Thursday, November 02, 2006

Win Wean Situation

I don’t remember ever seeing my mother breastfeed my brother. She must have done it when I wasn’t watching, but no I cant recall in any of my childhood memory ever seeing her hold a baby to her breast.

And I don’t remember ever seeing the act of breastfeeding by anyone at all. But despite having never seen it, I always have the impression that a child is only a son/daughter to the person who nurses him/her. And it is a no-joke matter, that you become obligated to that woman as their child for every drop of milk you drink from her breast. Or something like that.

A story I remember well is about an auntie whose child was born sick. Something to do with his brain and nerve system. A beautiful baby but the mother refused to accept the son and by that refused him the breast milk. He was ignored and the father took over the role of nurturing him. The boy never did acquire the use of his limbs and when the boy was about 6, he fell down the stairs and went into spasm. As he was struggling through his last few breaths, the mother frantically tried to give him the breast. He didn’t get one drop at all.

That cousin of mine died many years ago. I was about his age when that happened. The story left a huge impression on my mind on the importance of breast milk and I don’t mean it in a biological way.

But then again, having never seen the act, I thought breastmilk is only something that you give babies in the first 44 days of their life.

My sister has 4 kids with the eldest being 14. But then again, I have never seen her breastfeed the kids either. Granted, I only go back Kluang occasionally so I must have missed it.

When I was pregnant with Dot, among the first few things that I bought were botol susu, thermos etc, you know the whole bottle feeding stuff including the bakul pasar too. It never occurred to me that I had a choice. You would think that I am internet-blind and as ignorant as a cavewoman for having never read anything about the wonders of breast milk! But whoa, wait a minute, cavewoman breastfed their babies! Plastic and glass were not invented yet.

And after more- than-12-hours-of-labor-pain-fully-dilated-push-breathe-push-breathe-induce-her-try-pushing-again-what-cannot-baby-distressed only to be offered a consent letter to sign so the baby could be delivered via c-section, I felt cheated of the experience. They showed me the baby and then tucked her away because I was too drugged. When I was sober enough to appreciate the pink bundle, I discovered to my dismay that I didn’t feel that instant click with her. There was no recognition. And I thought after the birth, I would hold her, me in my sweat and her all bloodied and we would greet each other knowingly. The trauma of giving birth and being born would be shared like true comrades and mother-daughter would immediately bond for life. Nope. Sorry. Bubble burst. Didn’t happen like that. I didn’t quite bond with her. She could be anyone’s baby.

I told the paediatrician and the obgyn,why didn’t I feel like what I thought new mothers should feel?

They suggested breastfeeding.

Not yet, I said. I was in too much pain to accommodate nursing a wriggling and impatient baby.

After I was discharged, Yamtuan packed us all in his little kancil and drove us down to Kluang.

By that time, I was very worried about this bonding thingy. Inspired by the serene pictures I have always seen of mothers nursing babies, I tried it. And I tell you, it was nothing like the pictures. More often than not, both me and Dot would be crying in frustration. We both didn’t quite know how to do it. Left right sit lie down upside down I tried everything. I surfed the internet and tried the guide for idiots, everything. And unashamedly, I asked all that came visiting how to do it. Half of the kampong makciks must have seen the whole splendor of my breast!

My mom or sister weren’t the best of coaches because they were not quite practitioners themselves. After about two weeks of hit-and-miss, I called up a friend and cried my eyes out. It was perhaps, my smartest move. She happened to be a staunch advocate of breastfeeding. A few days after the call, I received a parcel from her. It contained a few books, all about breastfeeding. Why it is impossible for mammals not being able to nurse their babies. Cool. I gained the confidence and finally, thank God, Dot and I both graduated. And true enough, it helped us bond.

And so convinced was I with the milk that I didn’t stop after 44 days. I continued on and at two months, I though, why not do it to 6 months and more months after that and I finally stop when I was strongly advised to. I was pregnant again with major placenta praevia.

Weaning her was not easy.

And then Sun arrived. For a while, I had both babies on my chest and felt every inch like a cat.

Sun will turn 2 soon and he was weaned off about a month ago. It was easier with him.

Let me share with you the things that I have tried to wean them off:-

Bitter Gourd juice.
Effective but only for a while as it dries easily. The bitterness is easy to get accustomed to and you have to keep a steady supply of the juice. When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night, you risk being arrested for using the lesung batu. Your neighbors will not appreciate it very much. Trust me.

Effective. A true baby deterrent. The mere smell is enough to make them avoid the area. But beware that the caffeine will keep the baby up and about. Expect a cranky hyper-bouncy baby. Smell of caffeine alone is enough to enlarge blood vessels and keep them awake. And you too. And probably the neighborhood as well.

And claim the red to be blood. The success of this will depend very much on the how much your kid cares about you. Dot was worried that my breast was bleeding. She avoided the breast totally after this. Sun didn’t care. Pain, pain lah, he wanted his sustenance. But at least i was given the choice, whether to forgive the kid or pinch his nose then and there. Oh, i let him live.

Dead cockroach.
Very effective to deter everyone including husbands, friends and foe. But, with the risk of stating the obvious - cockroaches dead or alive are not exactly clean to put on the body.

The best deterrent so far. Especially the extra mint type. It will be too hot for the baby and the tingling sensation it gives is absolutely out of this world.

There are still many things to experiment with. Crushed pil drakula? Ground pepper? Minyak gamat?


Blogger sushi said...

Kak Ood.. I believe you are much older than I am.. or that feeling of respect for you has creeped in me eversince I have been a regular visitor to your blog.

I went thru labor as well, 3 cm dilation and 2days later, i had c section. I did not feel any bond at all with my son. I felt distant with him.. maybe bcs of what I had to go thru. Breastfeeding was a failure. Cos i barely had milk. I felt like a failure as a mother. I felt I was half a mother due to both incidents.
Alhamdulillah my son is healthy and fine eventhough I could count the millilitres of breastmilk i fed him. He is 3 and now I'm 5mths pregnant and expecting a girl in March 07. I hope that it'll be a different experience this time.

2:55 AM  
Blogger anedra said...

cili padi, minyak cap kapak, belacan, daddy-on-breast (haha). Not that I am saying I tried any of these (haha again)! Experiment at your own risk!

U did well girl! Two year's of breastfeeding. And I agree, there's no better way to bond kan?

2:58 AM  
Blogger JoKontan said...


Semua tuuu Tak Jalan Oood..

Dia ameknya tissue, dia lap, and comfortably continue.

Further, coffee is particularly dicey for the baby's future. One is practically producing SBs*, addicted to kopisusu years to come.

* Starbuck Babies

5:34 PM  
Blogger JoKontan said...

One more,. Tumpang Lalu Ooody.

Daddy-On-Breast !!!

Ha ha ha HAAAAAAAA!!!Syyyy. That mebbe effective. Kena coba laa.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous kna said...

Have u heard the story about the two twins with one monopolizing the mother's mammary glands and thus depriving the other one of his share?One day while his twin was asleep the precocious but thinning lad put arsenic on the nips.The father ended up dead or was it the neighbour?

Jokontan is getting excited,hahahaha!


6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

some people can be so lucky....two an a half years back i wish n wish that i have d advantage of breastfeeding H so that we can bond like normal mother & child bonding.
i can only pray my hugging and kissing her every second of her waking time will compensate.....

& oh! on jokontan's comment...have you read about the recent Paul Mc Cartney's divorce? His wife claims that he got angry when the wife breastfeed their baby...claiming the breast is for him alone.


11:19 PM  
Blogger noha chomel said...

thanks kak ood for sharing this, wonder i did not feel any bond with my dotter, i do loves her, tapi takleh macam org breastfeed kot

takpe, next baby i will try to breastfeed him/her

6:55 PM  
Blogger Nazrah said...

daddy on breast can be counterproductive juga...u will produce more more milk due to overstimulation.but i am sure after 2 years, better daddy than baby huh.

went aishah arrived, i was johnson and johnson baby moment at all albeit the natural birth when i first laid eyes on aishah,she gave me a long piercing stare and a huge pout to boot, like i have done something wrong kinda look. macam i kacau dia punya tido or something.she hardly cried. kueeekk sikit je masa nurse bersihkan mulut, that's it. muka garang sampai lah dah malam baru nak bonding-bonding ngan mak dia konon...dah haus baru reti cari mak eh...

but u have done great with the kids...mmg mammie rock lah!

11:06 PM  
Blogger OOD said...

Dear Sushi,
contrary to my passion in the matter and what the books say, i believe a person is a product of nature + nurture. So even if they dont get the 'liquid gold' (a term used in one of the books), the kid will turn out fine if nurtured aka get good pendidikan. And what with the technology nowadays, powdered milk has been formulated to imitate as close as possible to breastmilk. so dont worry too much about it.

As for your 'inability' to produce enough, trust me, it is all in the head and the technique. Get books, read them and gain the confidence. You WILL produce enough, it is only natural. It's not the size of the container. If you are stressed or anxious, you wont 'perform' well either.

I have some good books, will gladly loan it to you. Email me.

cili padi? Isnt it like Total Ouch? Belacan i may want to try. What about petai, jering, kerdas? Minyak kapak sounds good too. Hilang pening ye tak? Hehehe...

Jo Brudder,
DOB? Itu memulakan permusuhan anak beranak namanya.

psst... berkesan ka? pernah try ka?

kalau ikut cerita KNA, Jo brudder dah tergoleg-dog oledi. hehehe..

11:25 PM  
Blogger OOD said...

Dear KJ,
the books say even man can produce milk. Once in newspaper appeared a story about a man who mothered his kids after the wife passed way. He lactated!
And you dont have to be the biological mother to start producing milk either. Any mammals can, theoretically.

(i'd like to see Jo try)

but the pokok of the matter is, love over rules. You have overwhelming love for the little one, she's practically receiving torrential hugs and kisses from you all her waking hours, you dont need the act of breastfeeding to bond!

she is a very very very lucky kid, KJ. And you a fine mom.

Noha the Chomel,
books tend to romanticise child birth too much kan? I expected instant bonding to happen, but it did not.

If you plan to breastfeed the next time around, GREAT! You know that there are quite a number of support group for breastfeeding moms? Some of them can even visit you at home while you were on confinement to teach you how to do it right.

Good luck sistah! I am standing right next to you if you need help. Just holler!

Nazrah love,
yes, DOB can help increase production so NOT the method to choose for weaning! Hahaha..
but leceh lah girlfriend, asek spit spit. In the first 2 years, memang the area is Kawasan Larangan, tembak mati upon sighting kind of situation. Abeh kalo dok dapat baby every 2 years, how leh?

what DID you do to darling aishah sampai like that marah? Aiyohh.. maybe you push a bit too pushy?

And girlfriend, my kids call Yamtuan as abah longggggggg before they realise that Nenen is not the way to address me. Sheeesh... the kids are just using me, i swear!

11:43 PM  
Blogger OOD said...

And Sushi,
to add a bit more. You were NEVER a failure. A mother is more than just providing milk and giving birth secara normal kan?

Here's hoping the baby girl will be delivered the way you want her to be!

*high five!*

11:50 PM  
Blogger mommy@lif said...

though i didn't directly breastfeed my son (preterm baby) but i still pumped and that lasted for about 40 days, alhamdulillah..

and i have high respect for bf mommies. you guys are so cool!

7:29 PM  

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