Friday, September 19, 2008

Spread the message and save lives!

Dear family and friends,

Please forward this email to anyone you know who is pregnant, a mother or anyone who knows a mother. Mother's milk is the most natural, safest and a God send gift to mothers and babies of the world. It's sad that people do not realize that this is the way that human babies should be fed.

As mentioned by one of my friend: " The truth is, there is never a guarantee that formula milk contains all it is said or touted to contain, in all the right quantities. This China case was not the first, but neither will it be the last.

Formula contamination, or over/under supplementation of nutrients and chemicals is very real and not just confined to China.

Just a couple of years ago in Israel, there was a case of over supplementation of Vit B to dangerous levels. Again, there was no cross-check by authorities and it was not until babies fell ill and died that the problem surfaced. As in any factory/manufacturing scenario, human or machine errors are common.

It is a pity that in the midst of all this, that breastfeeding is not brought to the fore of public consciousness as the right and normal way of feeding infants. Had more Chinese babies been breastfed, and the reliance on formula been less, the impact would not be so severe. Today's Strait Times had an article on parents fretting about what to feed their babies. This is sad and all so unnecessary if breastfeeding had been promoted and supported in the first place. "

There's a lot of myths and misconception surrounding breastfeeding that has been spread intentionally or unintentionallly by the formula milk companies to the general public. As we know formula milk companies are driven by profit and some of their many of their marketing efforts are not necessary ethical. In many rural and third world countries, literally milllions of babies are dying due to malnutrition and contatmination due to unavaliibilty of clean water or lack of facilities and knowledge to sterilize bottles in preparation of formula milk.

Usually a manufacturer won't announce that the competition's product is a better choice. But when the competition is breast milk, infant formula manufacturers concede--right on the label--that breast milk is best. All the DHA and the ingredients that formula company promotes is present in breast milk in the best way to be absorb by the baby. And there are more than 200 ingredients that is present in breast milk that formula milk do not have. It's sad to say that we have to fight the odds and choose to breastfeed when it should be the most natural way if there wasn't any human intervention.

Here are some quick facts about breastfeeding and breast milk may not be widely known:

Breastmilk is
1) The ideal nourishment for human babies
it's protein content particularly suited for a baby's metabolism, the fat content is more easily absorbed and digested than the fats in cow's milk.
2) Baby cry less and happier
As breastmilk is easily absorbed, baby suffer from less colic and digestive problems. Therefore they cry less, are easier to manage and are happier :)
3) Baby are smarter
Some studies shows that breastfed babies are smarter. Some of the reasons presented are that breast milk contain all the brain building ingredients in the most readily absorb-able form for babies. And some shows that since they are easier to manage and cry less from digestive problems, they use those time observing and learning about their environment at a young age. Others shows that it may be due to mothers spending more time bonding and interacting with their children which in turn stimulates their brains at an early age.
4) Breastfed babies fall sick less A mother's milk contain cells from her immune system and antibodies against diseases to which she has been exposed. Antibodies she develops after the baby is born are also passed to the baby through the breast milk.
5) Protects the infants against certain diseases, infections and allergies

For Mothers
1) Helps mother's uterus shrink after childbirth Baby's suckling produces a hormone that helps mother's uterus shrink
2) Helps mother lose weight! Each day that a mother breastfeed is equal to losing about 500 calories per day
3) Reduced Risk of Cancer Mothers who breastfeed for at least 6 months have a decreased risk of breast, ovarian, uterine cancers.
4) Relaxes mother and baby and promotes bonding It's a wonderful way to bond with baby especially when a mother needs to return to work. For me it forces me to slow down in our busy life and spend quality time just nursing and bonding with my son
5) Most mothers can breastfeed their babies and most challenges faced can be addressed and corrected. There's only a few medical conditions known that the mother should not breastfeed. One of them is AIDS.
6) Working Mothers can breastfeed!
With a breast pump and a few minutes at work each day, a mother can continue to breastfeed her baby for as long as she wants to. Although some may argue that a breast pump is expensive, it saves you money on formula milk, medical bills when your child fall sick.
7) Saves Money and its convenient!
Breast milk is free and readily avaliable at the correct temperature and free from contaminant. Saving you substantial amount of money from buying formula milk.

Being a mother myself, I manage to successfully breastfed my son till 2 years and 3 months until he self wean. Although natural, breastfeeding may be faced with many challenges and many breastfeeding support group will be able to share knowledge and encourage other mothers to breastfeed. If you do know or anyone who is facing issues with breastfeeding, I will be more than happy to share my experience and knowledge or direct them to someone who can help them. I am currently volunteering at a breastfeeding mother support group as a trained counsellor- if they are situated in Singapore, they can contact +65 6339 3558 to get help.

To read more here are some great links or just google 'breast milk' or 'breastfeeding' you will get a lot of great information

Here are some links re: the Sanlu Milk contamination case

Spread the message and you may just save lives!
Lets bring nature's way of feeding our babies back.

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