Thursday, 18 June 2015

Going back to the basics!

During my first pregnancy, I took alot of time reading about pregnancy and what to expect. I joined an online group at babycentre where I learnt alot from the ladies. Having done all that, I had this bring it on attitude...I felt I had gathered enough information for the days ahead. Things started going off my script when I had a cesearen section delivery instead of my natural option. I felt very dissapointed considering I had walked miles in the name of exercising. It was soon time to go home, we excitedly went home with our new bundle in hand. We decided to give our Sunshine her first bath at home! I laid out everything. My dear husband held the baby while I set about washing her hair. The minute the first drop of water hit her scalp....she wailed so hard. We got scared, I quickly dried her hair, wiped the remaining soap out of it and dressed her up. That was not the only challenge...breastfeeding was a nightmare despite watching many people doing it with alot of ease. Earlier, I had told my Mum how I was not going back home...I quickly swallowed my words and went home for a month. I learnt that no amount of reading could have prepared me for the realities on the ground!

These memories came flooding back when I attended the recent Makerere University School of Public Health maternal and newborn conference at which one of the presenters urged Government through the Ministry of Education to consider revising the education curriculum to include components that prepare people for parenthood. Indeed I have watched overseas programs where mothers and a few fathers-to-be go for practical sessions in preparation for that time. They learn all those basics that are required to take care of both baby and Mum. I think that this is the way to go but whichever way it goes, it should not only be limited to the formal sector; some informal training methods need to be brought on board. Many of the speakers argued that health begins at home and well equipped parents were very vital in the fight against maternal and newborn mortality. It was interesting to note that some of the basics that we do such was maintaining high hygiene standards around the baby e.g. handwashing, breastfeeding, keeping the baby warm among many others contribute to a 25% reduction in death at birth. So many facts were given to us including the fact that the World Health Organisation does not recommend bathing babies during the first 24 hours of birth. These and many more are some of the things that will be shared with our parents to preparation for the baby's arrival.

Do you think this is a welcome move? Should there be a deliberate effort to prepare people for parenthood or should we rely on our innate abilities? At what level of education should this be introduced? How best can it be implemented? Have your say? Post your opinion and comment on our facebook page