Support mothers whether or not they breastfeed

Breastfeeding is a personal choice and we should give our support and understanding to mothers regardless of their choice.
Breastfeeding is a personal choice and we should give our support and understanding to mothers regardless of their choice.PHOTO: ST FILE

I thank KK Women's and Children's Hospital for coming forward to assure mothers who have not been successful in breastfeeding that they, too, can foster a close bond with their babies (KKH recognises and supports varied needs of new mothers, April 3).

I recall my first month of breastfeeding being a herculean task. I would tell my friends: "It's harder than running a marathon."

I had one goal - to breastfeed my daughter for two years, and she ended up insisting on being nursed even after the two years and weaned herself off naturally after another full year.

I was ridiculed by other women for having nursed my daughter for so long.

My experience with being a new mother is that people will come to you with so much advice, however well-intended, that their "words of wisdom" can be collated into an encyclopaedia.

Interestingly, half of this advice came from women who had never been mothers themselves.

There are at least 100 ingredients found in breast milk that cannot be duplicated in baby formulas.

Nonetheless, mothers who cannot breastfeed for one reason or another should not be made to feel blameworthy or inferior because they are doing the best that they can.

I was nursed for no more than one month myself by a working mother, and can attest that it has not in any way diminished the intimate bond that we enjoy till this day, and I am just as healthy as the average adult.

Breastfeeding is a personal choice and we should give our support and understanding to mothers regardless of their choice.

Lily Ong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline 'Support mothers whether or not they breastfeed'. Print Edition | Subscribe