Day 19

19 Jun

We are all back up on our grind today at the Institute. One of our favorite professoras, Mary, has won an award from her homeland, and will be accepting an award from the Queen of England so we are all very excited for her! She`s hilarious and loved by us all.

Today we started our new modules, Clinical and Community. I am in the Community Education one, where we visit mothers with young children, find problems with the child`s eating habits, encourage an intervention, then come back to see if it made a difference. All this in 8 days!
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Today, my group of 3 (me, Aimee, and Alexandra) met our mother and her 22 month old daughter. We asked her questions about the daughters diet and conducted a 24-hour recall (everything the child ate the day before, this is supposed to generate an idea of what the child usually eats, how much, how often, etc.). I tried out some of my spanish skills for part of the questionnaire. The mother said she could understand what I was saying… not that I was good at saying it, but that she could understand it haha. 
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We went back to the institute and evaluated her responses and found that the child eats a lot of meat, which is good considering a lot of children in Peru are too poor to eat a lot of meat, and are therefore more at risk to develop anemia or other protein and vitamin deficiences. The child is almost 2 years old, but doesn`t like to eat solid/lumpy foods, which is bad because she is off breast milk and needs to be eating a more substantial diet than soup all the time in order to get as many nutrients as possible in her tiny little tummy! 

I have learned SO much about breastfeeding and child nutrition today, and I am loving it! I think I have discovered a new passion! Did you know you`re supposed to breastfeed within the first hour after birth? And that breastfeeding helps your uterine muscles contract so you won`t bleed as long after giving birth? And that breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, so can help you shed that baby weight after you deliver? Breastfeeding should be done exclusively (no other foods or drinks) until the baby is 6 months old, and then should be paired with complimentary foods until the child is 2 years old. If you don`t introduce lumpy foods into the child`s diet between the ages of 6-9 months they won`t enjoy the texture and you will have one hell of a time getting them to eat more solid foods as they get older (for example, the child we met today). Children obviously have smaller stomachs than adults, so if you are consistently giving them more liquidy foods than thicker foods, they will be more likely to be undernourished. For instance, if you give them more soups than oatmeal or mashed vegetables, their tiny tummies will be all filled up with the less nutrient-dense liquid soup than if you had given them the mashed veggies first. So your child will become full and not want to eat the thicker foods, when in reality they needed those more because they contain more nutrients in the space they take up. Of course the child still needs liquids to maintain hydration, but there should be 3 meals given each day where the consistency of the food is similar to mashed potatoes. AND there are very basic measurements for food amounts that children should be eating at certain ages. For instance, our child we`re studying is over 24 months and therefore should be eating over 1/2 cup of food at each meal (back to those 3 meals a day). Our little girl was not. She was eating about 4 meals a day though and a few snacks in between each though, so she is probably getting enough food but more food per meal should be encouraged.

Seriously, I am loving this stuff! I can`t wait to go back to Manchay tomorrow and see our little mommy and baby 🙂

 

Other than that I`ve still been nauseous pretty much all day, I think still from that long and horrible bus ride back to Lima yesterday. I need to go grocery shopping in a really bad way. I have like a cup of pudding and a banana to my name right now. And some stolen bread from the hotel`s breakfast bar. 

 

The Struggle: Nausea sucks. 

The Silver Lining: CLEARLY, feeling sick means I HAVE to go get some lucuma ice cream. 

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