Is it True Some Women Can’t Breastfeed?

10/01/2017

I have lived in Malaysia for the better part of 10 years and have absolutely loved it.  I love the people, the food, the cultures and everything Malaysia has to offer.  That being said, there were many differences between my American culture and that of SE Asia, and one of the most interesting things I’ve heard was some women can’t breastfeed, or are not able to breastfeed.

This is not something I have come across frequently in my own culture – if anything, breastfeeding was more a choice for moms and moms-to-be.  When I gave birth to my own daughter in the United States before raising her in Malaysia, the hospital was kind enough to provide me with a breastfeeding consultant.  This was a free service for moms who chose to breastfeed, and let me say it wasn’t easy in the beginning.  In fact, I probably would have given up if it wasn’t for my consultant.

At times I was afraid I wasn’t producing enough milk for my infant. I was afraid she was always hungry and several times I wanted to give up and put her on formula.  Lucky for me, my breastfeeding consultant was there every step of the way coaching me through what I thought were my own shortcomings.  Eventually, I let down and my daughter had more than enough breast-milk to sustain her.

Living in Malaysia and hearing the rumors that some women can’t breastfeed picqued my curiousity.  Is it true some women can’t breastfeed?  If so, why and what reason would prevent them from doing so?  So I did a little research on behalf of my own interest and that of Little Human Scholar preschool, kindergarten, playschool and nursery in Petaling Jaya.

Is it True Some Women’ Can’t Breastfeed?

As it turns out, it IS true – there are some women who can’t breastfeed!  Being from the United States where breastfeeding has become a progressive movement, there is a lot of shame and guilt cast upon those who don’t breastfeed their children either out of choice or because of some medical reason.  I read one heart-breaking story here of a woman who couldn’t breastfeed and the shame and judgment she faced with her infant.

Yes, there are those who give up breastfeeding before really giving their breasts a chance to let down, and use the old “I am one of those who can’t breastfeed” as an excuse to stop trying, but there are also those who are

  1. on certain medications, or
  2. who have had breast surgery, or
  3. who simply don’t produce enough milk due to insufficient glandular tissue, or
  4. who have anemia, HIV, heart disease or some other serious illness, or
  5. who have cancer and are going through radiation or chemotherapy.

When looking for statistics as to the amount of women who cannot breastfeed, I was shocked to say I couldn’t find a conclusive number and study relevant to the world population.  Many statistics available were taken from suburban families in the United States – those part of the middle-class white population who were college-educated and had access to proper nutrition.   But what about the rest of the world?

While I couldn’t find any global studies on the amount of women who can’t breastfeed, I have to say this was a big lesson I learned from Malaysia!

If you are a new mom and are looking to breastfeed your child, keep in mind that it takes time to let down and produce milk.  In the beginning, colostrum is a clearish, yellowish or orangish liquid which comes out late in pregnancy and after birth.  It doesn’t look like milk but it is chock-full of carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to help keep your baby healthy.

It is recommended to breastfeed your child 8 to 12 times every 24 hours for the first one to two months.  After this, your child will begin feeding less often and you can feed them every 3 to 5 hours for the next couple months.  This trend continued for me until I was breastfeeding every 7 to 8 hours until my daughter was a year old.

Whether you are looking to breastfeed or have your child on formula, there is no right or wrong way.  As long as they are healthy and receiving the proper nutrition in a healthy environment, you are doing well!

Little Human Scholars Nursery

If you are living or working in the Petaling Jaya area near University Hospital, Jaya One, Jaya 33, PJ Old Town, PJ New Town or the IT Mall, I would highly recommend checking out Little Human Scholars.  Whether you are breastfeeding your two-month old infant or have them on formula, Little Human Scholars has caring, loving and compassionate nannies who will care for your infant as their own and will follow the feeding schedule you have set for your child.

The best part aside from how convenient the location is this is a boutique nursery for extremely reasonable prices.  Imagine all the perks of an international nursery for neighborhood nursery prices!

We are currently accepting enrolment in our nursery for both half-day and full-day daycare.  If you are interested in visiting our centre and experiencing a walk-through, feel free to call one of the following numbers:

+603 7932 1107

+6017 730 3025

Remember, don’t let anyone tell you your choice was wrong – whether you breastfeed or not, you can still be a great parent!

Jana Moreno,

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