New mother learns value of quality kangaroo mother care

Roselyn with health worker and baby

Roselyn with a nurse and her son, Samuel.

Busia County, KENYA – Roselyn Nyongesa was 27-weeks pregnant when her water broke and she was rushed to Busia County Referral Hospital, Kenya in February 2019. She was admitted and discharged nine days later but after returning home, she began to experience labour pains. She returned to the hospital and the next day gave birth to her son, Samuel.  

Premature and weighing only 1.3 kg, Samuel was immediately taken to the newborn unit where a tube was put into his nose for feeding. The nurses taught Roselyn how to express milk and feed her baby. 

“I had no milk for two days and this worried me,” said Roselyn. “But after that my milk began to flow, I was able to express my milk and feed my baby through the tube after the nurses taught me how.” 

Nutrition International has provided kangaroo mother care training to health workers at the hospital and contributed to developing and producing the national guidelines and education materials that are used at the facility. This information ensures the doctors and nurses at the hospital can effectively treat premature and newborn babies. 

Once Samuel’s weight reached 1.5 kg, the nurses taught Roselyn the kangaroo mother care position, placing the baby on her chest and securing him there with a leso, or cloth.  

“I would stay with him in this position all day and night,” said Roselyn. “Though it was not easy to always have the baby attached to me, and I needed to ask one of the other mothers to help me tie the baby on me when my husband was away, I felt more comfortable and secure in that I was always having him close and I felt his warmth.” 

Samuel graduated from taking breastmilk through a feeding tube, to cup feeding, and finally, to breastfeeding. With the support of the nurses and pediatrician at the hospital, Samuel was discharged weighing 1.7 kg. After leaving the hospital, the family still received assistance from the healthcare workers. Through their help and advice, Roselyn was able to provide quality kangaroo mother care for her newborn son. 

“It felt good being a solution to my child’s health.”