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Monday, 19 October 2015

Ministry Of Health Malaysia - Exclusive Breastfeeding Awareness 2015


I am a breastfeeding mom. I sometimes can't believe I am one as I was so close to calling it quits in the early days. Today, I have been exclusively breastfeeding BabyLim for almost nine months and I hope to continue till BabyLim is one. Breastfeeding is now second nature to me and I am able to nurse anywhere and whenever BabyLim demands it. A far cry from what it was months ago.

I find breastfeeding very empowering. To know that my body is producing the best for my baby to grow and develop well makes me feel so blessed I am able to breastfeed. I absolutely love breastfeeding mainly because it helps me bond with BabyLim. Breastfeeding through physical contact has helped me find a connection between me and BabyLim. It is this connection that is vital for BabyLim's emotional development which carries through to her mental and physical development. Through breastfeeding, I'm able to show my baby who doesn't understand words that I love her strongly and fiercely.

I would definitely encourage my soon-to-be-mom friends and anyone out there to go on this breastfeeding journey with me and to try to exclusively breastfeed at least for the first 6 months. Besides the bonding aspect, breastfeeding has many health benefits. It is during the first 6 months when babies get the most from breastmilk. Studies have shown that the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding babies in the first 6 months extend far later on in life as well. Here are some of the benefits breastfeeding provides.


Benefits of breastfeeding for baby:

1. Superfood for Baby
Breastfeeding provides baby with the perfect combination of nutrients and vitamins. Breastmilk unlike infant formula is also able to morph to meet baby's changing needs so that they will not lack anything as they grow. The best part is that it's completely free and always available. 

2. Health Benefits
Babies are super fragile and very susceptible to bacteria, germs and viruses and this is where breastmilk gives its most advantage as it's full of antibodies. Breastfed babies are protected against certain illnesses as breastmilk contain antibodies that are passed from mommy to baby. As a result babies are less prone to diarrhoea, respiratory sicknesses and may be less likely to develop certain allergies later in life. It is also said that breastmilk helps lower the risks of chronic diseases in children later on in life as well such as Type 1 Diabetes.

I do notice that BabyLim has a higher tolerance to sickness and has not fallen sick even when Hubbycat and I have succumbed to the flu. I am comforted with knowing that I am providing BabyLim with an early head start to better health. Think healthy baby happy mommy.

3. Brain Development 
Another thing we noticed is that BabyLim picks things up very quickly and learns easily. I definitely believe that it is from the breastmilk that has helped BabyLim in this area of development. Research shows that breastmilk contain higher fatty acids as well as certain nutrients that are important for brain development. Being an Asian Kiasu mom (haha!) smart babies are always aimed for! It is reported that breastfed babies score higher in IQ tests as well.



When we think about breastfeeding, we always think about how it's beneficial to the baby. But breastfeeding is actually also very beneficial to mom as well.

Benefits of breastfeeding for mom include:

1. Health Benefits
The main health benefit being that breastfeeding moms have a lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. It is also said that breastfeeding gives moms better mental health and lessens the risk of developing postpartum depression. During breastfeeding hormones such as oxytocin and prolactin are present which aids in this area.

2. Burn Calories
Breastfeeding also helps moms go back to pre-pregnancy shape faster as breastfeeding burns up to 600 calories a day! That's 600 calories of sitting there cuddling your little beautiful bundle of joy. Score!

3. Convenience
I love breastfeeding because it's so convenient. I no longer have to worry about sterilising bottles or lugging around big bags full of hot water, infant formula powder and extra bottles. I used to be so worried about breastfeeding in public but now with a good cover, I can do it ever so discreetly and easily.

4. Healthier Lifestyle
I find that breastfeeding leads to a healthier lifestyle. I am now more watchful of what I eat as this goes to BabyLim as well. I try to stay away from unhealthy food and to force myself to drink plenty of water. I also try to avoid taking medication unnecessarily and to limit my alcohol and caffeine consumption. I also avoid stress as this does affect breast milk production.


A word of advice : get support. It definitely helps to get hubby on board. As I mentioned that breastfeeding can be difficult and sometimes quite discouraging especially the first few days. It is during these times when you need that extra push and encouragement. I'm so thankful Hubbycat was so supportive and encouraging when I was about to give up. It helped that he was with me during the night feeds and helping me with the breastfeeding cover when we're out in public. It is also very helpful to find support in other moms who are on the same journey with you so that you can keep encouraging each other. 

I'm glad that Malaysia is taking steps to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed. I do notice Malaysians being more welcoming and considerate towards breastfeeding moms and more new moms are starting to be more open towards it. From hospitals being pro-breastfeeding to public areas such as malls providing more appropriate breastfeeding areas for moms, I'm glad it is getting  easier for moms to choose to breastfeed. More than that, I'm encouraged that the government is also taking steps to help moms out there who want to breastfeed by providing them with the necessary information. So if you're a soon-to-be mom who is thinking about embarking on your own breastfeeding journey and don't know where to start, check out www.infosihat.gov.my for information.  

I'm a breastfeeding mom. You can be one too! The first step is to try :) After all don't we want to give our babies and ourselves a better chance of a healthier life? That being said whether you breastfeed or formula feed the important thing is to choose one that best suits you and baby.

-Ally

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