Dakore-Egbuson

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.

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Earth Mother Goddess? It didn’t happen that way

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4 thoughts on “Earth Mother Goddess? It didn’t happen that way

  1. I soon understand the dilemma even though I’m not a mum yet! My sister-in-law and many of African women always have something to say when they have new mums around them…they always know more, will always advise breastfeeding making me wonder why they finally mix breast milk and powder milk if it’s just BREASTFEEDING! And of course, I admit that what God gives is always best and breastfeeding is the best way to go but in Africa all those women who a have a say on your pregnancy, your choice of formula or breastfeeding, etc all they end up doing is just forcing others do things exactly the way they did and that’s all. Even the nurse gives you a nasty look after delivery if you don’t want to breastfeed.

    https://stylishafairs.wordpress.com

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  2. I sooo understand the dilemma even though I’m not a mum yet! My sister-in-law and many of African women always have something to say when they have new mums around them…they always know more, will always advise breastfeeding making me wonder why they finally mix breast milk and powder milk if it’s just BREASTFEEDING that’s best then? And of course, I admit that what God gives is always best and breastfeeding is the best way to go but in Africa all those women who a have a say on your pregnancy, your choice of formula or
    breastfeeding, etc…well, all they end up doing is just forcing others do things exactly the way they did and that’s all. Even the nurse gives you a nasty look after delivery if you don’t want to
    breastfeed.

    https://stylishafairs.wordpress.com

    Like

  3. judith says:

    In as much as breast milk is the best for babies, there are instances where your breast may not lactate v.well and produce enough milk for your baby. For the first three days after the birth of my 1st daughter, my breast was not producing milk and i was prevented from giving her formula so we just kept giving her water and glucose for 3days. when the breast milk finally started coming out, it was not sufficient for her she started emaciating and looking sick. She cried all day and we kept on buying series of drugs, going to the hospital and spending so much money.
    On a particular day, the doctor wrote series of test worth thirty thousand naira n we were so broke, so my husband and I, just took her to a nurse that runs a chemist close to the house. When she saw my baby she said this baby is hungry and not sick. she picked a can of Nan 1 and a new feeder, made the formula and fed my baby u needed to see how she rushed the milk i was so shocked. she slept off immediately. Two hours later i had to go and check if she was still breathing cos she had never slept this long since i gave birth to her.
    Was happy when i saw her sleeping well, immediately she woke up, i fed her and she slept off again, u wont believe that after i started giving her formula, she started growing n putting on so much weight, we never went back to the hospital or carried out the series of test.
    I learnt my lesson, so when i was shopping for my 2nd baby formula was No.1 on the list. in the hospital i started feeding him when the nurses saw me they were complaining i said leave me ooo, its my baby.

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  4. drjayda says:

    so true, i think new mums need to remove the pressure we actually put on ourselves,the society is already doing a great job of that. I had an open mind and discussion with friends who were mums already made me realise my options. i was able to breast feed exclusively for 6 and half months but i always took it a day at a time and only reason i stopped breast feeding totally was the abrupt drop in supply once i got back fully to work and nowhere to pump scratch that make it no time to pump.Motherhood is a daily journey

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