Do cool mums breastfeed?


It was World Breast feeding week last week and this event got my mind racing down memory lane. A few years ago when I was pregnant for my first child, I made plans…loads of them. How great a mother I was going to be, I would make packed lunches, make her hair, teach her, school her, take her to work with me, (so I could exclusively breast feed), take her to school by myself (when it was that time), pick her up too, do her laundry by myself etc. I wanted to be super mum. All those statistics of mothers who left their children etc., was never going to be me or my child. 

And so, I birthed this child. And, I set about doing all the things I had planned to do with a vengeance! I had no help…I insisted on doing everything myself, (never mind that by the end of the day I was frazzled, at my wits end and willing to bite people’s ears off, if they so much as grazed past me, how much more touch a raw nerve!) I also started looking for that hospital where I would work with my baby. I had just finished med school, house job and NYSC at that time, and so my head was brimming with all those ideas of bonding with my baby by breast feeding and also ensuring I was giving her immune system a great boost for life…and all those wonderful reasons we were given for breast feeding. In fact, as I was leaving med school, I was convinced that breast feeding was cool and oh so, fashionable! But the whole world conspired against me and all those noble ideals I had. I couldn’t find any hospital that felt I was truly serious about working and discussing the concept of bringing my baby in and having a crèche where I could take off, now and again to breast feed and bond :D. In fact, none of those hospitals had crèches for their nursing-mother employees! Oh! Years later, I can imagine them bursting into gales of laughter anytime I left any of those interviews. ‘Can you imagine? She wants to work…with a baby?!’ ‘Is she for real?!’

And so started my reluctant stay-at-home period! It was to be for about 2 years. By this time, I had finally ‘wised’ up and figured that the society wanted mothers to breast feed their children, bond with them and reduce crime rates etc., but no one was willing to make the sacrifice to make that happen. And so, I made plans to put my daughter in school only to realise I was pregnant again. With my second daughter, breast feeding was perfunctory as I spent the period of pregnancy and immediately after birth plotting my return to the work place. 

Having tried exclusive breast feeding and partial breast feeding, the difference was clear. Where my first daughter was a pillar of health during childhood, my second baby…though not sickly, always looked pale, picked up every virus flying around in the air and wasn’t the easiest child to adapt to new diets etc.

Having experienced both extremes and becoming convinced about what made sense for me as a mother, I determined that with my next baby, I was going to work, (the housewife thing was not working for me. I was plain miserable! I doff my hat to all housewives! You’re all amazing women and you rock!) and I was going to breast feed. And guess what? That was exactly what I did! I would breast feed at home and express regularly to freeze for the periods I was away at work. It wasn’t easy but it was certainly worth it! So is it possible for a working mother? It is. 

I smile when I hear working mothers say, ‘but I work, how can I do that?’ You can, but it requires some sacrifice…actually lots of sacrifice. 

Breast milk, beyond being cheap, temperature regulated and readily available 🙂 is formulated with everything your baby needs for each stage of his growth. It’s chock full of immunoglobulins (which makes them resistant to illnesses , vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and oils. So, it is indeed a complete meal! It also helps the womb to return to normal size after childbirth.

So ladies, let’s give our children the right start. It is still fashionable to breast feed. (And even if not, who cares about what the fashion radar is saying on that, anyways?! Or better still, let’s start the fad!)

Employers please encourage this practice that is useful to society as a whole…crèches aren’t such a bad idea when you think about the fact that you would now have dedicated female employees working for you.

PS: Ladies get some help at home. You know that ‘super mum’ thing I was trying to do? It just exhausts you and you can’t get it all done. Get a washing machine or someone to do the laundry. If you don’t want a live-in help, get a daily. But whatever you do, get help! You’ll be a lot happier. Trust me, I know!

Here’s to a healthier, happier…and less stressed out you!

Dr Ketch

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18 Responses to Do cool mums breastfeed?

  1. This is a fantastic post. Thank you for writing this. Such an inspiration. I could only express for 4 weeks for my first daughter who was born 7weeks early. But I’m now into month 6 with my second daughter, although she has naturally dropped me during the days.

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  2. handoh says:

    Hi Ketch, nice article and well done. Just to say that whatever sacrifice we have to make is worth it. Giving is always more rewarding than receiving. It takes a great more to breast feed for the length of time required. My children were breast feed by my wife for nothing less than one year! my children don’t fall sick any how. Today I have my wife all to myself again! this is for men who think they will loose out.
    Cheers

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  3. Sunny says:

    “Fashionable”!!! That’s the word… Beyond the health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, women feel their breasts would sag all the more if they breastfeed exclusively and beyond 6 months! What’s your take on that, dear Dr Ketch? Lovely piece!

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    • Hello Sunny, trust you to rush in where angels fear to tread 😀

      Look at it this way…we all fear aging. I would love to be as young and skinny as I did 20 years back (that way I don’t have to burn so much cash on all these age-defying creams I buy. Sigh!!!) Unfortunately, aging is a fact of life (except for those who inherited those annoyingly amazing genes that make them and their breasts look 20 at 50!). In the same way, we’d love for our breasts to remain as ‘perky’ as they were years back, but age (helped along by gravity especially if one doesn’t invest in good bras) puts paid to those dreams. Smoking, which breaks down elastin in the skin (that helps the skin and breast remain supple) doesn’t help this movement southwards. Pregnancy is also a factor…remember that when pregnant, there is quite a bit of fat deposit in the breast which may shrink after delivery and where it doesn’t, it may metamorphose into fuller breast size. So, breast feeding on its own may not necessarily be a culprit as some studies have actually shown that there was no significant difference between the sagging in women who breast fed and those who did.

      So here’s the thing, there are several other factors which for a fact will lead to sagging (like aging) which we have no control about. In the general scheme of things, after a robust cost-benefit analysis, methinks that I would still opt for breast feeding warts and all!
      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld from Glo Mobile.

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  4. oluchi says:

    The write up is so nice, keep it up, ‘as a soon to be mother’ am really learning a lot, though I get scared sometimes if I can cope, but I derive strenght knowing that most women have gone tru it and they came out more stronger. More powers to ur elbow!

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  5. catherine says:

    Hi doc, I saw ur talk on 5 reasons y babies cry on africa magic just last nite. Its like an answer 2ma prayers I cldnt sleep last nite I’ve been goin tru ur posts. I must say dey r very apt. I’m a banker and my son is 11wks old, I’m thinking of resigning cos my hubby is a banker as well and we have very tight schedules. I’m breast feedin exclusively and I can’t seem 2expree witout feelin pains in my breast. Also I don’t trust all these nannies, I’ve heard a million stories abt helps and hw dey harm kids kept in their care and creches dat give babies sleepin tablets. My blood runs cold wenever I think of all these. I’ve also heard dat babies dat breastfeed exclusively find it difficult 2 eat oda normal foods wit time. Pls hw true is dis? Also anoda reason y I wana resign is cos I’m plannin 2hv anoda baby wen my son is a year so I wanna have enuf time 2tk care of my babies properly b4 I consider goin back 2work. Pls wat do u think of aLl these?

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    • Hello Catherine, thanks for writing in and I do empathise. The decision as to whether to quit working or not, really has to be taken by you. As a mother, you know exactly what you have spoken into your children’s lives and how you would like these actualised and so the question should be ‘does my job give me the leeway to be all I can be for myself and my children?’ I really feel bad for bankers, especially those like yourself who also have banker husbands. The working hours are so long and I am not personally convinced that they are justified…so, like you have observed, two parents with those crazy schedules may not be what your children deserve. I totally understand your fear of nannies!!!I would only advice that if you are quitting, make a plan about what you want to do, when and how, afterwards. You may not follow it precisely, but it will act as a compass whenever you feel a bit lost 🙂
      Exclusively breastfed babies are not necessarily fussy about food. My first daughter, exclusively breastfed, is not. But some could be, I guess…they are human after all. But this has nothing to do with breastfeeding.
      Finally, you could use a breast pump for breastfeeding or just use your hands. When using the latter, don’t make the mistake of focusing on the nipples…that’s when you have sore breast/nipples. Just press from the top of the breast gently. You will be amazed at how much more milk you get and how effortless it is!
      And don’t worry, it’s perfectly natural to feel a bit overwhelmed with how to provide the best possible care for our precious babies. You’re on the right track!

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  6. Pingback: Daily Health Tips: Breastfeeding Week 2016 | chatwithketch

  7. Pingback: #HLWDK Daily Health Tips: World Breastfeeding Week 2017 | chatwithketch

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