In honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, HKI's Jennifer Nielsen talks about her work promoting exclusive breastfeeding.
This post was written by Jennifer Nielsen.
My job as HKI’s Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health is, in some ways, not unlike that of advertising executive. I sell a product. In my case, the product is not fancy shoes or designer jeans, but healthy nutrition practices. Getting people to change their behaviors, even when it will improve their health, is not always easy (think of all the anti-smoking campaigns you have seen and how many people still smoke).
One of HKI’s key nutrition goals is to persuade mothers to feed their infants nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months of life, or as we like to say in the trade, to “exclusively breastfeed.” There are often cultural beliefs and traditions that prevent mothers from adopting this healthy practice, and it is my job to overcome these barriers and convince new moms that breast is truly best.
This post was written by Jennifer Nielsen, HKI’s Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health. It is part of a series of blogs organized by The Huffington Post and the NGO alliance InterAction to call attention to the crisis in the Sahel, a region in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 18 million people face starvation and 1.1 million children under the age of 5 are at risk of dying from acute malnutrition.
Although my e-mail is flooded with messages detailing the political, economic and climactic forces precipitating a hunger crisis in the Sahel, the story is strikingly absent from the news reaching most Americans. But because my work in the region has helped me see these vulnerable families as if they were my own, I am anguished by the situation.