Ka Poli `Ai
Ka Poli `Ai is Waimānalo Health Center’s breastfeeding support program. It’s a community for moms, soon-to-be moms, and people interested in keiki nutrition through waiū – “mother’s milk” in Hawaiian. Ka Poli `Ai translates to “the breast food” in Hawaiian.
Breastfeeding is a part of Native Hawaiian culture. Mary Kawena Pukui writes in her book, Hawaiian beliefs and customs during birth, infancy, and childhood, published in 1942, that Hawaiian customs and beliefs encouraged pregnant women to eat healthy, natural foods, as it affected the health of the child.
From the fourth month of pregnancy (hapai), diet was regulated. No bitter foods were eaten; no hot things, such as chili pepper (nioi`ai); and no pupu`awa (a shell fish of the genus Thais) because of the tartness of the gall. Too much salty food was not allowed, and only a little raw fish. The woman was encouraged to eat as much as she could of greens such as popolo, lu`au, palula, or `aheahea and mild herb medicines like ko`oko`olau and akiohala blossoms. These and other herbs were eaten “I pa`a ke kino o ke keiki I ka la`au” (that the herbs build up the body of the child) (Pukui, 1942, p. 358).
Ka Poli `Ai provides a culturally balanced approach to new born care and nuturtion. Ka Poli `Ai is free to all Waimānalo Health Center patients and community members, and takes place at the health center at 10am on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month. Call Valerie or WHC’s WIC office for more information at 954-7152 or 259-7940.
Image from UNICEF's Baby Friendly Initiative
Ad in May 31, 2017 MidWeek Windward Oahu Voice