Mothers have been urged to take care of their children’s nutrition as well as their own so as to make sure that children grow up in good health.
The call was made by experts during mother’s day celebrations in Kigali organised by Africa Improved Foods, a manufacturer of nutritious foods for children and mothers, to sensitise the mothers about healthy feeding.
Speaking during an interview, Prosper Ndayiragije, the country manager of Africa Improved Foods, said the event was organised to recognise the role of mothers in the nutrition of children.
“We organised this event to celebrate the mothers in the context of Mother’s Day. We want to appreciate the role of the mothers in the nutrition of the children. They play a very important role in feeding children,” he said.
Ndayiragije reminded mothers to not only take care of their children’s nutrition but also their own especially during the time when they are pregnant or breastfeeding,
Venuste Muhamyankaka, the president of Rwanda Nutritionist Society, stressed the importance of mothers feeding well during pregnancy as an important factor that helps them produce healthy babies, thus avoiding stunting.
Muhamyankaka said pregnant mothers need to raise their daily calorie intake by 350 calories per day. He said a healthy meal should have fruits for vitamins, green vegetables for minerals, proteins (beans or eggs or milk), carbohydrates (posho, potatoes).
Challenge to mothers
Muhamyankaka also urged mothers to continue good nutrition after delivery to have enough breast milk.
He said malnutrition in children cannot only lead to physical but also mental stunting.
According to Muhamyankaka, many children get stunted after six months due to lack of healthy and nutritious feeds rich especially in proteins to supplement breast milk.
He advised mothers to breastfeed their children up to atleast when they are two years old.
He cited some of the causes of malnutrition in Rwanda as ignorance and poverty.
Doreen Umwali, a mother of two, said she takes nutrition of her children seriously, emphasising that breastfeeding should be prioritised and not the mother’s body as some young mothers tend to consider their appearance and wean off their children earlier than recommended.
Another mother, Jean d’Arc Mukamisha, said she was happy to learn about the new products manufactured in Rwanda that can give her and her child for good nutrition.
The event also included showcasing some of the nutritional products from Africa Improved Foods.
Mother’s Day is a celebration honouring mothers, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.
It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May.