trip to Senegal, and there was a piece of my heart, with Adama, Uma, Sokoná, Ulimata, Artasaa, Liorka, and the rest of the women who shared their hearts with me, and the men who helped us in everything, Denwa, Yoro, Siegh, Shefa ...

There are the afternoons in which I tried to teach letters and numbers to women wanting to learn, to leave illiteracy behind. I learned phrases in their language and they in mine. See you soon Senegal, thank you for once again feeling the camaraderie, the innocence, the sincere laugh ...

You can read more articles similar to Breastfeeding in the heart of Africa, in the category of On-site breastfeeding.


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