Our formula program unofficially started in 2007 as a way to empower families to be able to keep their children in their care while still being able to provide for their nutritional needs. If a child is unable to breastfeed, whether it be because Mom has passed away, doesn’t have milk, etc, and the family is able to care for the infants needs but just can’t afford formula, we would prefer to not separate them. In order to be admitted to this program, a family has to prove that the mother is not able to breast-feed either by providing a doctors note or a death certificate for the Mom. Both of these are easy to obtain. We believe Breastfeeding is best and would never admit a child who is able to do so.
Once a child is admitted, they return every two weeks where they exchange their empty cans for new formula. Each time they come we document their weight gain to ensure that they are developing appropriately. We discuss nutritional needs of infants/children with the families and also encourage them to push their children developmentally. Our nurse is always available to consult with these families if they have any concerns about the infants health.
Below is a story of one of these children.
Udashka first came to Children of the Promise when her Mom had no where left to turn. At four month old Udashka was a tiny six pounds twelve ounces baby, who was struggling for life. A few weeks before a doctor had encoouraged her Mom to stop breastfeeding because she had scabies and didn’t want her to pass it on to her child. Her Mother, wanting the best for her baby, listened, however, she didn’t have the means to pay for formula, so Udashka’s healthy quickly deteriated. Loose skin, covered in scabies and sores hung on Udashka’s petite frame- indicating a solid need for intervention.
Udashka’s father had long since left, leaving her, her seven siblings, and her mother homeless. After just four months in the formula program Udashka has transformed into a healthy fourteen pound eight ounce little lady!
Now weighing seven pounds more, we hardly recognize her. I can not explain how great it is to see the smile on her Mothers face each time I praise her for the weight her daughter has gain and the improvement in her life. This Mother is head over heals in love with her daughter and only needed a little helping hand to bring Udashka back to a healthy baby.
Instead of facing starvation during her infancy, Udashka instead now has hope for her future with a solid nutritional start. Without Children of the Promise’s formulaprogram, the loving mother who adores her baby would have had to made the choice of either separated from her daughter during those essential initial months of bonding, or taking the chance of keeping her daughter with her knowing that she could loose her at any minute. A life was saved without the
heartbreak of removing the baby from her home and family, proving the formula program’s incredible vision. I have since visited Udashka in her home, three months after graduating from the program. Her Mom learned a lot about the nutritional needs of a infant during our few short visits, and I’m happy to say that she is still doing amazing! Both Udashka and her Mom are amazing people, and I’m excited to see who she turns into as she gets older!