In today’s post I’d like to share my experiences as a new mum concerning exclusive breastfeeding vs mixed feeding. Whatever reason the mother deems fit for her and her baby (without society having a say as to whether one is right or wrong) Let’s just say I had a “challenge” with breastfeeding and I had to formula feed within the 1st 3 months which was really hard for me psychologically because I’d had this image of being earth-mother goddess. I’d had a great pregnancy and natural birth with some minor complications so being confronted by these challenges was a real shock to my system…by the way this was with my 1st baby. As I was coming to terms with that I also had to contend with society’s expectations about my skills as a Mom and all of a sudden everyone had an opinion! No one except my Mom really understood what I was going through. “You must breastfeed till the child is a year-old”, “It is the tradition of our mothers” …and yet so many women have undocumented challenges with breastfeeding in Nigeria. According to certain statistics only 13.1% of mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months! Some mothers have health issues that make it unsafe to breastfeed, while some just don’t have the social support. In some cases, mothers do not understand the value of breast milk. Some mothers may be embarrassed to breastfeed, while others give up if they are not successful because, for e.g. the bay does not latch on properly. In some of these instances counselling and training can overcome the problem, but in some cases it cannot. Back to the matter, I had to figure out which formula to choose in order to get the maximum benefit to my baby because it was truly the least I could do. Then I realized there was a whole new world to discover. I had to understand about staging – which formula for which age. I also found out that formula is actually modified cow’s milk, with manufacturers removing excess protein, for example, and adding some missing key nutrients like iron. I learnt that there is non-milk based formula, for those with cow’s milk allergy. And there is a special formula for premature babies, who need to gain weight fast. Some formulas are pre-digested to make it easier for baby to absorb them, and some are thickened with starch to help baby keep it down. So much to learn!…yet no one really talks about it because they assume you will breastfeed successfully. I am in no way against breastfeeding nor am I saying thumbs up to formula. As a Mom and a parent what it boils down to is making sure my baby is well nourished, well-loved and well-protected. The biggest, strongest and most important argument for breastfeeding is simply that it is the best. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life improves the growth, health and survival status of a new-born, and is one of the most natural and best forms of preventive medicine. EBF plays a pivotal role in determining the optimal health and development of infants, and is associated with a decreased risk for many early life diseases and conditions, including otitis media, respiratory tract infection, diarrhoea and early childhood obesity. It is how nature intended that we feed our babies. And I do not doubt that. I am all for it, as long as you can. But what happens if you cannot? According to those against formula, it seems to be because in developing countries there are issues with access to clean water and literacy levels of the Mother (can she follow exact measurements and directions for preparing it?) These are valid concerns but what about the fact that a more cosmopolitan Africa has emerged where in the urban cities those issues are greatly reduced? Shouldn’t mothers take advantage of the options that are available to them if they have challenges or should they suffer and smile and squeeze water out of a stone (pun intended) and potentially harm their babies? In many places maternity leave is shockingly short, and often unpaid, despite the fact that women make up almost half of the labour force. How many women have to choose between staying home to breastfeed and earning a salary? In addition, the workplace is not conducive for working moms to tend to their kids. Some moms pump and store for Dad or Grandma or nanny to give to the baby, and that’s already one part removed from the real bonding process. Some moms just can’t produce enough milk and submit to postpartum depression because they can’t cope with the guilt and shame of ‘letting their baby down’, by resorting to use formula, as if it’s such a terrible thing. At this juncture I would say that the well-being of the baby should be paramount. And there should be more focus on educating mums to understand why they should choose their babies nutrition wisely. Being a good mom is a lot of hard work from the start , and mums need support when they cannot breastfeed, not condemnation. What’s your story? Let us know by commenting below, or join the conversation on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Moms-World-Nigeria/754150684609591 Visit http://www.mumsworldafrica.com for information and advice on pregnancy, new-born and toddler.
My day was crazy the other day. Murphy’s law was in full effect. It was Dasola’s 1st day at day care, I had to get my eldest, Yomski, ready for school. Our driver of 2 years left suddenly so I had to do the school run in addition to getting my day started with an early meeting at 11am.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is my mantra at times like this, so with a prayer in my heart we were on our way.
I dropped Yoms off, then took Dasi to day care which was a bit difficult for both of us (being her first time). While she was happily preoccupied with something the administrator was showing her I took the cue to tip-toe out the crying started. Starting day care is an important transition for babies. I am watching to see how Dasi settles in, but I know there may be some changes in her behaviour as she gets used to her new routine.
With that done I made my way back home to shower quickly and dash off for a meeting I was running late for then the unexpected happened. My car just ground to a halt halfway there!
Thankfully my husband was on his way to his own meeting so he was able to rescue me, but, since I was driving myself, I had to figure out what to do because I couldn’t possibly leave my car there, Naija la wa!
Just before I left the house, my cook says the dreaded words, “Madam gas don finish” so I gave him some money to get more, but that plan had to quickly take a back seat because I now needed him to come to meet us so he could wait with the car until the mechanic got there.
With that my husband had to reschedule his meeting so he could drop me off at mine and so that was it, everything back to normal somewhat right? Wrong!
I rushed into the meeting apologizing profusely because I had everyone waiting for me, including an 80 year-old lady so I had to seriously kun le and explain my ordeal. Thankfully everyone was gracious and so we carried on and had a great meeting.
I had my brother Timini come to meet me so I could go to pick up Dasi and I was running late because her pick up is 2 o’clock and it was 2.15 already!
Another mad dash, picked her up, then picked Yoms and got home. Phew!
I then proceeded to inquire on the status of my up till then trusty jeep and I was certain it was something that could be fixed relatively quickly but shock and horror! the mechanic came back with more bad news….apparently my engine had knocked so I would need to buy a new “tokunbo” engine. The price? 350-400 thousand Naira!
I know what you might be thinking, it’s not a problem because I’m a famous celebrity right? And I totally understand that.
Five years ago, before the babies yes, no problem but now, with so many responsibilities a lot of deliberation has to occur before money is just doled out so hopefully you can understand that.
On top of dealing with all this, I still had to take care of the kids and start preparing their nutritious meals for the next day, chasing my toddler to do her homework when all she really wants to do is play, deal with deadlines for my blog post, reading scripts and tending to my extended family issues.
There’s a lot more that happened but I will spare you all, I’m sure you get the picture by now. Being a working mom and wife is not easy at all even with help and I shudder to imagine how much more difficult it is without any help at all.
Even being a housewife is not easy, I was an inadvertent one for a while especially after my 1st born but I quickly realized it wasn’t for me, I need an outlet for my creative energy to be truly balanced.
I hope I’m not scaring any of my readers that are mothers-to-be but I hope you can appreciate the fact that it’s no walk in the park. It’s a joyful, special and fulfilling thing as well and I am truly grateful to the Almighty for my life because it’s what I always wanted.
It makes me truly appreciate the sacrifices my Mom made to mould me into the woman I am today as well as my four younger.
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My 2nd little angel Dasola is a year old and she is absolutely relishing new tastes and textures in food.
When I started weaning her, at 6 months, I began with rice cereal mixed with formula (which she still loves), and then introduced soft foods like oats, mashed potatoes(sweet or Irish) and soft rice/spaghetti. Now she tastes everything what we all eat: little strips of beef, ewedu, stew and semo are favourites, and she loves her milk – still an important source of nutrients for her. She calls food “ma-mam” which sounds like mama so I love the fact that she equates food to sustenance.
I’m really glad she’s a good eater, so thank goodness for small mercies. My first born, was like that too, I never really had to force her to eat although like all human beings we have times where we just don’t feel hungry and times where we want to just stuff down everything in sight so I really lucked out there, fingers crossed.
The only time I was concerned about Dasi’s feeding habits was when we just introduced formula and apparently the brand she was taking made her very gassy and colicky, but when I switched brands I found one that worked, and which she absolutely loved, thank goodness!
Now she is so adventurous with food and always wants to taste what everyone and anyone is eating which is such a joy to behold.
It’s really challenging regarding nutrition for our kids, making sure they’re getting nutritious food at meal times while reducing salt or sweet treats. In this microwave age it is no small feat but it’s a task that must be done. As parents we know we shouldn’t trade proper food for treats – later you could be explaining yourself in a court of law! Really, it’s criminal not to feed children properly if you have the means.
I’m a believer that the way the parents, especially the mother, treats food is generally the way the household will go. At least it’s true in my household because I try as much as I can to eat healthily so it reflects on my husband and kids although we do have days where we just veg out and enjoy food.
Dasi is walking on her own which is lovely, and to see her determination to catch up to her big sis! She also loves to take the lead while holding my hand to show off her skills.
She has 3 and a half teeth and it’s a gorgeous sight to behold, yes I’m shamelessly in love!
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