By Habila Victor, Bauchi.
A popular cereal drink commonly called ‘Kunu’ has come to the aid of breastfeeding mothers in Bauchi State in the face of lingering hardship occasioned by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, which has adversely affected economies around the world, according to a report by Arewa Voice.
A measure of millet or sorghum (the primary material for the production of kunu) in Bauchi which sells for N350 can make about six to 10 litres of kunu drink, according to experts.
Lamenting the hike in food prices, breastfeeding mothers who spoke to Arewa Voice said that they mostly depend on Kunu drink for milk production for their newborn babies, as a result, inadequate food ration.
Kauna Ibrahim, a housewife in one of the suburban areas of Bauchi metropolis said her household eat only twice a day because her husband lost his job five months ago.
“You know, things are not easy anymore. Everything you touch in the market now is almost three times the amount it was sold a few months ago. For the past five months since my husband lost his job, we have been feeding twice a day. And as you can see, I am nursing a newborn baby so I drink a lot of Kunu to compensate for the shortage in my daily food ration. Babies don’t care to know whether there is food for the mother, they must eat.
“I don’t know what I would have done without this alternative. Thank God we harvested a lot of millet from our farm. Every week we prepare what will be enough to last me a month. I hope things get better but this is how I have been managing to keep myself and my young son alive,” she said.
Another mother, Rakiya Ahmed who also said she uses the drink to complement her meals for optimum breast milk production told our reporter than she learnt the skill from her mother before she moved to the city.
She noted: “If you have been here for long you’d know that Kunu is part of our life in the North. I learnt how to make Kunu when I was still growing up as a teenager in the village. We use Kunu to manage hunger and I drink it more so that my body will be able to produce enough breast milk for my baby. That’s what most nursing mothers here do when they are breastfeeding.”
Providing medical explanation on how Kunu drink stimulates breast milk, Dr Ahmed Abu, said even though there is no medical explanation yet on how Kunu drink stimulates the production of breast milk, he many nursing mothers in the north rely on the local nutrient to feed their families.
“For some mothers, production of breast milk for their babies to suck and grow can pose a big challenge. Kunu drink, especially in this part of the country, has helped a lot of mothers in the production of breast milk for their babies. Although the explanation for this is still vague, there is no argument that nursing mothers take a lot of it as a means of boosting milk production to breastfeed their babies,” he said.