Philips Avent invited us to share our Breastfeeding journey

Daddy has blog about his breastfeeding journey before. Couples understand the benefits of breast milk for baby, although the husbands do not secrete milk, they can help the Mrs in other areas.

Last Sat, Daddy was invited by Philips Avent to share his thoughts on breastfeeding. We wish to encourage more husbands to support the Mrs to nurse longer.

To quote from Philips Avent:
Philips AVENT has come to notice in recent times that there has been greater emphasis on the father figure in each family, especially in today’s modern society. Unfortunately, modern mums often face challenges when it comes to providing what’s best for their child – breast milk. This August, a month dedicated to breastfeeding awareness and advocacy, Philips AVENT is exploring ways to amplify the important role dads play in helping to ensure a healthy start for our babies, as well as to educate them on ways they can actually do so.

You can imagine the awkwardness, facing a crowd of parents, talking about breastfeeding.
It is not a natural topic for Daddy, fortunately we have Kelvin from Cheekiemonkies to face the audience together. Read his insights here.

Taking a glance around the hall, we are glad more dads are getting involved. They are hungry for more knowledge, and eager to provide support for Mrs to sustain their breastfeeding routines.

We know guys normally scream for help only at their wits’ end. The team from Philips also shared with us how guys are increasingly active when it comes to breastfeeding Q&A.

That could be the reason why two Daddy bloggers are in the breastfeeding panel 🙂
Fellow panel members Dr Yong, Betty, Angeline and Valerie share their expertise and experience (be it science, techniques and tips) with the expectant parents.

(image credit Philips Avent)

Ms Betty Lee (Lactation Consultant) show us in a few slides how the baby suckles by latching onto the areola. The guys uninitiated might believe the milk comes direct from the nipples, which is not true.

We learn that every female has the ability to produce Enough milk for their babies, and an ample bosom does not mean more milk availability. Look at image below, it is all about “Demand and Supply“.

Bad latching will cause nipple soreness, which might become painful enough to discourage a nursing mum from carrying on. Another common symptom would be breast engorgement, which can happen when the wife miss a nursing session. The breasts would be swollen, hard and painful. We remember Mummy using cabbage leaf to try and ease the swelling.

(Image credit Betty Lee)

Ms Angeline Wee (BMSG‘s Breast feeding counselor) is an advocate for 100% breastfeeding. Daddy notice more public events (like this and this) to raise the awareness of breast milk’s benefits, and to encourage mums to nurse their child for a longer period.

Peer influence is the best way for mums to motivate each other.

It is perfectly ok to nurse in public, as long as the mums are discreet. Some people might be uncomfortable because they are not used to the sight (少见多怪).
Hello, the boobs are not even exposed !

Angeline encourage nursing Mums to stay away from negative sentiments, that is, those Mummies who keep saying “do not bother”, “very painful experience”, “always no milk” etc.

A nursing Mum needs more positive encouragement.

(Image credit Angeline BFSG)

Dr Yong (Senior Consultant, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, SGH) wants more “skin to skin” between Mums and Babies. It is soothing for baby to feel Mummy’s heartbeat, a familiar sense of comfort and security. She highlighted that in some countries’ hospitals, there is no baby nursery. Babies are always side by side with the Mum. Nursing is a natural way for Mums to bond with their baby. “Skin to skin” brings comfort to both Baby and Mum, and Dads are welcome to trial too.

Valerie (nursing mum) shared the challenges of expressing in office. We have all hear stories of mums nursing in server room or even toilets. Not every company has the luxury of a dedicated nursing room.
With work, stress follows, and sometimes Mums will feel disappointed about the sudden drop of milk.

(image credit Philips Avent)

After a child’s birth, anxiety fills a Mum’s thoughts :
– Can we handle the child?
– Are we doing the correct thing?
– Is everything ok?
– Is baby having enough milk?
– The Whys, the Hows, and the Ifs

The last thing a Mum need is more doubts about her ability to Nurse.
All the panel experts have a few common points :

– Demand and supply, Mums will always produce more milk to cater to the baby’s intake
– First time Mums worry about the lack of milk. But in the first few days, only colostrum is available. A spoonful is enough for the baby
– the baby’s stomach is only the size of a marble after birth. It is natural for it’s weight to drop after birth and recover later with milk intake
– A husband’s support is absolutely important for the Mum to continue nursing

– confinement ladies might request the Mums to sleep through the night, but our experts recommend to carry on nursing whenever the baby requires. (additional night feeding tips)

– The last thing we can do is to “recommend” the Mrs to supplement baby with formula! Although the intention might be to let the Mrs relax, or to ensure baby has enough milk, it is absolutely not OK to the Mrs. She will feel guilty about not giving enough and might be discouraged to carry on nursing.

How can Dads help?

– Work out a schedule with the Mrs, so that Daddy can help nurse the baby (bottle) when Mummy is resting. This allow the Mrs to rest for a longer stretch
– Burp the baby after every feed
– help to sterilise and wash the milk bottles and breast pump
– Running household errands, Mrs just need to relax
– Clamps can be common, massage the Mrs’ calves
– for families with multiple kids asking “Why baby always need milk!“, Dads can try to sooth their jealousies
– this is the best time for Dads to nurture a stronger family bond, be it with spouse or with children

– invest in a good pump (battery) for the Mrs, so she can spend less time expressing milk

** Identify when we can be helpful. As the Mrs’ body is undergoing hormonal swings, the husband’s help might not be appreciated at times. If necessary, take a step back and pop by later to help 🙂

What is Daddy’s take home message?

We guys tend to assume that the Mrs will instinctively know what to do. Please remember she is also a First time Mum. When it comes to nurturing the baby, it is a learning journey for both Husband and Wife.

– Daddy encourages more Husbands to encourage the Mrs to nurse, read here.
– Click on BMSG (Breast Feeding Support Group) for all your breastfeeding queries