NEW mother Victoria Pamfrom Nigeria says breastfeeding is the cheapest, safest, and surest way to help a baby grow nutrition wise.
“I’m planning to breastfeed my three-month plus daughter Joanne exclusively for six months. Then maybe up to a year or so,” said the 32-year-old at the Lam Wah Ee’s One-Minute Breastfeeding event at the hospital.
Organised by the hospital in conjunction with the recent World Breastfeeding Week to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding, she joined 50 other mothers in breastfeeding their babies at the hospital’s paediatric centre.
Pam said that it was an exciting experience for her, considering one cannot feed one’s baby just anywhere in Malaysia.
“Where I come from, anywhere your baby cries, you feed.
“It is exciting that the hospital is trying to educate people to breastfeed here,” she said.
Fellow participant Angela Lee, 29, who has been breastfeeding her one-year-old daughter Eliz P’ng for a year, said her motivation for breastfeeding came from the inspiration that most mothers who breastfed their babies remained slim.
“Last year, I came for an event similar to today’s and I saw that all the breastfeeding mothers were very slim and my husband asked me to try it out and I agreed.
“That was my main motivation and I discovered that breastfeeding burns a lot of calories,” she said.
Lee encouraged mothers not to give up even though they might face some challenges initially.
“Do not give up even though it is tough in the first month. Lam Wah Ee’s Koala Club taught me the right techniques of breastfeeding and I did not face much pain while doing it.”
Meanwhile, the hospital’s paediatrician and chairman of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Dr Adele Tan said the perception on breastfeeding in public needed to change.
“Breastfeeding in public is still not a norm here. Some people feel that it is shameful and people would stare.
“I think this culture and perception has to change with time, starting with the awareness on the many benefits of breastfeeding.
“These include, the crucial bonding between mother and child, reduced risk of obesity and sickness for the baby as well as quicker post-delivery recovery and reduced risk of breast cancer for the mother,” she said.
Dr Tan added that the event was to educate the public that breastfeeding is the most natural and best option for both mother and child.
“To facilitate successful breastfeeding, the hospital is now ‘rooming-in’ babies with their mothers by default soon after the babies are born.
“Most parents applaud this new initiative and appreciate the opportunity to bond with and care for their newborns from the start,” she said.
She also said that they aimed to achieve the baby-friendly status by October this year, in accordance with the Government’s Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) which was launched in 1993.
“This would make our hospital the third baby-friendly private hospital in Penang.”