No words can describe the excitement and happiness of new parents welcoming their newborn to this world. The birth of a baby likewise entails a lot of decisions for parents – from the baby’s name, to the color of onesies, to the type of crib and the list goes on! One big decision to make is on how the baby will thrive on his first months. Exclusive breastfeeding, without supplementing formula milk, for the first six months is recommended by the World Health Organization for the good health benefits of the baby and the mother, as well.
In Singapore, the duration of the maternity leave depends on many factors. i.e., if child is Singapore citizen or not; or if you are foreigner or permanent resident, and many more. It is advisable to know your maternity leave protections and obligations as soon as possible. Regardless of the length of period you will be enjoying while on maternity leave though, these four essentials will pave your way to the success and joy of exclusively breastfeeding your baby:
1.) Knowledge. It is vital to start your exclusive breastfeeding journey with right knowledge. The more research you do, the more convinced you will be that breastmilk is best. All the theories and explanations on why breastmilk is best are all around you. Make sure your sources are legitimate and reliable. Ask questions from the right people. Experience is the best teacher, thus family members and friends who have experienced breastfeeding are the best persons to ask. Learning from someone you personally trust will boost your confidence in achieving your breastfeeding goals. Ask around and know what to do and what not to do.
Apart from medical practitioners, the internet is the next-sought information tool. While it is true that not everything posted in the worldwide web is accurate, you can actually gather the most helpful information if you do proper research. There are accredited breastfeeding counselors you can reach online. In Singapore, several breastfeeding groups have been actively promoting breastfeeding. There are also a number of books published on the subject. Knowing the benefits of breastfeeding will definitely strengthen your decision to breastfeed. A little investment in the beginning of your breastfeeding journey will definitely go a long way!
2.) Determination. Hearing different sides of breastfeeding stories may either make or break you. There are mothers who will say breastfeeding was a breeze for them – that it felt like it was the most natural thing in the world. But there will also be some who will tell you in detail the pain and struggle of breastfeeding. Do not let these negativities outweigh the positive effects of breastfeeding.
There are a lot of factors involved in breastfeeding a newborn baby. Sometimes, even the most prepared parents still encounter difficulties during the first months. Breastfeeding guides are designed to aid the parents on the how-to’s. However, mother-baby tandems are unique. One technique may work for your friend’s but not for yours. The good thing is there are actually plenty of schemes you can try in breastfeeding your baby – you just have to explore what works best for you two.
If you are determined, you will have all the patience needed to succeed. You can take comfort in knowing that the first three months post-partum is usually the hardest. The succeeding months (and years) will be so calm and relaxed that you will thank yourself for the determination you had at the beginning. Those initial struggles will be nothing compared to the joy and fulfillment of breastfeeding.
3.) Support. If you have hurdled the struggles of actual breastfeeding, the next challenge will be the unsolicited advices of the people around you. It is important to take a deep breath and remind yourself that these people mean well. Try to understand that the older generation is a tad different from yours. Educate them and introduce to them the wonders of breastmilk. Make them respect your decision. Involve your husband in your breastfeeding journey so you will have someone to speak for you too. It will also do you good to participate in breastfeeding forums. These forums promote breastfeeding and encourage mothers on their decisions to exclusively breastfeed their babies. This is likewise an avenue to rave and rant on your breastfeeding issues!
4.) Sustenance. Once you’ve gotten the hang of breastfeeding, you have to sustain it. Your baby depends on you now. Keep yourself nourished. In most cases, the quality of breastmilk is at its optimum no matter what the mother eats. Still, it is a must that the mother continues eating healthy. Make sure you have a balanced diet. It is also important to drink fluids at all times to keep you hydrated. Keeping yourself fit is a manifestation of your love to your baby.
Babies are only little and dependent for a short while. Exclusive breastfeeding is a choice and a gift. At the end of the day, that beautiful moment you spend with your little one while he latches on you is all worth it!