The recently over World Breastfeeding Week had me thinking... Is it really that difficult for a Mother to breasfeed
her child? If not, why are so many Mothers out there not doing it?
To me, breastfeeding has been a journey well endured... If you ask me now, yes... breastfeeding is Great, Simple, Hassle-free, Healthy, Convenient, Money-saving, Time-saving... there won't be enough space to list down all the positive remarks.
However, looking back at it from now... I've been breastfeeding Arthur for almost 14 months now and all I can say is... to me... a Malaysian Chinese... as may be the case to many of the same race and nationality... breastfeeding requires a lot of determination.
To begin with, I do not have many around me who knows the art of breastfeeding. Admist the many negative remarks about it, I hang on... I... a book lover... a person who likes to research and gather information on everything she's doing... decided to believe in what I have been reading rather than in what I was told.
From the moment Arthur was born... nurses around me encouraged BF... Doctors, too... however, most of the time, it just seems like they are just doing their duty as healthcare providers to encourage it but not to the extent that they understand its implications and the importance of it.
Because of my lack of information and confidence at the time Arthur was born, I failed to provide him with exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months eventhough that was my initial desire... Doctors and nurses who advised me to feed him water as the weather is hot... relatives whose concern is that my baby will bond with me too much (why? people, why is anyone ever afraid of bonding with their baby???)... relatives who believe in all sorts of other supplements which are supposedly good and NECESSARY for babies... a Mother-in-law who keeps telling me that breastmilk is not good as formula... at birth... when Arthur is 1 month old... when Arthur is 3 months old... non-stop... every now and then...
As though having family and relatives who are discouraging is not enough, Arthur's got breastmilk jaundice... a condition which is not serious (which I didn't know until much later and thus, was worried sick most of the first month)... we were frequenting the Hospital and clinics for blood test and to see them draw blood from my poor baby... well, you can imagine. However... somehow, I am thankful for these hospital visits as if not for that, I would have stopped breastfeeding even before Arthur turns 1 month... everyone else was trying to 'scared' me out of it expecially when Arthur has got jaundice that never seem to fade... yes... it was due to breastmilk and no... it is not harmful, as to what many thought...
So, yes, in a way, I was thankful that Arthur has got breastmilk jaundice as that was how I met Dr Amy from HUKM clinic. It was she who encouraged and gave me the confidence to continue breastfeeding. It was she who gave me the courage to be determined and make breastfeeding work for us... It was Dr Amy who taught me to plan for expressing my milk and storing it for when I return to work... I cannot seem to thank this doctor enough for the encouragement and patience in her explanation... we need more doctors like her.
As oppose to some other doctors I met along the way... not that they are not professional in their occupation... just that they do not seem to put breastfeeding as a priorty in their practice... those who advised me to feed my baby water... those who advised me to drink milk in order to produce milk... and a comment from a children specialist that I would never forget... Arthur was down with fever and I brought him to visit this private children specialist... as a routine, he asked of the type of milk Arthur's on and my answer was I'm breastfeeding... to this, unlike so many others who seemed amazed at a Chinese who's breastfeeding her child... this doctor's answer was ... sadly... "wow! If you can breastfeed your baby until now (Arthur was 4 months old)... your whole family won't be needing to buy any milk powder"
Anyway, the point is... I am breastfeeding 'til this day and when I think of people around me... friends... family... who gave breastfeeding a miss... who gave up breastfeeding when baby's less than a month's old... due to pressures from people around them... it is a loss to everyone... the Mother and the child especially.
To people who knows someone who's breastfeeding or is trying to breastfeed, PLEASE... if you cannot give a word of encouragement, just keep quiet.
As I definitely know more about breastfeeding now... I am nore determined to make it work when my next baby arrives... whatever they try to tell me... I'll be the one who insist that my baby gets breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months