Last month (August), as Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence, over 200 mothers celebrated World Breastfeeding Month by gathering at one place to breastfeed their children at the same time. This record setting event is organized by Thomson Medical in partnership with several family-friendly brands Phillips Avent, Spring Maternity, Passion Card, NTUC Ufamily and HeyBaby SG to break the current Singapore Book of Records for the largest ever breastfeeding event in Singapore.
Even our Jubilee babies attended the event to help break the national record of the most mothers breastfeeding at the same time.
Besides setting a breaking record of 154 mothers breastfeeding at the same time with the Singapore Book of Records, renowned lactation expert Mrs Wong Boh Boi, Senior ParentCraft Educator of Thomson Medical Centre was also present to share insights on breastfeeding to encourage mothers to breastfeed.
“Breastfeeding is extremely beneficial for both mothers and their babies. Such benefits include providing optimum nutrition, improves immunity and protects against allergies for your baby, and promote mother-child bonding. Mothers also benefit as breastfeeding helps promote the shrinkage of the uterus to its original size, and also decreases the risk of breast cancer”, says Mrs Wong.
According to Health Promotion Board’s National Breastfeeding Survey 2011, most mothers in Singapore would initiate breastfeeding after birth. However, only 30 per cent would continue to do so exclusively for at least two months. These figures were low when compared to other developed countries such as South Korea, where at least 50 per cent of mothers continued to breastfeed exclusively for at least two months!
Breastfeed was one of the hardest task I had to undertake as a new mom. But I am glad that I persisted and I thoroughly enjoyed the experiences of breastfeeding both my children. For my firstborn, I only breastfed him for 5 months as I experienced low milk supply. I learnt much later that I was not drinking enough water to encourage the flow. For my second child, I made sure I drank copious amounts of water daily. As a result of that and ensuring that I was in a relax state, I had ample to overflowing supply of milk during my second trial at breastfeeding my daughter. I was also able to breastfeed her for 11 months till she decided to wean herself off.
Some of the common breastfeeding challenges faced by new mothers who may be turned off breastfeeding are:
- sore nipples
- low milk supply
- plugged ducts
- breast infection (mastitis)
- Fungal infections
- difficulty latching on
While the above challenges can easily be solved, my biggest hurdle came from well-intentioned naysayers who, worried that the baby is not getting “proper nourishments”, kept pushing for me to give up on breastfeeding. Unwittingly, they caused me great stress and anxiety, which distracted me from having a proper milk flow.
My advice to new mothers who want to breastfeed is to trust your intuition and get help from your lactation nurse, parentcraft educators, even other mothers who had the experiences of breastfeeding. You will be surprised by how strong and nurturing the breastfeeding community is to help “one of their own.”
And if for whatever reasons (eg. work commitment or health issues), breastfeeding did not work for you and your newborn, don’t sweat it. You can still bond with your formula-fed baby in plenty of ways that a breastfeeding mom can. The key is to enjoy your newborn baby. Everything else will fall into its rightful place.