“Men say they are busy but they need to work with their partners to bring up a baby”

Parent Peter Mayienga Kenya
Peter brings his child to Baba Dogo Healthcare clinic to be weighed and checked while his wife is at work (Baba Dogo Healthcare clinic )

Child nutrition (Early years), Childcare, Early childhood development, ​Learning through play (Early years), Safe pregnancy and birth

This week Theirworld is looking at caregivers who help children under the age of five to develop - today we talk to parents about health and nutrition.

Every child in the world deserves to fulfil their potential. That means giving them quality care and nurturing in the crucial first few years of their life.

By the time a child reaches five years old, 90% of their brain has already developed. During that time, they need access to quality care, including the five vital areas of nutrition, health, learning, play and protection.

That’s why Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign is calling on leaders to help make early childhood development a top priority.

Caregivers – including parents and family – obviously have a key role to play. In a special series this week, Theirworld talks to caregivers about the challenges and the joys of giving children the best start in life.

Peter Mayienga, father of one

I am a businessman. I brought my son Joel, who is 14 months, to Baba Dogo Healthcare clinic in Nairobi, Kenya, because my wife is out working and I thought I should help her. 

I am here under the instruction of the doctors who say the child should be checked every month. Today he is being weighed.

I am lucky enough that since he was born he hasn’t been sick. I would attribute it to the good food he eats, as well as raising him well. 

We protect him from being bitten by mosquitoes and ensure his play area is clean. He loves running around and playing with his friends.

We normally cook for him pumpkin, bananas, porridge, greens and even milk. We have been taught good nutrition here at the clinic.

As an area resident, I have not found it hard to get medical attention from the clinic.

I would love to be taught how to bring up a child well, good nutrition, his behaviour when sick and playing with children among other things. Peter Mayienga

Most of the time you will find the mother is the one bringing the children. Men say they are busy. 

However, I would like to tell men that they need to work hand in hand with their partners. Bringing the child to the clinic is not a job for the mothers only.

If my child is sick, before giving him any medication I have to take him to the hospital. I would love to be taught first aid too.

I would also love to be taught how to bring up a child well, good nutrition, his behaviour when sick and playing with children among other things.

It would also be nice if doctors could make house visits – especially in the villages where we have to travel more than five miles to get medical attention as opposed to here where the dispensaries can be found everywhere.

Parent Naomi Wanjiku Kenya

Naomi attends the centre to get extra help with her baby Shaniz (Esther’s Day Care)

Naomi Wanjiki, mother of one

The reason why I bring my 10-month-old daughter Shaniz to the day care is because there is some learning and the she grows well and they take good care of her.

Because there are many kids in the day care my baby is able to learn and be more creative. 

I looked for other day cares before I brought Shaniz to Esther’s Day Care in Nairobi. I chose it because of cleanliness and the way caregivers handle the babies.

When I was pregnant I went to the clinic and we were taught how to breastfeed and take care of a baby. 

I am a businesswoman but when Shaniz is home in the evening I play with her. She has also some toys we play with.

There’s a big difference between a child who is brought to a day care and the one who stays with her mother. Shaniz can feed herself and also crawl and walk easily.

There is some training at the day care on how to share toys and also the importance of fruits to children. The babies eat good food, which is a balanced meal of fruits, vegetables and porridge which is important to a baby. 

I cannot leave her with a house help, who would be brought from a rural area and would be here because it’s a job. Hence she does not have proper training for the baby.

I pay one dollar per day at the day care for the meal and the care of the baby.

If the fee is increased, I will work hard to bring Shaniz because I am impressed with the services offered here.

Also in The Caregivers series

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