By Ann Jimerson, Behavior Change Specialist, Alive & Thrive
As the clock ticks to mark the first hour of the baby’s life, a young mother raises her hand to contradict her mother-in-law, who wants to give the baby honey instead of breastmilk. It’s one of my favorite TV spots from Alive & Thrive’s (A&T) program in Bangladesh. Every time I view this TV spot, I feel a surge of emotion when the young mother firmly says, “No, give her to me. I have to breastfeed.”
This young mother surprised viewers by taking control of her baby’s first hour of life.
So it caught me off guard when a participant in the recent SUN Movement Global Gathering questioned the program planners’ decision to portray this young mother standing up to the authority of elders. “Why did you show the mother that way? It’s completely unrealistic. That would never happen,” the participant said.
Can interventions be delivered at scale to improve nutrition during a child’s critical first two years? That is the question we set out to answer more than six years ago. And now the evidence is in—rapid, large scale increases in infant and young child feeding practices are feasible.
Quick. I say “mass media campaign” and you name the “media” that come to mind: _____.
Not so long ago, you would likely have answered “TV and radio.” With “new media” abounding, broadcast TV and radio are now relegated to “traditional media.” But what about when technology—even electricity—lags. What does “mass media” mean then?
The U.S. news was abuzz last week about a new study showing that 40 percent of American mothers feed their babies solid foods way too early.
Whose fault is that?
Over half of those moms said their doctor had told them to. Continue reading
With Alive & Thrive’s mandate to change infant and child feeding practices at scale in Bangladesh, a country of 150 million, mass media is a must. But in a thriving marketplace, we’re in fierce competition for our audience’s attention. Continue reading
One item in the Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey’s (BDHS) preliminary report was surprising. For 15 years, rates of exclusive breastfeeding had remained steady, at about 43%. But in 2011, they detected a great leap upward to 64%. How do we explain this?
We can’t help but believe that a creative mass media campaign for better infant feeding played a role. Continue reading