Yerson is four months old, and lives with his parents in a one-room adobe house with a tin roof and dirt floor in Guatemala. His family lives on about three dollars per day.
Yerson’s mother cannot produce sufficient breast milk, and cannot afford formula as a substitute. She thought that her son looked plump, and that meant that he was healthy. Unfortunately, he is just plump because of the sugar water and corn porridge she is giving him, which provides none of the essential nutrients he needs to grow. As a result, Yerson is failing to meet normal growth markers and is far below the average height and the average weight for his age—he is still the size of a newborn even though he’s four months old.
At such a young age, proper nutrition is especially important. Lactation failure can lead to the child becoming starving, dehydrated, and provoke electrolyte imbalances that can cause seizures. Brain development occurring during this delicate time is compromised and the baby is at risk of long term damage.
Lactation failure, while dangerous, is easy to treat. By supplying the baby with formula and the mother with health education, Yerson will receive the calories he needs to grow and thrive. One-on-one education with Yerson’s mother will prepare her for when he needs to start eating solid food, as well as help her watch for further signs of malnutrition and other illness. Yerson’s immune system will strengthen and he will grow up to be a healthy and energetic baby.
“I dream that my son can grow big and study to become a professor,” Yerson’s mother shared.