Author: Po River Medical Clinic

When Breastfeeding Not An Option


I think the world agrees, breast(milk) is best.  Women were created with the ability to provide nourishment for their infants. But what happens when the mother can’t feed her infant?  What if she’s sick or physically unable to produce breastmilk or, God forbid, she dies just after the baby is born?  Formula is the obvious solution but not readily available or affordable in low-resource settings like Liberia.  Infants born in Liberia to mothers who cannot breastfeed often do not survive their first year.

Marthaline is one such mother.  She came to the clinic with her 3-month old, and a bottle.  Knowing that infant formula is not sold in our county, and is very expensive in Monrovia, we asked her what she was feeding the baby.  She’d been fixing powdered milk with Lipton tea and using that since the baby was born.  Her son was not only sick, but underweight as he’s not getting nearly enough calories or other nutrients he needs on a daily basis.  We explained the importance of using infant formula for the baby- but what is Marthaline supposed to do?  She can’t afford the formula, much less travel 8 hours to Monrovia every time she needs it.

We reached out to one of our partners, Last Mile Health, which happened to have a few cans of formula on hand to get Marthaline supplied for the next month.  Thanks to our donors, the clinic is happy to be able to come alongside this mother and her son to provide the rest of his formula for the next year.