Mothers are never alone in making choices about how to feed their children. Husbands, mothers-in-law, friends, village elders, doctors, employers, and even policymakers who surround mothers influence their nutrition practices. It makes sense that we need to engage these influencers as well as mothers to facilitate sustainable change.
Facing my own challenges with breastfeeding, pumping, and complementary feeding despite a supportive work environment, help from my family, and relatively easy access to healthy food has given me even more respect for the mothers and communities SPRING works with who overcome even greater barriers to making breastfeeding and healthy eating a reality in their lives.
It became increasingly clear as Kristina prepared for the arrival of her son that while training and counseling can provide critical information, it sometimes isn’t enough. A health worker or volunteer often has a fleeting and ephemeral interaction with mothers and while their guidance as professionals is certainly respected, a mother’s relationship with her child is intimately personal. This emotional nuance can be overpowering, making information from friends, family, and peers much more trusted.