Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges: How Action Against Hunger’s Intervention Saved a Newborn’s Life


Sheila (name changed) gave birth to a baby boy at Sadrabadi Primary Health Centre (PHC). Both the mother and the child were healthy. Sheila was discharged from the hospital just three days after delivery. However, the child’s weight at birth was 2 kgs only. A fortnight after the discharge, Sheila’s breast milk abruptly stopped flowing. This is when Sheila sought treatment at Sadrabadi PHC, from where she was referred to the Dharni rural hospital. However, Sheila received no benefit from the treatment. Because of the lack of mother’s milk, the child’s weight began to fall, and his health began to deteriorate. During a field visit, one of the Anganwadi workers briefed the Community Mobiliser on Sheila’s condition.

Our CM visited Sheila and, after a critical analysis of her health, discovered a lump in her breast. This eventually helped understand the primary reason why Sheila’s breast wasn’t producing milk. In the meantime, she started feeding her baby bottled milk, which could have been more dangerous for the baby. The Community Mobiliser and Anganwadi workers counselled Sheila about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding until the baby was six months old. Sheila was also counselled on the potential harm to the baby if he was not breastfed.

Sheila’s mother-in-law was advised to massage Sheila’s back once a day. Our CM explained to Sheila and her mother-in-law that massaging the back causes milk to be produced in the breast. Sheila’s mother-in-law began to follow the process diligently. After five to six days Sheila was able to produce breast milk and gradually the lump disappears. Sheila was then able to breastfeed her child. The child’s health and weight eventually improved. The family was extremely happy with Action Against Hunger’s intervention and rigorous counselling that saved the child’s life.