19 June 2011, by Dannie Cho
So, a couple of weeks back, I went for breastfeeding class. It was a roaring success.
Haha… seriously, I WAS at breastfeeding class, but obviously not as an instructor. The class was part of the antenatal program that KKH organises for clueless parents-to-be and a nominal fee. The thing about these classes at KKH is that they are all taught by uber-experienced nurses, physiotherapists and doctors. And they give the facts in a way that’s very comforting for Singaporeans – “This way is the best. We do it this way. It will be the best for you.”
Take, for example, the position to assume when giving birth. The nurse just told the mums-to-be, “You will be sitting on the bed, with the back inclined so that you’re leaning back slightly. That is your optimal birthing position. Some Western societies say it’s better to give birth in a squatting position. That may be true. But your OB will not be able to do his best if he has to bend down so low. So you decide what is more important.”
Wow. Sweet! I love it when practical tips are dished out like that! So I am going to dish out some practical tips on my own.
This weeks tips are about tits.
1) Unless circumstances really do not allow, KKH recommends that you (your wife, if you’re a husband reading this) breastfeeds the child for at least 6 months.
2) Given that the standard maternity leave is only 4 months, the mother will need to express milk, if she intends to keep it up for the recommended 6 months.
3) And since the milk comes from the nipple, women who feed their children breast milk should avoid soaping their breasts during this time.
4) To get the baby to take to the nipple, you would need to first place the baby’s chin at your (the wife’s!) breast, then move the baby downwards till the nipple aligns with the mouth. (I did it a couple of nights later to see how it feels. I don’t think the wife realised it. But it feels really natural to me! :p)
5) Sometimes, the milk does not flow. This could be because of blocked ducts. The mother needs to continue trying to feed, but for all the supportive husbands out there, this is where the fun starts! And fun = breast massage.
HOW TO MASSAGE A BREAST
Sorry ah… I asked all my friends on Facebook for a picture of a breast and no one would help me out. You need to settle for the above GIMP’d image instead. So, looking at this perfectly shaped breast, we need to imagine it as the face of a clock. 12 o’clock is the top, 6 o’clock is the bottom. Get it? Now, even though I said it was going to be fun, it’s probably going to hurt like hell for the missus. This is because you really need to press as hard as possible, but please, please be sensible with the amount of pressure you apply, okay?
1) Place thumb and forefinger on the nipple at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions respectively. Rub gently in a clockwise and counter-clockwise motion. You would be effectively rubbing 11 o’clock, to 1 o’clock at the top, and 5 o’clock to 7 o’clock at the bottom.
2) Place thumb and forefinger on the nipple at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. Rub it in the same way, covering 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock to 10 o’clock.
3) You’ve done the nipples. Now, do the whole breast. Both of them.
The thing is, there are a whole host of other benefits from breast massages. You can easily Google them if you need help convincing your wife it’s a great idea. What this means is that you really don’t have to wait till baby is out before working on getting the ducts all primed and ready to go. The wife can do it herself as a daily routine, and you can help out when you’re having a relaxing weekend at home and don’t have to rush to work. And while you’re at it, enjoy it! Plant little kisses on them and murmur words of encouragement. Sing them glorious songs of praise. Use your lips instead of your fingers (daily massages can be much gentler than when you die-die need milk right now). And if the wife gets all heated up from this exercise?
Well… I’d say that nothing is going to stop me from milking those benefits!