By Richard Oyel
“Being a nutritionist, with support from my husband who is also a nutritionist, I thought it would be obvious but it wasn’t.”
Ritah Muhindo is a nutritionist working at Andre Foods International under the Karamoja Nutrition Programme (KNP) in Kotido. The 26-year-old Head of Sub Office became a first-time mother late last year after giving birth to her son, Imran.
“On 18th November 2020 at 15:15, I welcomed my son by caesarean section at International Hospital Kampala (IHK). I stayed in the theatre for monitoring up to 8 o’clock, that is when I set my eyes on my bundle of joy.” Says Ritah
Just like most women who deliver by C-section, Ritah could not initiate breastfeeding to her child straight away.
“Friends and family advised me to buy prelacteal feeds on the market but my doctor told me to wait. It took two days for my milk to flow consistently. But those two days of waiting were like thousands of years.” Ritah recalls. “Being a nutritionist, with support from my husband who is also a nutritionist, I thought it would be obvious but it wasn’t.
While at home, Ritah and her hubby often got low on sleep. Diaper changes, breastfeeding, and those insane nights when babies cry for no discernible reason. When the three months of maternity leave came to an end. Ritah needed to get back to work.
“I was terrified to say the least. The nature of my job meant I would have to multi-task field work and breastfeeding. More so in a hard-to-reach area like Karamoja, it felt nearly impossible at the time.” She said.
However, Ritah’s fears faded away when she returned to her duty station.
“I was given a baby friendly space which enabled me breastfeed baby Imran exclusively for six months.” ANDRE FOODS INTERNATIONAL (AFI) has a policy which allows breastfeeding staff and project beneficiaries to take quality time to breastfeed their children while at work.
The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is ‘Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility’.
“Yes, it is a shared responsibility! That is what I have learned while working with AFI. From creating a safe space for me and my baby, to team work, and supportive colleagues – all these shaped my motherhood for the better while at work.” Ritah says with a smile.
AFI continues to support best practices that encourage breastfeeding and raise awareness of its vital role in protecting and improving community health.
In Karamoja, AFI’s nutrition programme is implemented in partnership with UNITED NATIONS WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME (UNWFP).