Features

Infant Topography: Baby Body Mapping in Maphisa, Zimbabwe

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baby-body-map

Nomsa, her sixteen month old son Nathi and I met early one morning at the entrance to the open cast mine in Mafuyana, Southern Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. Nathi safely secured on her back, a shovel in one hand and a plastic bag with bread and water in the other, Nomsa hurried me along: “We must walk quickly, the earlier I start …

Features

Everyday violence, mobility and access to antenatal care

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I met Libby on a cold winter morning at the clinic. She was a short woman with a strong voice and slow walk. Libby was 35 years old and taken by surprise at being pregnant again. She had one child, a son who was already 17 and whose presence filled the two hour conversation as Libby returned to stories of …

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Bracketing time: nourishment beyond ‘the first thousand days’

This article is part of the series:

[1000 days]

of focus and intense care in order to ‘secure’ infants’ future health,

[6 months]

of exclusive breastfeeding.

These brackets of time demarcate periods of intense focus and intervention that aim at mitigating loss and securing potential. As Michelle Pentecost writes in the introduction to this series, this impetus draws on new research in epigenetics, neuroscience and DOHaD (Developmental …

Features

1000 Risks and Birth-and-Death in Cape Town

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“I was willing to die,” Terri told me, “I just didn’t want to have another caesarian.” She referred to her vaginal birth after three c-sections (a VBA3C), which took place at home, since no Cape Town hospital would allow her what is termed a trial of labour – an attempt at vaginal birth – for fear of uterine rupture. It …

Features

Technologies of Care: Administering Donated Breast Milk in a South African Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

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This is the third installment of the series from the University of Cape Town’s First Thousand Day Research Group. My research traces out the pathways of donated milk from donor to recipient in a state neonatal unit in South Africa (Waltz 2015), to show how care and technologies are interwoven in complex and sometimes surprising ways.

Breastfeeding is widely seen

Features

Critical interventions in birth in the first 1000 days

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Choice and the assigning of value in the practices and crafting of life-giving work

In healthy birthing initiatives described by, among others, the World Health Organization, emphasis has been placed on the importance of ‘the golden trio’: vaginal birth, breastfeeding and immediate skin to skin contact after birth. These three experiences are said to seed a baby’s immune system with …