Sunday, 7 January 2007

We attended our first antenatal class yesterday afternoon at Pantai Medical Centre. No prizes for guessing what the topic was.

The speaker was a wonderfully candid and down to earth staff midwife, Sister Elizabeth. She's the one whom all of us will be meeting in the maternity wards once we give birth, and the sort who puts you completely at ease because she's so assuring and steady in her demeanor. You could tell immediately that she loves her work by the way she passionately explains why she believes so strongly in certain things--like being part of the group that is championing 3-month maternity leave for all mothers, and exhorting the benefits of breastfeeding.

Which brings me to the central point of this post. Han and I have decided that as far as possible, we will commit to Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) for the first 6 months of Brandon's life. That means no milk formula, no water, nothing else--every kind of nutrition and antibody a baby needs can be found in breastmilk. It's especially important in the first 3 days just after birth because the mother's body produces colostrum, which helps to line the baby's delicate gastrointestinal tract.

Apparently lots of mothers get discouraged and give up breastfeeding because they find that their babies cry again to be fed just 5 to 10 minutes after their feed. The mothers could feel like failures, as if they're not able to provide enough for their babies. Now, the interesting thing we were told is that there are two types of milk that is produced. When the baby first latches on for his feed, he gets the foremilk which consists of 90% water and the rest being minerals. After that the mother's body gives him the hindmilk, which supplies among other things, fat--the thing that keeps him feeling satiated. If he isn't allowed to suckle long enough, he doesn't get to the tummy-filling hindmilk, leaving him feeling hungry again.

I suppose it's a common problem in the fast-paced society we live in, where we are guilty of expecting most things to happen instantly. To me, this is a nice reminder that we need to slow down a little to get things done right. So I'm going to enjoy the experience for as long as I can. Once I need to get back to work, we'll have to find a way to store breastmilk for him and feed him from a cup in the daytime, in order to avoid something called 'nipple confusion' (Sister Elizabeth was very insistent that artificial teats and pacifiers are bad for the baby). Continuing with nightly breastfeeding will take some effort on the part of the parents, but it does help maintain the bonding process with baby.

Aaanyway. Now that I've told you all this, it would be great if you could hold us to our word and encourage us to stick to this breastfeeding commitment should you ever find either of us getting disheartened. Unless there's something medically wrong with either myself or Brandon, there really isn't any valid reason to deny him something that is naturally good for him. Many thanks in advance. 🙂


#1Gravatar imageErna says:

Well here’s a little something to ‘guilt’ you into breastfeeding. If I do wind up getting married with kids someday, I’d want to breastfeed.

But I can’t.

Being a (so far healthy) Hepatitis B carrier, breastfeeding isn’t an option. And it makes me kind of sad thinking that my baby will be denied something good for him because of a blood transfusion my mother had after losing too much blood when having my brother. No one screened blood for Hep B in the 80s, only in the 90s did it start.

So think of it as a precious privilege that you shouldn’t give up. Plus it’ll help with the baby weight. 😉

#2Gravatar imagesooaun says:

hey, good on you guys! my cousin just delivered her first in dec and it seems she was given coconut water 1 month before due date so as to have ample supply of milk for baby… i dont know how true that is but you may want to check it out… most of these ‘old wive’s tales’ have a truth in them, but not the superstitious ones la… 😀

#3Gravatar imagemiaow! says:

i’ve heard and seen my gf’s go thru the same thing… coconut water apparently helps… but, as is with all things, one woman’s meat IS another man’s poison 😉

so do see what works for you… consult a nutritionist if need be. it’s always best. but you would also need to eat super super healthy and drink loads of water too babes…

a friend of mine seemed to cease breastfeeding after 3mths. she wasn’t producing enough milk, but then again, i think her diet prior to conception played a major part too… us youngun’s dont seem to eat right, so i’m told..

can’t wait to greet the lil one!

#4Gravatar imagemiaow! says:

hmmm some bits of my comment got omitted, hmmmm hrmph

anyways, meant to say take heart, take care of yourself too dear.. cater to your needs. it’s important for you as much as it is for your babe…

heheh hugz babe

#5Gravatar imageVanessa says:

Hey! How’re you? How’s baby Brandon doing? Is he due in April? I haven’t heard from you in ages! And I’m really interested in finding out how my beautiful nephew is doing 😀 heh I’m actually in school now but do let me know everything is. Love ya!

#6Gravatar imageNor Kamariah says:

I came across the comment made by Erna saying that she can’t breastfeed due to Hepatitis B. I’d like to inform that it is not the case.

Research findings suggest strongly that any risk of transmission associated with breast milk is small compared to the high risk of exposure to maternal blood and body fluids at birth. And due to the breastfeeding benefits outweigh the potential risk of ransmitting the virus through breast milk, all women with hepatitis B are encouraged to breastfeed their babies.

However, all mothers who breastfeed should take good care of their nipples to avoid cracking and bleeding as it may results in expose the infant to infectious levels of HBV.

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