-Innovative ways mothers feed their babies
Parents and care givers want the best for their children. From the food they put in their mouths to the diapers they put on their bottoms, they are willing to spend for it. However, with the economic recession the country has been combating, parents, especially mothers have raised the alarm over what they described as the astronomical rise in the prices of baby food. They are worried that the situation may soon go beyond what they can cope with.
Many families are complaining that the prices of baby food have affected their purchasing power. Traders are not left out in the trend, they are also decrying a sharp drop in sales which they blamed on the dire economic condition in the country and non-payment of worker’s salaries.
A market survey by ENCOMIUM Weekly revealed that the cost of feeding a baby has risen. Mothers and care givers are already seeking alternatives to combat the steepest rise of baby food. Compared to 2015, baby food has witnessed more than 50 percent increase in price. This scenario has also increased cases of malnutrition in children.
According to a medical expert, Dr. Taiwo, who spoke with ENCOMIUM Weekly, “When an economy is depleted like ours, people would be forced to eat only what is available. Hospitals are witnessing more cases of malnutrition in three months compared to previous years.”
According to the result of an opinion poll conducted by ENCOMIUM Weekly, the result of the increase in baby food has made many women opt to prepare their own concoctions when weaning their infants. More than half of consumers prefer to make their meals from scratch, they now see baby formula as a backup option to supplement their home cooked food, while some mothers delay baby formula or avoid it altogether.
Our market survey revealed that SMA is now N2,600. NAN was N1,450 before, it now goes for N1,700. My Boy was initially sold N950, it now costs N1,200. Cerelac was N950 before, it is now N1,100. Lactogen used to be N1,250, it is now N1,300.
Gerber Multigrain Cereal was N1,400 a couple of months back, it is now N1,500. Heinz was N900, N950 it is now N1,000, N1,100. These prices vary depending on where they were bought.
There are alternatives to baby formula. Breast milk has remained the most nutritious and wholesome baby food was for centuries. It is supplemented and required to sustain growth and good nutrition for babies. Even for poorly nourished mothers, the volume and composition of breast milk is usually surprisingly good. As a result of hike in price of baby food, most nursing mothers have extended breast feeding period till eight months while some women stop breast feeding when the infant is a year plus.
Many women make puree from cereal (corn, millet, guinea corn) to feed their babies from six months. Ripe plaintain, banana mashed into porridge is another alternative woman give their infants.
ENCOMIUM Weekly sampled opinion of housewives about the skyrocketing price of baby food and alternative food they feed their infants.
MRS. FUNKE SOLOMON
My first baby fed on SMA but I couldn’t afford it for the second baby. So, I bought NAN. He took NAN for six months and we introduced cereal. I regret introducing Cerelac because he came down with malnutrition. We have stopped feeding him with Cerelac and he chooses food. I will advice mothers to give their children pap (ogi). My first son fed on it and he is quite healthy.
I have extended breast feeding to one year. I was giving my son SMA before but the price started increasing from N2,200 to N2,400. It was a gradual increment and it is too much. I cannot afford it again. My baby is five months now. I will stop breast feeding when he is one. I will introduce solid food once he is six months. I wouldn’t bother myself with follow up food. I can’t even afford it. I will give whatever the rest of the family is eating.
We have not had it so bad like this. The prices of baby food in the market have gone up beyond what an average Nigerian can afford. You can imagine Cerelac is now N1,200. Some people even sell at N1,250. Golden Morn 450g is now N500. I used to buy it N450 before. I have reduced the rate of which my children drink it anyway. I make pap myself now. I use guinea corn and millet. I also add Peak milk with it.
My baby is four months. I am doing exclusive breast feeding. I thank God that I don’t have to worry about baby food. Once she is seven months, I will start giving her amala. My mother in-law taught me to make it with ewedu soup and mashed mackerel. Mothers should give their babies what they can afford, forget about formula and invent. I am a working class woman, I pump breast milk every day for my baby and store in a fridge that sustains her before I come back from work.
I have stopped buying cereals. I have introduced solid food. I make soya milk that I add to his pap whenever he wants to eat. My mom taught me about mashed banana and mackerel. I blend banana and spoon-feed him. I also cook the very soft plantain and mash with mackerel to feed him.
My husband wanted us to have four children but with the economic situation, he has thought twice and said three is okay. My daughter started eating solid food when she was seven months. I give her all we ate at home. I also make potatoes and yam porridge mixed with mashed fish and she takes it, though in small portions at first, it has increased a bit now.
Mothers can avoid the use of baby food, it is very possible. I am a trader. I take her to the market everyday when she was still breast feeding. I am trying to stop breast feeding completely now and feed her on solid food. I just buy 123 Peak milk which is about N800 and it lasts a month.
MRS. ABIMBOLA JOHN
I am lucky my children started eating when they were six months. I give them pap, moi-moi (beans pudding), mashed yam with butter or fried egg. They started taking it in small quantity. I gave them NAN aside breast milk when they were much younger.