Yesterday, I had the opportunity of attending a seminar on Successful Breastfeeding jointly organised by Pigeon Corporation as well as Thomson Medical Centre (TMC). I had stumbled on this seminar whilst browsing through the internet in search for a new breast pump. It was to be held at Hotel Intercontinental at Bugis, and included a buffet lunch spread apart from interesting sessions like common skin problems in babies and toddlers, how to breastfeed successfully, as well as using music and movement to engage babies. The cost of the seminar was $15, and I figured it made very good sense to attend (and to also purchase a breastpump, which I had decided on already (Pigeon brand), at (very probable) discounted prices.
Apart from the interesting topics included, why did I decide to attend this seminar? Without a doubt, the main reason is because I want to do breastfeeding right and better this time round. Breastfeeding will be something that I will very much like to do for quite a period of time for the coming child. Back two years ago, I made the exact resolution but my breastfeeding journey ended rather abruptly after 7 months after many many factors that went against me. Fatigue, ill health, breastfeeding problems and a poor initiation of breastfeeding to J hampered efforts to sustain it after 7 months. Everything just dried up despite trying means and ways to ‘revive’ it. It was an emotional time and this time, I am resolute and determined to get it sustained for as long as I can. This meant to invest in a good breast pump, to re-educate myself on the process once again, as well as to re-orientate myself gradually to the increasing time and energy demands of managing two children apart from tuition and housework. Gradual adaptation would be key and I believe that if other mothers are able to cope, God will provide me the strength to do so as well. I just got to trust Him and do what I need to.
As I entered the ballroom for the talk, perhaps it’s my hormones playing tricks on me once more, I found myself tearing non-stop. So much of past experiences and agony that had haunted me seemed to flood my memories. The mastitis, the difficulty in latching, the bleeding… aiyo! Had to consciously pull myself away from the emotions to focus objectively on the purpose of me attending the seminar.
The speaker for Successful Breastfeeding was Mrs Wong Boh Boi, senior lactation consultant at TMC. She is widely known as the Guru in this area and I’ve heard so many wonderful testimonials about her from friends but never got to hear personally from her. This was also a reason why I wanted so much to hear from the Guru herself on her take on breastfeeding.
These are some of my takeaways on her sharing on the breastfeeding journey:
1) colostrum is being produced between day 1 – 3 following delivery. This means that the body has NOT yet begun to produce any form of milk for the newborn. This is the period of time that the newborn needs colostrum in order to build up his immunity. Hearing these from Mrs Wong debunked my previous confinement nanny’s theory that ‘I could not produce any milk for my baby’. when he was a mere 2 days old.
2) Mature milk, which is produced from day 10 following delivery, comprises of fore milk (which quenches the baby’s thirst. This consists of 80% water) and hind milk. It’s interesting to note that hind milk is high in fat, which is good for the baby. The fat actually comes from the mother, thus helping her to rapidly regain her pre-pregnancy weight and figure. Wow, this is good news! 🙂
3) Establishing breastfeeding is not just due to physical factors but also due to psychological reasons. To top the list, a husband’s support is the most crucial in establishing a healthy breastfeeding routine. I’m thankful to my husband who had been supportive in my previous journey. Again, it was probably the lack of support from other parties (sadly, it was mainly my confinement lady) who led to discouragement and thus , lack of confidence and fear that I was trying to starve my crying J.
4) Breastmilk jaundice, which is fairly common in total breastfed babies, can potentially last up to 2 months. In order to treat this, the baby who might have high levels of jaundice, will need phototherapy treatment to bring the levels down. Treatment using the morning sun has limitations and the baby cannot be sunned for more than 20 minutes, lest he suffers from sun burn. J suffered from sunburns when he had breastfeeding jaundice. Poor him looked so tanned and charred as he was subjected to direct morning sun. 😦
Another way to treat breastfeeding jaundice would be to pause breastfeeding for 2 days (mother will have to pump out her milk to sustain the milk production) and be fed with formula so that the levels drop. After 2 days, the baby can resume breastfeeding.
5) Food: Some TCM herbs that suppress lactation include dang gui. There ought to be no wine put into food, unless it is being double-boiled. Wine suppresses lactation as well. Fresh sliced ginger is effective in removing wind from the body but fried ginger has no effect at all. Coffee can be taken in moderation. Hurray!!!
Abstain from any form of TCM herbs 10 days prior to delivery and 10 days post delivery.
6) Fenugreek tablets are good in encouraging milk production. Teas that encourage milk production may not be that good as it fulls the stomach from nutritious food.
7) To wean the baby from the breast, it is optimal to start the baby on the bottle gradually after 4 weeks. Prior to that, the baby needs to establish a good breastfeeding routine first. Allow the husband or a family member to introduce the bottle to the baby, not the mother. This is such that the baby associates the bottle with the husband or family members and not the mother.
Mrs Wong also shared about the effects of music and movement on the baby and here are my takeaways:
1) Music may be played periodically, not 24/7, in order not to overstimulate the baby. This may end up frustrating the baby because his brain has too much information to process.
2) Babies actually prefer his parent’s voices to any one elses.
3) If music is to be given to the baby, give simple, uncomplicated music (classical is best, eg Mozart). This is such that his brain is able to interpret it and not be a form of noise pollution. 30 minutes a day is good enough.
4) Music, when listened to appropriately, has a calming effect.
I took home so much learning yesterday that I just had to get them all down into this blog in order to digest what I’ve learnt. I’m sure there will be more learning along the way when the baby comes. 🙂