So someone decides to bestow upon me a saintly advice...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

After getting back to work a week or so, Baby Dylan and I are still trying to get used to this new cycle. Recently, Dylan has been worrying me quite a bit because he was distinctly different when we are sending him to the infant care.

I'm not sure he's feeling gloomy because he picked up hints of reluctance from my end, or he prefers to stay at home. Usually, he's a very chirpy boy at home. He plays with himself, talks to our photo on the wall, flash us his gummy smile whenever we call out to him etc.

But when he goes to the infant care, he becomes really quiet and sullen. He just lies there, giving people a distant look and barely smiles at anyone anymore. He used to be super amused with the crying kids there! Then ever since we started him on a full day care, teachers have been giving me feedback that he has been rejecting milk.

I remembered one of the days, he had his last feed at 2pm and subsequently rejected all feeds, until I pick him up at 7.20pm. He didn't cry for milk, he just went on this silent hunger strike of some sort and wouldn't drink anything until I latched him on.

I could go on and on about how I'd rather stay at home and take care of him, sending him only for a half day care so that he gets to mingle and be used to the crowd (he still isn't a fan of noises), but that's story for another day.

Today's story was about this lady who bestowed upon me some saintly bullcrap advice.

So, I spoke to one of these ladies I know as a group when they asked me how was it like coming back to work after a 16-week hiatus. I told them that Dylan hasn't been drinking milk well and he has started to dislike formula milk, choosing to drink only breastmilk.

I then heard the most incredulous advice ever: "You shouldn't give Dylan breastmilk for too long, it is not good for the both of you."

Simi sai, first time I heard of something like this.

I shall take this chance to share with you mummies (or mummies-to-be) something I read from Successful Breastfeeding. This book is written by Alvernia Parentcraft Centre Manager and Senior Lactation Consultant, so I guess it can be quite a good insight to breast feeding.

Why breastmilk is better - and why this lady thinks this way

Breastfeeding has always been practiced way back in the past. Before milk powder even became an option, mothers rely on their boobs to feed their young. Mothers who are unable to breastfeed will either engage a nanny (奶妈), who as literal as its name - is to provide their breastmilk for the child.

Citizens in rural countries who don't have the monetary means to buy milk powder also relies on their breastmilk to feed their young. In short, regardless of who you are and where you come from, breastmilk is the best for your child because it not only provide your child the immunity he/she needs, it also provides all the nutrients, water... everything.

I believe this auntie is thinking this way because back in the 80s (when I was born), there were aggressive campaigns to push for mothers to use formula milk instead of breastfeeding. At that point of time, many ladies were coming out to the working society and therefore couldn't afford to spend time breastfeeding their children while at work.

Companies selling formula milk then leveraged on this and campaigned very hard. The advertisements were always portraying successful ladies, who were also mothers, wearing power suits and feeding their babies with formula milk. They associate breastmilk to SAHM and housewives while formula milk to success, freedom and independence. Besides, they always say that those formula milk are a perfect replacement to breastmilk.

Something I found online - basically, it says that the milk is good cuz it's safe, nourishing, contains extra Vitamin D to help babies to develop teeth and straight sturdy bones. (1970)

Many women were sold - even my own mom. I asked her before why I was a formula-milk baby. Why she didn't breastfeed me. And her answer was the typical "I had to work, how to feed you?" I don't blame her for that, but it just goes to show how successful that campaign was - and probably why the lady who gave me the advice thought likewise.

"Your breastmilk is bad for Dylan if you anyhow eat."

This was her next statement. My question is - what is anyhow eat? Anything in excess is bad, don't you think so?

I try to eat a variety of food - spicy, non-spicy, dairy products, vegetables, meat, poultry.. everything and anything so that Dylan gets to taste different 'flavours' of milk. This actually prepares him to be a less fussy eater when he starts on his solid food (as per what I read from the book, not sure if it works but I'll definitely keep this in mind!).

Btw, do you know that babies (especially breastfed ones) don't need to be given water for their first 6 months? I do know of older generation aunties telling me to give Dylan water so that he can learn how to drink. The thing is, they don't need water, which is why they don't drink it.

Giving a baby younger than 6 months old too much water can interfere with his body's ability to absorb the nutrients in breast milk or formula. It can also cause his tummy to feel full, which curbs his desire to feed. (source)

And one more that hits home, "Aiyooo you dunno what is paiseh ah? To breastfeed in public?"

I think this one really hit a raw nerve. What is it so embarrassing? I am feeding my baby. It's not like my husband is suckling on my boobs right?

‘Respectable’ news magazines often print photographs of women with semi-covered breasts. If these usually sexualised images of women are tolerated, why do pictures of breastfeeding women provoke such disgust? Given that the World Health Organisation and many governments advise mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of life, it seems strange that breastfeeding women should be regarded as a kind of social embarrassment. (source)

Besides, there is this thing called the nursing cover.

There is absolutely nothing shameful about feeding your child in public. People who feel offended by what you're doing is probably staring at the wrong thing for too long.

I feed Dylan everywhere and anywhere - sometimes in the supermarket where I shop halfway, sometimes in a restuarant while Nian and I are having dinner. Sometimes on the train and sometimes on the bus. I give people a "see-what-see" stare when they look at me as though I was doing something shameful.

I'll share with you guys more annoying, mindless things I've heard over these few months. But honestly, I wish these people can keep their (wrong) comments to themselves!

Have you received any of these annoying comments/advices yourself?

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  1. u go gal! i breastfed both my babies/expressed milk at work all the way till they're 14 months old. all of this is irreplaceable with synthetic stuff in a tin. it's worth all the effort. jia you!

  2. oh dear.. just ignore those comments! its so silly! :)


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