Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places



First-time Mum Lessons I hope to learn

As we get ready for Boy Blob, I’m already noticing the differences between our first time and the second. I feel a lot less prepared, for one thing – an offshoot of being so much more tired this time ’round, but also because experience has taught me that babies can throw you lots of curve balls. And I’m more okay with being uncertain. I think I’m learning to roll with the punches.

Which makes me wonder what else I’ve learnt after almost 3½ years with Arddun. Here’s a tentative list.

1. Have SOME sort of a birth plan this time

I hear of some first-time mums who were so determined to have THE most natural (read: non-intervention) childbirth they could possibly get in a hospital, that they prescribed everything. And then promptly freaked out when they had to go for an emergency C-section — or worse, endangered the lives of their babies because they could not imagine another way.

Determined not to fall into that mental cage, I had swanned into the hospital the last time with no birth plan.

I wouldn’t say it was a huge mistake… but this time, I think we’ll be a lot more assertive about getting the medical attention when we need it, and also telling them when to back off. Without getting into a bunch of hairy details, I had ended up with an augmented birth with Arddun, due largely to delays by the hospital. This meant a zero-to-hero experience for contractions (“No pain… still no pain… nuh uh… OMIFREAKINGLORDOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!”), and semi bed-riddance, thanks to the cocktail of drugs they had to hook me up to. Some midwives can also be quietly militant about their brand of Best Childbearing Protocol and push you along a path you may no longer want to take. And that is why I’m interested in learning how to articulate a birth plan upfront for this round.

2. Recognising the Bigger Evil

Totally convinced about the joys and benefits of breastfeeding exclusively, and sufficiently scared into secretly abhorring the “easy way out” formula route, I had completely not banked on the following happening:

  • Having a baby come early, so her liver wasn’t quite ready yet
  • My milk supply not kicking in that quickly (apparently very common among Chinese women)
  • The lethal combination of post-partum hormone surges and broken, scant sleep.

Arddun lost weight and turned orange in her early days in hospital. And this was after I had spent hours and hours sitting up in that hospital room in the middle of the night, alternately stroking her tiny cheek to keep her awake to drink, and silently screaming from the sheer agony of breastfeeding. Sometimes, there were tears streaming down my face in the dead of night from confusion and frustration and embarrassment at “already failing”. And my child was overtired and still underfed.

When the gentle suggestion to supplement her feeds with formula was broached – by the very champion of Breast is Best, a midwife — I finally lost it. It was the report card I had feared the most in those early days. FAILURE TO FEED. Failure to sustain my child in her first days of life outside my body.

It was the best thing we could have done for both Arddun and I. And I wished I hadn’t been so stubborn, or so scared. Supplementing her breastfeeds with formula gave Arddun some rest because it was easier for her to drink out of a rubber teat than to work her darndest on a set of boobs that was still clueless about their new role as milk buds. It gave me much-needed sleep, which then helped to establish that supply. It quickly gave her the fluids to flush out the bilirubin, and helped her put on weight so she got strong enough to breastfeed efficiently.

I ended up breastfeeding for 22 months — well after many women I knew who had breastfed exclusively. That doesn’t make me a better mother, any more than giving Arddun some formula in those early months made me a lousier, lazier one. And if Boy Blob comes early and I have trouble establishing supply again, I’m going to seriously consider formula. Because tough choices. Because priorities. Because big picture.

3. Not Accepting Help

There’s something I’ve learnt about myself over the years: when it comes to problem-solving, I need to imagine the worst-case scenario. Once I think I have a handle on that, I’m fine.

I had approached new motherhood with Arddun like a problem to be solved. There was a fierce, visceral need to Manage Everything Ourselves, and as a result I think I had ended up shutting others out in the very early days — especially my mother. (Huge regrets on that score. Tonnes.)

I don’t know that it was pride at work, so much as the self-sustenance borne out of being by ourselves in Canberra for 7 years… and the realisation that everyone will go back to ‘normal’ eventually, and it’d be Just Me and The Baby. And I had needed the certainty within myself, that confidence, that I was going to be okay when that day came. That I could be an adequate, competent mother without the village.

That was the internal mental and emotional dialogue. Outside, I must have looked territorial, closed to instruction and advice, and rather selfish.

This time, I want to make a conscious effort to let others in. Because the village wants in. And having the courage to depend on a village is something I want to work on.

4. Save my money on those parenting books

What a waste of time and braincells those turned out to be. The best support and advice I got turned out to be from those in the trenches with me (thank you Mother’s Group!), from remembering lessons from my childhood, from chatting with family members, and from observing older families around me. The trouble with self-proclaimed parenting experts is that there isn’t a single right way to parent. Ever. The more valuable exercise was growing my own intuition and confidence through prayer and practice. And mistakes. And forgiveness. And rinse and repeat.

5. Take care of myself

I was the first-time mum who spent every ounce of energy on Arddun. And I stopped wearing make up (or taking care of my skin), and I stopped wearing pretty shoes, and I didn’t take time out to do my nails, or cut my hair, or doll up for special occasions because we didn’t date anymore. I didn’t exercise much. I wore ill-fitting clothes.

I wasn’t a fat slob, and I was still clean and hygienic. But I wasn’t a lady. I was only, exclusively, a mother.

I don’t know that I will be any better this time around, and I can’t imagine being one of those mums that manages to clown-cake on make up before going anywhere… but some effort would be nice.

6. Take care of each other

Date nights. A lot more of them. Just Tony and I. Not vegging in front of the couch, but actually making an effort to go some place and remember what it was like to focus on each other exclusively. It’s only going to get harder to do with TWO little ones and still no family around us within quick babysitting distance, but I suspect a large part of our current reticence is because we’re quite attached to our routine.

7. Trust their ability to adapt

One of the things that has been unconsciously drilled into both Tony and I is how young children need their routine, and how they are creatures of habit. And that is largely true: routine is what enables Arddun to get enough sleep. It affects her ability to learn and eat, and therefore have the capacity and readiness to develop mentally, physically and emotionally. Routine is part of the framework that enables her to be a happy child.

But I also think we’ve been too afraid sometimes to mix things up a little. We have, perhaps, missed opportunities to build good memories because we’ve held the bedtime routine as sacrosanct. I’m also wondering if part of our motivation hasn’t stemmed from a form of laziness. Of avoiding the hassle of the next 36 hours that might be affected by one unorthodox evening.

And yet, what have Arddun’s early years taught me? We have travelled back and forth to Singapore many times with her, battled with jet lag, adapted to different social expectations (they tend to hoist their babies around till late in those parts), worked through different sleeping arrangements (she co-slept for the first time), and she had more than survived there – she had enjoyed herself. And despite months away, she still managed to adapt back to Canberra life when we returned. It was a process, but it got done.

So why are we so conservative when we are home? It’s something we keep slipping into, but I’d like to get more adventurous as we expand our family. It will take effort and planning, but magic only stays with children for such a sliver of time. It’s worth making Wonderful for.

Cold turkey

Yesterday, Arddun broke up with me.

Or at least it felt like it. Mind you, I think she’s been hinting at it for a while. Each breastfeed was getting shorter, each bottle with a little more left over. I knew that babies her age start to cut down on their milk as their interest in solids starts to ramp up.

But what I didn’t expect was complete and utter rejection.

Yesterday, she woke up as per normal, had a very efficient feed before breakfast, had some milk before her afternoon nap… and then refused another drop for the rest of the day.

But the night feed. I was hanging out for the night feed. She feeds particularly well when she first wakes and when she’s about to go to sleep. She starts and almost ends her day with me. Tony follows up with a bottle after her feed with me, before tucking her into bed. But I love that we top and tail the day together. Just us girls, in the semi-darkness. Quiet. Peaceful. It’s very easy to be grateful to God and our lives in moments like these.

But then she wouldn’t have me.

We waited five minutes. Outright refusal.

We waited another five minutes and tried again. This time, there were tears and loud, tired protests. I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times… I don’t want breast milk! Get me away from the breast milk!

Except it sounded a lot more like Get me away from you.

There are two main definitions of weaning, depending where you live. One defines weaning as moving on from breast to bottle. The other defines it as moving from milk to solids. And I was not prepared for either.

Out came the mommy books.

And then I read it.

Self-weaning babies

“Self-weaning can happen as early as 8 or 9 months, although it’s most common at about 1 year…”

“I was devastated when my baby self-weaned very abruptly at 11 and a half months. I wasn’t prepared for it at all.”

~ Kidwrangling by Kaz Cooke, page 96.

The calm broke. Suddenly, I felt hot, desperate, panicky. And then Tony came out and asked what I found in the books and before I could finish my sentence, I was on the dining room chair sobbing my heart out. Like, huge howls and gulping.

I had thought… I don’t know what I’d thought. That we had months. At least four more months. I was fully prepared to breastfeed her for at least a year. And yes, there’s the ol’ breast-is-best factor. And yes, she’s not a year old yet, so she needs to get most of her nutrition from milk yada yada… I know all that.

But mostly, I was howling because my baby girl didn’t need me anymore.

These books and nurses and society and other mothers… they keep harping on about getting babies started on the breast. How to get them latched, how to build a good supply, how often you should feed, demand vs scheduled feeds… whatever. All of that.

But no one ever mentioned that babies could suddenly sit up one afternoon and go cold turkey.

I expected only to have to deal with this later this year. Next year even. Mentally prepared for this separation to happen then. I was going to try and let her decide when she had enough… but like all mothers, I was only prepared to let her choose on my terms. Not hers.

Spent the rest of last evening reading up on self-weaning, and getting discouraged by mothers who either

  • are smug that their perfect baby has never done this to them because they were breastfed-only
  • are convinced self-weaning can never happen this early and women who claim that’s what’s happened are delusional
  • think this happens as a result of poor diet control and bad parenting.

The last thought I had before I dropped off to sleep was how much I hate the internet and mommy forums. Then I dreamt that my boss at Big Fat got mad at me and wouldn’t throw me a farewell party. Because I didn’t tell him I was planning to quit my job, as I was having problems getting Arddun to drink any milk.

You know you’re worried when you start dreaming about work.


This morning, we tried again. Arddun drank for 7 minutes, during which I felt like she was draining my life source or something equally dramatic and rama-rama-ding-dong. And then she refused for the rest of the day. And yes, even the night feed. I took to hiding my milk in her semi-solid meals.

But this morning, I started out with a clearer head.

One nugget of information I clung onto last night in the mountain of garbage that the internet offers was the fact that babies sometimes do this – it’s called a Nursing Strike – but they can eventually go back to breastfeeding. One mother persevered for two straight weeks and her boy finally went back to nurse until he self-weaned for good at 17 months.

We went to the maternal and child health clinic today, and the MACH nurse basically concurred the same. She also pointed out some other reassuring facts, such as

  • Arddun’s weight (still 75th percentile) and her height (still 90th percentile).
  • The fact that babies her age are very efficient eaters, so 7 minutes’ worth will actually fill her.
  • The fact that she’s constantly moving and would therefore be an easily distracted baby.
  • The fact that she has a cold, which means her sense of taste might have altered.
  • The fact that she could be teething again, which might mean some discomfort for her mouth.
  • The fact that this is perfectly normal behaviour for an 8+ month old.
  • The fact that they usually grow out of this and come back to breastfeeding.

And so I’m counting. Tonight marks the end of Day 1, and even though I still feel my heart sink when she refuses me point blank, I’m keeping the bigger picture in mind.

Babies, eh? Just when you think you’ve got the gig sorted out, they go and throw another 9 curve balls at you. It’s been an educational 24 hours, the biggest revelation for me being how much I’ve come to adore and cherish my time nursing my daughter. All this time when I’ve been checking emails on my phone, or gazing at her quiet perfection as we sit in nursing silence… a gloriously long, thin golden thread has been winding delicately over my heart and I’m finding it ever so hard to let go. Already.

What a girl wants, what a girl needs

Okay. So we’re almost at the half-year mark, which means we’ve waded through all the baby paraphernalia we’ve received as generous gifts, or gone and bought ourselves. So here’s my low-down on what we’ve found Very Very Useful.

1. Pram

Versatile, easy to use and comfortable as!

Duh, right? But to elaborate, we’ve found our Mamas & Papas Urbo gor-geous to use and look at. For one thing, it’s dead easy to assemble and collapse. For another, it’s got a basket you can actually use and easily access. It’s also really compact – tight turning circle, narrow frame, and perfect for zipping around shopping aisles and squeezy restaurants. And did I mention that it’s a rather handsome beast? Every time I see another Urbo, I think to myself, “Corr! That’s a good-lookin’ pram. Oh waitaminute… I HAVE THAT PRAM! Hoo-ah!” Seriously.

NOT one for bush-bashing, though. And definitely not a jogger. But it handles long walks around the lake and even longer walks around the shopping mall just fine. Which fits me to a tee.

2. Cot

Sleeping babies make good procreation ads.

Also another obvious one for the modern mommy, but I’ll explain – we didn’t get a crib/bassinet/cradle. Since Day 1 at home, Arddun’s been sleeping in her own cot. Seems cruel perhaps, and the SIDS people will probably have something to say about that, but we’ve been careful with blankets and swaddles, and monitor her sounds like a hawk. (Lindam Baby Monitor is therefore part of what we find Very Very Useful.)

As a result, Arddun’s always understood that the cot is her Zzz-Zzz land, and we haven’t had to read her the nursery immigration policy come Bassinet Emigration stage. Many trudges to and from our bedroom in the early days, though. But at least one of us (Tony!) got to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

3. Breastfeeding cover

Possibly the most used travel accessory for us – yes, both Tony and I. I’ve really enjoyed the ability to hide in plain sight when feeding Arddun, since I’m still not comfortable enough with my body to whip ’em ladies out in front of perfect strangers. (“You don’t know me, but hey! Here’s my bits.”) For Tony, it’s proven useful to wear so that Arddun will focus on the other important task at hand – falling asleep in a crowded room with many distractions. LOOOOVE my breastfeeding cover. Thank you, thank you ElilyMommy!

4. Change table

In Singapore, we used to place a rubber mat on the cot mattress and change the baby on it. While it’s space-saving and practical, it can fast turn into back-breaking work – especially when both parents are blessed with height and a rather *regular* baby. I thought it unnecessary at first and tolerated it, only because it came free with our second-hand cot. Now I’m so thankful we’ve got it.

5. Pouch

Up close and personal

Specifically, the Ergo. Got the Performance version, and really like it. True, it’s no Bjorn so Arddun can’t face front and take everything in… but in many ways, I’m thankful for that because I usually use the Ergo to get Arddun to fall asleep when we’re out and about. The last thing I want then is for her to have too much to look at. Also, the Ergo has a built-in hood so it’s a quick and easy sun or rain block, and it keeps Arddun’s head from lolling about when she finally does fall asleep. Which she almost invariably does in the Ergo.

PLUS, the weight of the baby falls on the hips and not the back so provided I haven’t put the straps on wrong, I can have her sleeping in the pouch while I do the grocery shop without breaking a sweat. The real test will be when she starts putting on the pounds as she gets older, but I have no complaints for now.

6. Capsule

Cannot put a price on sleep

Borrowed a Safe n Sound baby safety capsule from ElilyMommy, who bought hers second hand. Oh my word! I know the initial outlay for a brand new baby capsule seems extravagant, considering you can only use it till bub grows to 70cm or weighs 9kg or turns 6 months old, whichever comes first. But it turned out to be ridiculously convenient for us. Fewer trips to and from the house, as we threw nappy wallet, handbag and toys into the capsule along with baby… make-shift cradle for when Arddun fell asleep outdoors… Also, Arddun – like many babies, would fall asleep in the car, so taking her back into the house without waking her was a huge bonus. Now that she’s out of the capsule and in a Safe n Sound Meridian (veeery cushy), I spend a lot of time sitting in parking lots and garages, waiting for her nap to end. I miss the capsule hugely – you cannot imagine how much of a time saver it is.

If I could do things over, I would get a Maxi Cosi to click straight into our Urbo. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve hoisted her around in that capsule when it would have been so much easier to slide her out of the car and click her straight into the pram. You know what they say – don’t ever wake a sleeping baby. Amen to that.

7. Baby play gym mat

Bye-bye coffee table

If you’re trying your darndest not to let Thomas the Tank Engine or The Wiggles be your child’s babysitter, then please run out and get yourself some play gyms. I got myself 3 to rotate Arddun, just to stretch things out a little.

They cost heaps, however. Upward of $80 easy, so a few of them will put you out of pocket by a few hundred quid. We got all of ours through second-hand places, ranging from $5 to $20. But I tell you what – absolute life saver for when you need to cook and clean but baby ain’t mobile yet, which means she gets bored super-easily. Also, GREAT for Mother’s Group and entertaining Arddun’s little friends.

8. Smartphone

Preferably one with apps. I’ve read countless library books, read the bible, played too many Boggle and Monopoly rounds, chinwagged on Facebook, blogged, learnt baby sign language, and done the Christmas shopping – all while breastfeeding and/or waiting for Arddun to wake up in the car. Time moves slowly rather quickly in Mommyland. It’s a paradox, but it’s true. If you get to do three things outside your routine, it’s been a good day because man, the day slips by you lightning fast. Most times, you’re just biding your time in the name of providing excellent care for your offspring. It helps to keep in touch with the outside world through one free hand, at least.

It was especially crucial and comforting in the early days. You want answers fast, when your newborn baby is screaming her tiny lungs out all hours of the morning and you don’t know why or what’s triggered it. The number of hours Tony and I have spent sitting in our respective armchairs in Arddun’s nursery and frantically Googling baby websites on our iTouch and iPhone respectively… Don’t know how parents did it BC (before computers).

9. Nappy wallet

*Demo baby not included.

Or as I call it, Nappy Bag Lite. As much as I love life’s safety nets, I live dangerously close to the edge now and then by packing only the bare necessities in a nappy wallet – 2 diapers, small tube of nappy cream, 1 onesie, 1 face cloth, 1 small pack of baby wipes, 5 nappy plastic bags, and my breastfeeding cover. And I just throw this nappy wallet under the pram and saunter off to the shops or around the lake. More often than not, that’s all I really need.

If I really want to push this whole Minimalist Mama thing, I leave the handbag at home and chuck credit cards, mobile phone and cash in a stroller caddy. Wild, huh.

10. Muslin wrap

Meditating... *zzz

This is like the Mother’s Spit of all baby linens – it helps everything!

Need to settle your child to sleep? Swaddle your baby! Need to block off the world for a sleepy baby? Throw this over the pram! Settling the girl/boy confusion? Make sure it’s a hot-pink one!

It also makes a great emergency spit cloth, rain cover, sun shade and blanket. But get the big ones (120cm by 120cm) – you’ll get a lot more mileage out of them. I keep one in my pram basket always.

The muslin wrap is also first cousin to the Very Very Useful terrycloth squares.

11. Bag hook

I love my Brica

Another gem. If you’re like me and will notoriously walk into a shopping mall, only to do the Baa Baa Black Sheep (three bags full)… then this is most helpful. Provided you don’t overload your pram and have it tip over backwards from the baggage of your retail therapy. Also great for when you’re grocery shopping and run out of trolley space once your groceries are in green bags. I also use mine to hang my handbag off the table when I’m out to lunch.

Brica makes better ones than the one that looks like a camping snap hook.

12. Cushion insert

Extra cushion for life's bumps

If your pram or baby seat/capsule is still a little too roomy for your baby, we recommend getting one of these. We used one when Arddun was brand new, so she didn’t look so tiny and lost inside her capsule. We’re still using one for her Urbo. Not only does it keep her snug and comfortable in her capsule or pram, it helps keep her secure with the safety harnesses on, AND helps keep the mess away from the actual seat because it’s washable. We liked it so much, we went and got two Snuzzlers.

And there you have it – twelve baby essentials. List by no means exhaustive – didn’t even get into the baby bottle bonanza. But at least it’s a start. :)

Not a homebody

Sorry for the radio silence, but Arddun and I have been having too much fun, you see.

A few things have changed since Arddun turned 2.5 months.

  • She learnt how to go to sleep on her own.
  • She found her voice and started chatting in Baby to everyone and everything.
  • She started fitting into all the super-cute clothes everyone bought her at the baby shower.

This, combined with the fact that I’ve gotten friendly with individuals in my all-new, all-lovely Mother’s Group (thank you ACT Health) and that Canberra weather has, on occasion, remembered that it’s now Spring, has practically formed an imperative for the two of us to spend almost every afternoon painting a satellite town red.

My daughter, I am pleased to say, is turning out to be great company.

Whether it’s a day out alone at Floriade or a movie with the ladies-and-babies from Mother’s Group, we generally have a ball. There’s the occasional tetchy afternoon of course, but nothing insurmountable. Nothing that a quick jiggle in the pram or Ergo wouldn’t fix – mostly because she’s agitating for a nap.

And I have to say that as much as I understand that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, it is SO CONVENIENT to be a walking milk bar. Because ’em boobs? They are baby whisperers, man. They calm heartache and soothe tired brows and salve baby hurts and quench tiny thirsts and sate rumbly tum-tums. I don’t know that we’d be quite this outdoorsy without the boob factor.

Which is why I blog now, because I have a hunch that this glorious phase is about to be interrupted for a little while. Tony and I suspect that Arddun’s teething. I know, I know… babies are supposed to teeth, on average, at 6 months. But if that’s an average, then it suggests some sort of bell curve where perhaps some babies could be early. And while nothing’s poking through, I think there’s some furniture-dragging in her little gums, the poor munchkin. I say this with lots of mumsy sympathy now because she’s currently asleep and not latched on. Because her latest party trick is to latch on, and then GNAW.

When that happens, my yelps tend not to be mumsy and sympathetic.

So while she’s generally good-natured and gurgles like a brook, she’s now also getting all over the place with her sleeps and her feeds. I caved in the other week, and finally bought into the Manhatten Mommy’s Must-have –  I got Arddun a Sophie. Straight from France, too. Didn’t see what the big deal was, apart from the all-natural food colouring and the fact that it has a very loud squeak… until Arddun grabbed its little legs and shoved that giraffe’s nobbly head into her mouth and there was an appreciative silence, except for the systematic sounds of a baby chewing that head for all its worth. (Which would be $34.99 if you buy from Babies R Us, $29 from Baby Bunting, and $19.90 from France on ebay. For a friggin’ rubber giraffe!)

With teeth also comes the imminent weaning stage and while she’s only coming 4 months now, I’m already looking into the most efficient yet healthy way of producing baby food. Suddenly, spur-of-the-moment outings look a little less likely in the foreseeable future. My zippy little Skiphop nappy bag will probably have to be replaced with one of those Giant Mumsy Bags of Eternal Abyss. You drop a baby spoon in there, and it free-falls for days but man, it holds EVERYTHING.

And so perhaps I am mourning the impending temporary loss of easy-breezy outings with Arddun, precisely because I’ve fallen in love with her company and all our little gallivants of late. But as with everything else, I’m sure we’ll figure out a new rhythm and the beat will go on.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Crying over spilt milk

A quick word on breastfeeding: bloodyhardwork.

This has to be a quick post, because it’s 6am and I’ve been up for 3 hours. But I’m hungry, I’m slightly stressed, and my daughter might have a cold – or so we think. And while the stress is mostly about her suspected cold, the straw that really broke the camel’s back has all to do with breast milk.

For some new mothers, their milk comes gushing forth like a savanna after a drought. Their newborns face the ridiculous difficulty of getting rained on as breast milk comes spurting out of mommy. I’ve been told it’s like trying to drink from a garden sprinkler.

I am not one of those mothers. I wish I need only sneeze to fill a milk bottle. I hear of mothers who express milk by the litres (seemingly), and have freezers full of bottles ready to go. I vacillate between wanting to shake their hand, and hitting them with it. It has taken me a full month to get to a stage where I can express 100ml – and only after I’ve missed a feed. Arddun gets a cocktail at every meal, thanks to my skanky supply: half hour from the source, about 20-40ml expressed milk, and 60ml of Evil Formula. It takes me 1.5 to 2 hours to feed her every time. I am exhausted. (And yet blogging! Which tells you where my priorities are this morning. Vent first, sleep later.)

So when I spill any expressed milk – even a smidgen, like 10ml – a part of me dies because it feels like such a colossal waste. People get outraged by news of tonnes of food from Australian household fridges going to the tip every year because of over-purchasing and bad planning. Not me. But I literally kneel on the floor moaning in pain when a milk bottle accidentally falls off a fridge shelf and splashes some.

Liquid gold. That’s what breast milk is.

Earlier this week, I was absolutely stoked when I managed to express 60ml after a feed. Only to waste it all when I didn’t screw on the teat bit properly so it dribbled down Arddun’s front. And then she threw up the rest. I was so mad with myself the whole day. I even scolded the poor chit. For spitting up! She’s 4 weeks old! That is how crazy things have gotten. Utterly ridiculous.

ElilyMommy mentioned how an acquaintance’s mother-in-law was so disgusted by the concept of breastfeeding (strange woman), that she drained all the bottles of breast milk from the fridge/freezer when her daughter-in-law was at work. I was appalled BEFORE I even had Arddun. Now that I understand how bloody hard it all is, I want to take that crazy woman to the back somewhere and explain life to her. Preferably with some assortment of torture devices like endless re-runs of Teletubbies, and an electric breast pump.

I want you to do three things when you next see a mother of a newborn. I want you to ask how the whole feeding thing is going – and listen without judging. No matter what she says she’s doing, I want you to tell her that she’s doing a fantabulous job. And if she is having low milk supply issues, I want you to hug her and stroke her hair while muttering, “there, there”.

Presenting… the anti-bodies

ElilyMommy alerted me to the fact that just as the world breeds Breastfeeding nazis (my words, not hers), the world also breeds Anti-breastfeeding nazis.


Curiosity killed this cat – with laughter. I had a quick Google, and found the following gems without looking all that hard.

  • Anti-breastfeeding campaign – serious whack jobs on a massive scale. They hate God. They hate breastfeeding slightly more. The good news: I’m pretty sure it’s satire. A lampoon of misconceptions and prudishness surrounding boobs and babes. The bad news: remember how art imitates life…?
  • Found this on Yahoo Ask – but my absolute favourite was the mother who purportedly saw the act of breastfeeding as akin to animal behaviour, adding “We’re not in Uganda!” as a debating point. Yuh.
  • The one with the dentist – although interestingly, the whole cavities by kissing thing seems to have legs. Huh.
  • Anti-breastfeeding Bingo – for every time you hear that comment…

On a more serious note, this journalist puts across some valid points about how breastfeeding fascism, as she calls it, is uncalled for – and has ramifications of its own. I guess the most important take away for me is that “scientific theory”‘ changes all the time, and unfortunately I’ll have to hone my own mommy instinct and figure this out, while growing thicker skin.

Making a clean breast of it

Lots of mixed messages on the baby milk front. I’m almost certainly getting the message that if I don’t attempt to breastfeed my child for at least 6 months, there will be a special place in hell for me. Usually, that message gets tagged with the perfunctory, “but it’s ultimately your choice, and formula for babies is OK too.” But who are they kidding. The moment you whip out a bottle, you become the Irresponsible Mother. I’ve seen the dirty looks cast upon bottle wielders. It ain’t pretty. 

Take the personal history forms that the hospital sends you. There’s a page on your allergies and bowel movements and BMI and whether you speak Engrish or need an interpreter… there’s a spot about your feeding choice for the present birth (breast/formula/undecided)… which is then followed by two whole pages on breastfeeding and the education you need.

I think breastfeeding is preferable. But I loathe the societal pressure.


Here’s something in my 2-page antenatal breastfeeding form that you’ll never find in any Singapore hospital.

When asked: “Would you like any (or more) information related to breastfeeding on the following?”, one of the options includes…


… Illicit drugs. As if you’d ever admit to wanting to breastfeed your child while snorting la-la powder.

But I guess it happens enough for the hospital to add that as an option. Go figure.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑