Tuesday 10 April 2012

Failure to Thrive.... but YOU can help!

My Story:  Failure to Thrive

Gosh, each time I hear those words my heart quickens just a bit, they conjure up such emotions in me and not good ones. I am transported back to late July 2007, two weeks post c-section, still in pain and hormones raging, baby twins keeping me awake at night and my smaller baby seems to be getting smaller and smaller and she is as yellow as anything. The last thing you need to hear when your little baby is just a couple of weeks old and has lost over 20oz's is that she may have to be admitted back to hospital as she is showing a failure to thrive. I am told I need to stop breastfeeding her and start to feed her formula every hour or so, just a small bit from a syringe to try and wake her up and help the jaundice to go away.

I recall being in the children's A and E trying to get Miss E to go to wee in the small dish provided. So I stand there wanting to be useful, but feeling such a failure myself as I don't seem able to feed and nourish this little babe. She can't get the hang of breast feeding and it makes me feel so tearful. I have no objection to giving her some formula if that is what she needs but then the guilt overwhelms me, I breastfed JJ for 6 months, why should it be so much less for the twins? Surely it has to be equal to show all the kids I love them the same? Ohh the warped logic of female hormones.

Luckily they let us go home with a promise that the Health Visitor would come to check Miss E and see how she was doing. So we went and bought some formula and spent a lot of time making sure she took the precious food and was able to put on weight. A visit to our GP confirmed that Miss E had reflux and needed Gaviscon and this was the start of our positive journey with her. Within a matter of just a couple of weeks she was back up to her birth weight of 5lb 11oz and was greedily guzzling her food.

The terribly sickly baby who could not feed, who fretted, screamed, cried and sicked it all back up turned into the perfect contented baby. From about 6 weeks onwards Miss E was a little angel, yes it took her longer to sleep through than Miss M but she has always been consistent and still continues to be a fab sleeper.

We were lucky, not everyone is...

Amazing how I took it all for granted, firstly that the hospital was there just 5 minutes from our house to access Miss E. We could then go to a shop and easily buy the formula and  feed it to her in our warm and dry house. Then the next day we were able to easily access the care of a doctor and gain some free medication to ensure that Miss E was fully back on the road to recovery and a positive childhood.

For those in Africa the reality is that nearly all babies born have a serious potential to show a failure to thrive. Their parents can not just go and buy them some milk, the breastmilk they rely on might be passing them the HIV virus and medical care is a luxury that they may have to travel days by foot to access.

Yet again I have to sit back and reflect on just how blessed I am and with this blessing comes a responsibility, one to take steps to help ensure that the world becomes a more equal place.

ONE's new campaign - Thrive: Food. Farming. Future

You may have seen my post a couple of weeks ago announcing that I am to be a Mum ambassador for ONE.org, the grass roots campaigning and advocacy organisation that is giving a voice to those who are not heard at the moment. Today they launch a new campaign called Thrive: Food. Farming. Future, as that is what they seek with all their hearts, to ensure that those children thrive and grow into healthy adults who are able to feed and sustain themselves with the promise of a bright future.

The key aims of the Thrive campaign are that by 2015 -
  • We could see 15 million fewer children chronically malnourished and 
  • 50 million people lifted out of extreme poverty
You can't argue with those goals can you?

So what are we asking you to do to help? Any one of the following - or all of them if you like!

1. Sign up and offer your voice to ONE.org. They already have more than 2.5 million people worldwide supporting them but it is important that this number continues to grow and us, the common people can help them to put pressure on African leaders, donor governments and the private sector to focus on thirty of the poorest countries that have smart agriculture and nutrition plans. Those plans are tested, costed and affordable. They need to be put into practice.  For that they need two things: political leadership and financial backing. ONE’s campaign will insist on both. But we know leaders won’t act unless lots of people urge them to do so.  ONE’s strength is its collective action – one plus one plus one quickly adds up to a lion’s roar.

2. Join the @BritMums twitter party today from 12.30 - 1.30pm and use the hashtags #ONEMums and #LetsThrive. At this party you will hear about loads of positive stories from developing countries in the last few years. So many wonderful charities are making a difference and the good news stories show us why we have to continue working towards a better life for all. We CAN make a difference.

3. Spread the word with a blog or Facebook post - please do put a post up on your blog or share about the ONE Thrive campaign as a  facebook status. Check out this Google Doc for some simple information you can use in your post. If you do blog about this then please link back here. Thrive can use this blog post full of linked up posts to show to our Government and influential institutions that there is a strength of opinion in our blogsphere. Our voices count! Do you remember what we managed to do for Save the Children last September?  Let's do that again - we really can....

Please do tag some other bloggers to join in to, if we all poke a couple of peopel each to get involved this could spread like wildfire!

4. Tweet about the campaign using the hashtag #LetsThrive and urge people to sign up to ONE and offer their voice

5.  Keep an eye on my blog later this week to find out about a fun, quick and easy way that you can make a difference and really add your voice ready for the G8 Summit on 18 and 19th May 2012.

Thanks for joining in, every one of us can help to make a difference.  Mich x

Link up now...

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