I’m very excited to share about the changes we have in store in 2015 for Little Changes, and specifically our Milk Project. The Milk Project has a special place in our hearts here at Little Changes because it was the project that launched the entire organization, and it has been a joy for the entire LCI team to see how it has continued to grow and impact the community in Mozambique.
What’s new for 2015?
We are starting a sponsorship program for the babies that come into the Milk Program. Before, when you donated, you were simply making a general donation to the program. Now, when you donate to the Milk Project, you will be paired with a baby. You will receive a picture and a story for your baby as well as updates on the baby’s progress. All it takes is $30 per month – just $1 a day – to sponsor one of these precious babies. For those who prefer one-time donations, a $180 donation sponsors one child for the six months that the baby is in the program.
So, what exactly is the Milk Project?
The Milk Project is a weekly clinic, combined with home visits, specifically operated for newborn babies in desperate need of nutrition and healthy growth. Typically, this means a regular supply of infant formula at a weekly check-up to make sure that the newborn is healthy and growing.
Why formula? Isn’t breastmilk preferred over infant formula?
Yes, breastmilk is the preferred choice. Studies have shown breastmilk to provide improved nutrition over formula, even before considering the cost of formula. Before a baby is admitted into the Milk Project, a licensed nurse performs an evaluation to determine that breastfeeding is not a viable option.
What are the typical causes for breastfeeding to be unfeasible?
We usually see one of the following three causes.
Insufficient Milk Production is the most common cause. Malnutrition affects many mothers in the area, making it difficult to provide a full supply of milk. Severe breast infections and abscesses also constrict supply. Recently, we have seen an influx of twins and the mother is unable to produce enough for both babies. In these cases, formula is incorporated alongside normal breastfeeding practices.
HIV in babies is to be avoided at all costs. An antiretroviral (ARV) treatment just before pregnancy has become quite effective at preventing transmission from an HIV-positive mother to the baby. Since HIV can still be passed through breast milk, formula is the preferred alternative in cases with HIV-positive mothers.
A Deceased Mother is unfortunately an all-too-real situation. A family member will look after the orphaned baby, but does not have the means to buy the infant formula. In some cases, the mother has not passed but is too sick to care for the baby.
How has the Milk Project changed in the last three years?
The most noticeable change has been the number of babies. When Little Changes started, we typically saw 10-15 babies each week. Now, we see 40-45 babies each week! There has been no change in our policy to explain the growth; it has simply been by word of mouth from mothers who have seen their baby helped by the Milk Program.
We also have a fully Mozambican staff now. Our lead nurse, Fatima, is able to connect at a much deeper level with the mothers and this is a reason why we have seen such growth. It is so encouraging to see Mozambicans serving other Mozambicans!
With your generosity, we can continue to grow in our village and to surrounding communities. We have grown so much in these three years and we hope to continue to grow, so please consider making a donation to this beautiful project and sharing with your friends and family.
President of Little Changes International