By: Dominique Goh
Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts you could give your child. It is not only nature’s gift of the best nourishment for your child but also a chance for you to build up your bond between mother and child. Many moms these days are pro-breastfeeding and I’m proud to be one of them.
Introducing breastfeeding to a young child need not be a difficult or awkward topic to approach. Here are some ways which my friends and I have used with our kids to increase their awareness of breastfeeding:
1. Explaining to them straight up that mummy’s breast produces milk for the baby to drink and how the baby drinks by latching on.
2. Let your child see documentaries of mammals feeding their young and how to other creatures breastfeed their young. By doing so they will know that it is normal for babies to be breastfed and besides humans other mammals do it too.
3. Answer truthfully any questions which your child have about breastfeeding and let them know that it’s okay for them to be curious about it.
I breastfeed all my children and am still breastfeeding my girl who is currently 17months old. I’ve had my elder boys ask me many weird questions. They range from the following:
- How do you know that she gets enough milk?
- So if you eat chocolate the baby will have chocolate milk?
- Can she eat other stuff like we do?
I had to think quite a bit before formulating a satisfactory answer which would both educate and fill his curiosity.
Question 1: How do you know that she gets enough milk?
Answer: Mummy’s milk is produced when the baby suckles at the breast and the amount of milk produced will be enough for each feed as it is based on demand and supply. If baby is still hungry she will suckle longer at the breast till she has enough. The nutrients in mummy’s milk is enough to satisfy the growing needs of your baby sister so she doesn’t need any other supplements like formula milk.
Question 2: So if you eat chocolate the baby will have chocolate milk?
Answer: No. It doesn’t work this way. There is no special flavoring like chocolate, strawberry or banana. Milk produced by mummy has a slightly sweet taste which makes it delicious for the baby to drink. (I did tell my son that if he too wanted to try mummy’s milk as he may have forgotten the taste I would express some for him to drink. Feeling embarrassed he passed on the offer.)
Question 3: Can she eat other stuff like we do?
Answer: Unfortunately no. Your sister is still young and doesn’t have teeth yet so she is unable to process other type of food in her tummy besides mummy’s milk. She will have to wait till she is 6 months old before we will try other baby foods like purees with her.
How would you promote breastfeeding awareness to your young child?
Dominique Goh, Singaporean elementary school teacher, freelance writer and mom of three who is passionate about parenting and educating kids. In her free time you can see her dabbling in photography, cooking and cake decorating and blogging at Dominique’s Desk.