My Mom's Best
Pregnancy, Parenting & Breastfeeding website with a heart

Jul 11

No magic formula

One of the most frequently asked questions about breastfeeding is whether there is any magical pill that one can pop and voila – milk will flow like coffee from a vending machine. I have searched every resource, including browsing through every breastfeeding-related book at bookstores, but have not found an answer.

New mothers may feel that their milk supply is inadequate, and refrain from persevering with breastfeeding after a few days’ trial for fear of starving their babies. It takes weeks to establish a routine and unless a mother has ample support, she may resort to the easy way out by allowing formula to take over.

I was so earnest about getting enough milk to feed my premature baby that I pursued every makcik, Indian lady and my Chinese breastfeeding counsellor for some magic potion.

I spent hours looking through the Internet (which proved to be an invaluable source) and finally concocted many recipes which did increase the supply of milk. At one point I had 5 litres of expressed milk in my freezer stored in more than 30 milk bottles and other containers. I guess it does no harm to try the following suggestions:

·Consume lots of oats, whether in its gluey, boring form like those served in hospitals wards, or in the form of biscuits and oats bars.

·Help yourself to lots of nutritious soups, herbal brews normally prepared for confinement mothers, milk and other healthy drinks. I read that milk glands work almost the same way as our sweat glands. Thus taking a hot drink before feeding makes you sweat and also helps with the milk flow.

I learnt from the Internet that fenugreek or biji halba (small, brownish seeds) can increase milk supply. This is a spice commonly used in fish curries. Fenugreek is available in capsule form in Western countries for the treatment of several ailments. I also found organically grown fenugreek from Australia in bigger supermarkets; these are meant to be brewed as tea.

I used fenugreek in my soups and even resorted to swallowing a teaspoon of it when I was too lazy to cook. Do go slow on the quantity you consume because it may cause stomach upsets. An Indian lady who sells spices at the wet market told me that it is consumed to warm the body.

An Indian staff nurse told me that the Indians like to eat baby sharks (ikan yu) during confinement.

·Eat lots of fish, especially the white variety like kurau, senangin (threadfin), garoupa and white pomfret, and cod or salmon if your budget permits.

I would like to share this amusing episode related to the consumption of salted fish. My breastfeeding counsellor told me that her Malay neighbour who has plenty of milk recommended drinking salted fish bone soup cooked with tofu.

As this is one of my favourite soups, I made a big pot of it and drank bowls of it in one sitting. I was so ecstatic when my milk quantity increased by more than 100% a few hours after I drank it. I could express 270ml of milk in 20 minutes. But guess where my milk ended up? Down the drain! The milk that I produced tasted like cod liver oil and even my preemie who was less than three months old (he had a gestation age of 38 weeks) could discern the taste and rejected it! So what you eat does affect the quality and taste of your milk.

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Jun 29

“Tujuan kumpulan MyMomsBest ditubuhkan adalah untuk menggalakkan penyusuan ibu dan juga memberi panduan dan tunjuk ajar kepada ibu lain mengenai hal penjagaan yang betul terhadap bayi dan anak. Ada sesetengah ibu muda tidak begitu arif atau faham cara yang betul memerah susu ibu malah memastikan bayi mereka selesa ketika menyusu. Jadi memandangkan ahli MyMomsBest sangat dedikasi dan komited menyusukan bayi dengan susu sendiri, kami berasa terpanggil untuk berkongsi pengetahuan dengan ibu bapa lain. Lagipun susu ibu adalah yang terbaik.

“MyMomsBest mempunyai beberapa orang doktor seperti pakar kanak-kanak, pakar kaum ibu (ob-gyn) dan pakar penyusuan ibu yang bermurah hati memberi tunjuk ajar secara sukarela kepada kami,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, hingga kini MyMomsBest bergerak sebagai kumpulan yang mandiri kerana ia tidak menerima sebarang sumbangan atau bantuan kewangan daripada syarikat korporat terutamanya mana-mana syarikat yang menghasilkan susu formula dan makanan bayi. Selain menggalakkan penyusuan ibu, ahli kumpulan MyMomsBest cuba memberi galakan dan motivasi kepada ibu yang baru bersalin dan ingin menyusukan bayi.

Lebih membanggakan, katanya, ada ahli yang memelihara anak angkat dan menyusukan sendiri bayi itu, selain menyusukan bayi kembar sendiri, menderma susu ibu untuk bayi yang sakit, tidak cukup bulan apabila ibu bayi itu sendiri belum mempunyai susu atau menyusu bayi dengan susu perahan apabila si ibu terpaksa berada jauh daripada anaknya kerana tanggungjawab pekerjaan.

Chan berkata, MyMomsBest juga sangat prihatin terhadap kehendak dan keperluan ibu lain. Kumpulan sokongan itu pernah menyumbangkan sebuah pam perahan susu (breastpump) yang bernilai RM3,000 kepada Unit Penjagaan Rapi Paediatrik (PICU) di Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya (PPUM) pada November 2003.

“Kami sedar bahawa susu ibu adalah elemen yang sangat penting untuk kelangsungan bayi yang sakit dan pramatang. Oleh itu kami tidak teragak-agak untuk menolong mana-mana ibu dan bayi setakat yang kami terdaya,” katanya.

Selain itu, baru-baru ini sempena sambutan Hari Ibu yang jatuh pada 9 Mei, kumpulan sokongan berkenaan mengadakan program Belaian Ibu untuk Ibu, iaitu kerja amal mengumpul hadiah yang disumbangkan oleh ahli kumpulan itu sendiri yang kemudiannya diagihkan kepada kaum ibu yang menjaga anak yang sakit di PPUM.

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May 30

The Star Online > Features

Thursday, July 31, 2003

For the love of the child


In conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week which begins tomorrow, MAJORIE CHIEW checks out an online breastfeeding support group.

YOU are raring to be the perfect mother and totally breastfeed your baby because you have read all about the benefits of mother s milk, but suddenly you discover that reading about it is totally different from actually doing it. And the books do not provide solutions to breastfeeding problems, such as when the baby is not suckling well or the so-called lack of milk production.

Well, don t just wave the white flag and reach out for the bottle of formula milk. If you are determined enough to breastfeed successfully, help is just a few clicks on the mouse away.

There is a new online breastfeeding support group for all mothers and mums-to-be who are interested in breastfeeding: msian_ nursing_mom. The group, founded by Phang Sze Sze on Feb 10, started with just 12 members. To date, the membership is about 40 and still growing.

Members of the online breastfeeding support group and their babies at a gathering.

It all started when Chan Lilian, a mother of five sons, wrote an article entitled Working at breastfeeding (StarTwo, Jan 29). It sparked off some interest and several women, including Phang, contacted her. During their discussions, the idea of setting up an online support group for breastfeeding mums was mooted.

Penang-based Chan says:  As I have experience in setting up my own online grief support group, I suggested to Phang to start the support group because there are mothers who are keen to know one another’s problems. By word of mouth and through the link with the myhome4work website, membership grew.

The members are a multi-racial mix and include a few Malaysians abroad and an expatriate in Malaysia. They comprise full-time homemakers, working mothers and a few working women who are pursuing further education.

 Phang and I devote time to run this group out of interest in breastfeeding. There is no commercial gain or any other motive. We are not affiliated with anyone. Our mission is to provide an avenue for Malaysian mums to get and exchange information for the benefit of their children, says Chan.

 We vet through every application and each potential member has to write a short introduction about herself before she is admitted. This is to sieve out pranksters. Though the group is all about breastfeeding, we always ensure that every member feels comfortable in this friendly, interactive group, says Chan.

 Our main concern is to help members who may not have been successful in their attempts to breastfeed. We want to provide peer support in every area related to bringing up children. So far, we have discussed issues on car seat safety, dealing with sibling jealousy, weaning and starting babies on solids.

Read more     Comments Off on For the love of the child – Part 1