From bras built for hands-free pumping of breast milk to fads such as "squeeze and pumping", lactation consultant Chen Liqin (above) has seen it all.
As the breastfeeding movement continues to gain traction here, new breastfeeding equipment and methods have grown in popularity in recent years, often thanks to the buzz created by online forums and mummy support groups, she says.
But not all newfangled devices and methods are right for all mothers. Squeeze and pumping, for example, where mothers use a pump while manually squeezing their breasts to yield more milk, can deform the breasts and may even deplete the milk supply faster, she says.
Ms Chen is one of four experts who will give pregnancy advice at the Baby Ready Seminar on June 17. The annual seminar, which is in its third edition this year, is organised by The Sunday Times and presented by cord blood bank Cryoviva Singapore. It will be held from 1 to 5pm at The Star Gallery in The Star Performing Arts Centre.
At the seminar, Ms Chen, 43, will cover basic breastfeeding techniques as well as debunk common myths about the practice. The former paediatric nurse has been working in the field for more than 10 years and received her certification to be a lactation consultant five years ago.
The married mother of two daughters, aged 12 and six, was inspired to switch careers after she struggled to breastfeed her first child. There was little information available then.
But most mothers who come for help now are armed with an arsenal of information from friends and support groups. "They understand more things. For example, some will ask whether they can feed their babies colostrum," says Ms Chen, referring to the milk that is produced by the mother in the first few days after her baby's birth. It contains antibodies and other growth factors, and acts as a laxative, but "they used to call it poison and threw it away".
While mothers are better informed about the advantages of breastfeeding, there still needs to be better support for them, she says.
"The lack of family support is another challenge. For example, when the baby cries, a lot of family members will blame the mum for not producing enough milk, so they'll end up feeding the babies formula milk.
BOOK IT / THE SUNDAY TIMES BABY READY SEMINAR
- WHERE: The Star Gallery at The Star Performing Arts Centre, 1 Vista Exchange Green
- WHEN: June 17, 1 to 5pm; registration starts at 11.30am
- ADMISSION: $10 a person; $15 a couple
"In the end, the babies will have less opportunity to go back to their mother's breast."
She adds: "Mothers need to be involved in more antenatal care programmes, so they'll know what to expect after delivery and can educate their family members."
Correction note: In our earlier story, we had used the term "power pumping", it should be "squeeze and pumping".