Saturday, August 08, 2009

Breastfeeding ....

It’s the end of the first week of August. The last day of the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) which this year falls from 1st to 7th August. By all accounts breastfeeding is good for the baby as well as the mom. Among the objectives of the WBW 2009 is to draw attention to the vital role that breastfeeding plays in emergencies worldwide. According to the WBW website, “ Children are the most vulnerable in emergencies – child mortality can soar from 2 to 70 times higher than average due to diarrhoea, respiratory illness and malnutrition. Breastfeeding is a life saving intervention and protection is greatest for the youngest infants. Even in non-emergency settings, non-breastfed babies under 2 months of age are six times more likely to die.”

Our local health authorities have a policy of encouraging breastfeeding as soon as giving birth, exclusively for six months and to continue breastfeeding up to 2 years. The fliers they distributed also stated among the advantages are the baby will have higher IQ, lower risk of obesity, antibody against diarrhoea, lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and reduce risk of orthodontic and dental problems. As for the mom, breastfeeding helps the mom's body return to its pre-pregnancy state faster, helps delay return of fertility and to space subsequent pregnancies, develops a special emotional relationship and bonding with her child and helps the uterus contract after birth to control postpartum bleeding.

That takes care of the mom and the baby. How about the daddy? To date, haven’t seen any fliers telling what benefits breastfeeding brings to the daddy. Some will say, having healthier wife and baby is benefit enough. But guys being guys, I am sure will want to know what other advantages they will get out of it. Remember, if the mom breastfeeds the baby for at least two years, that will be two years of refraining from some pleasurable activity for the daddy. So they must be thinking “I better get something out of this”. Hope the health authorities can look into this.

In the absence of such fliers, on top of the head, we can see some obvious benefits. First, to the wallet. Milk formula tends to be costly. Breastfeeding definitely will help in reducing the household expenses. The money saved can be used on other things or be used as seed money to open up the baby’s account. Over two years, the figure can be around $1000 which will worth double when the baby turns 18. A second advantage will be to the eyes and better night sleep. No more worries about waking up and mixing the milk formula with half eyes closed in the middle of the night. Better sleep means the daddy can get up early and be at work on time. No time loss at work and the boss will be happier.

I am sure if we put our head into it, we can conjure up more imaginative benefits to the daddy. A not so obvious advantage, according to one website, the stool of a baby on breastfeeding has a butter-milk smell. Any volunteers to check on this? If it smells like the butter milk fish/beef/chicken, pretty sure changing diapers will be a more pleasant experience. We may even want to savour the moment, take in the smell, may even feel hungry, not trying to get it done as fast as we can.

Being a daddy, I support wholeheartedly the breastfeeding drive. Don’t be surprised to see the following slogan on my car bumper.... “Support breastfeeding, excellent for the baby, good for the mom and the daddy too.”

As in anything, if you ask any guys, breastfeeding has its “disadvantages” . Feeling left out, less bond with the child, just to name a few. Some may feel resentment towards the baby who has "come between" him and the mom. We often hear jokes how the daddy may compete with the baby.But I am sure, we in this muslim country, would do all we can to avoid being grouped into the “sesusuan” category.....

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