You may skip this post if you decide not to get married and/or have children. But if you do, please google “initiation of breastfeeding”, or “breast crawl”, or Inisiasi Menyusu Dini (IMD). Then make sure that you take your part seriously, because breastfeeding success is subject to teamwork; a mother and her support system.
I don’t know what will happen in the next 25-30 years, but in my time, breastmilk is scientifically proven to be the best food for newborns, and the world is encouraging mothers to breastfeed their children. There have been tips and advices on how to breastfeed successfully. Most of the words I heard are: “You can do it!”, “It’s a natural process, every mother can do it!”, and “If a bitch can breastfeed her puppies, so can you!”.
Nah, I made the last one up, but the first two are real and your wife will get that a lot. If she’s like me, you better be careful with your choice of words. To me, those words can be encouraging and burdening at the same time. I’m the kind of woman who would think, “What if my breastmilk won’t come out? Have I done something wrong? My child will be starving! Good Lord, I’m a terrible mother!” and stress everything out.
“Mamas, newborns are smart enough to find their mother’s nipple”. ARE YOU SAYING MY BABY IS STUPID??
During my clinical study in med school, I got a lecture from a senior doctor who was also a famous breastfeeding counsellor. She taught me how dramatic and natural it was for a baby to crawl and find his mother’s nipple. It really got in my mind and so just until a month before you were born, I kept imagined how easy it would be to breastfeed you. Because IT’S NATURAL, they said. BABIES ARE SMART, they said.
Aaannddd.., what really happened?
We failed our IMD, Son. My breastmilk came out after 2 days. I never had a fridge full of expressed breastmilk. But in the end, we managed to finish 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Today, you’re 14 months old, still partially breastfed, and I think you’re alright.
I did thank my lecturer about the science and importance of breastfeeding. But mostly, I thanked fellow mommies who shared their IMD disappointments, just a few weeks before your birthday. Otherwise, I would’ve got really stressed and maybe failed breastfeeding. It gave me confidence that it’s okay for me to fail IMD or even fail to express breastmilk in the first 72 hours because many of them did and they continued breastfeeding later on.
So your wife needs to know that breastfeeding is really a ”hope for the best, prepare for the worst” trial. You eat well, stay healthy, seek reliable information, put your best effort to be ready to breastfeed, and most importantly, be happy. That means to be able to worry less about the undesired situation.
This is why I also thank mothers who failed to breastfeed completely. It made me think that even the kids given formula milk turned out okay. A friend of mine was not breastfed and she was the class valedictorian. The bottom line is, your “worst case” might not be that bad. There will be a way and if you have a good intention, Allah is there to show you.
She is not alone
Breastfeeding is mother-child business but you can always make contribution just like your father did. You could help her take care of herself. Drive her to her OBGYN. Show that you care and want to be part of it. Don’t put all the blame on her if things flop. You can share my story and tell her that most of (if not all) people I know failed their IMD. Your father once told me,
“You have been doing the best you can for our child. Whatever happens, we will face it together.”
And that worked for me 🙂
Happy World Breastfeeding Week.