哺乳媽媽經

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1992 / 10月

文‧陳雅玲


林純惠,今年卅八歲,大學畢業。為了孩子,她選擇做為一個全職媽媽,一幌眼,已經十年。

 

她是個標準的母乳信奉者,力行的結果,第一次失敗了,卻終於在第二個孩子身上獲得全然的成功。讓我們來聽聽她的經驗。


十年前我懷老大時,就一心想餵母乳。那時餵奶粉已經很普遍了,但我看到一篇報導說:母乳是最理想的嬰兒食品。我想,既然它是最好的,我就應該給我的孩子。

天賦仍需啟發

那時懂得也不多,單純到一隻奶瓶也沒買,生完孩子,住了幾天醫院,就回家去了。由於醫院規定四小時餵一次,對餵母乳來說刺激不夠,那時只疑惑為什麼自己奶量不足?心情很沮喪。先生只好匆匆出去買了奶瓶、消毒鍋回來,讓我開始混合哺乳,每頓先讓孩子吸母奶,再吃奶粉。結果奶量愈來愈少,四個多月就完全被奶瓶取代了。

懷第二個孩子時,我認識了國際母奶會的朋友,大家常常聚會,交換心得。我才知道,其實當年餵老大時只要再堅持一段時間,不用奶瓶補充奶粉,奶量還是會回來;而且寶寶吸奶瓶省力得多,他當然懶得費勁吸母奶了。

她們還教我懷孕第七個月就開始做乳房護理,每天用濕毛巾輕輕拉乳頭,把它「鍛鍊」得堅強些,才能在生下孩子後,耐得住他一天七、八次的吸吮。因為現代女性從發育開始,乳房就被保護得十分嚴密,從沒經過「風吹雨淋」,太嫩了。

標準化奶粉寶寶

結果老二我餵成了,而且餵到兩歲多,她到現在都還有記憶。對此她也很得意,非常高興自己有這種福氣。

比較吃母奶和吃牛奶的孩子有什麼不同,我有一個朋友,她前兩個孩子吃奶粉,老三自己餵,她常說小的比較聰明。雖然這有科學證明,但我一向不在乎這點,我只希望孩子人格健全,將來做個快樂的人。比較我的老大與老二,老二的創造性、自信心都比較強,對人也比較敏感,比較懂得領情。我想這和哺餵方式有關。

老大我是照著奶粉罐上的說明,多少西西的開水加進幾匙奶粉,絕對標準化地餵養;老二餵母奶,就不能固定幾個小時餵一次,她餓了哭了就得給她吃,吃飽了,她就睡覺,強迫她再多吃一口都不可能。

從吃的方面,她就比姐姐得到更多個別尊重,受到較少規格化的壓制,我想對她的人格特質有很大影響。

也是生了老二之後,我才體會到這點,開始改變對老大的教養方式,不再處處拿「標準」套著她。

月子補不進去?

其實餵母奶對母親更有好處,至少得乳癌的機率降低很多。懷孕末期就會感覺脹奶,內分泌的自然作用要硬生生把它中斷,難免沒有後遺症。

我還常告訴朋友,月子要坐得好,一定要餵母奶。因為餵母奶每天大約多消耗一千大卡熱量,食慾自然好,代謝也快,這樣補的東西才能吸收,過去積存在體內的廢物、毒素也有機會排除。

生老大時我母奶餵得不多,每天沒什麼食慾,老奇怪為什麼媽媽輩的人講起當年坐月子能整隻雞吃下去;生老二時全餵母奶,每天大量進補,消化正常,結果身體真的變好了,不再老愛感冒,我這才真正知道什麼叫坐月子。但如果以傳統的補法卻餵孩子奶粉,結果不是吃不下,就是在身上堆下一堆贅肉,以後再去減肥,多沒意義?

現在兩個孩子上小學了,我常以過來人的身分向朋友、鄰居、教會裡的姊妹傳「母奶福音」,甚至在公車上遇到大肚子的準媽媽,也會談起來。實在是因為母乳的好處太多了!

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近期文章

EN

The Gospel of a Breast-Feeding Mother

Elaine Chen /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

Lin Chun Hui, a college graduate, turned 38 this year. For the sake of her children, she decided to be a full-time mother. Ten years passed in a flash.

She is a typical believer in breast feeding. Despite her great effort, she unsuccessfully breast fed her first child but was entirely successful breast feeding her second. Let's hear her speak of her experiences.


Ten years ago, when I had my first baby, I decided to breast feed. By then, using formula to feed babies was already quite common, but I had read a newspaper article extolling mother's milk as the ideal baby food. And I thought that since it was the best, I ought to give it to my child.

Nature's gift still needs direction: At that time, I didn't understand very much. I was so naive that I hadn't even bought a bottle. After giving birth, I was in the hospital for a few days, and then I went home. Because the hospital stipulated feeding once every four hours, there was not enough stimulation for breast feeding, and I had my doubts: Why wasn't I producing enough milk? I got very depressed and so my husband hurried out to buy milk bottles and a sterilizer, and we began mixing breast feeding with bottle feeding. Every meal the baby would first be breast fed and then drink from a bottle. The result was that my breasts produced less and less milk, and after some four months the breast feeding had completely been replaced with bottle feeding.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I met some friends who were members of the International Association of Breast Feeding. We would frequently get together to exchange lessons from our experience. Only then did I find out that if I had persisted in breast feeding my first child just a little longer and hadn't used bottle feeding as a supplement, my breasts would have quickly gone back to producing the proper amount of milk. And it's easier for a child to suck on a bottle. Given the choice, it's only to be expected that she'd be too lazy to exert herself sucking on her mother's breasts.

These discussions also taught me that I should begin to exercise my breasts in the seventh month of my pregnancy, using a wet cloth to gently pull at my nipples to make them tougher. Only with such training will the nipples bear to be sucked by a new born seven or eight times a day. Modern women pamper their breasts from the time they develop onwards, and having borne no hardship, the breasts are too tender.

Bottle feeding by the book: The result was that my second child I breast fed for more than two years. She still proudly remembers this and is extremely happy about her good fortune. Are there any differences between breast-fed and bottle-fed children? I have a friend who has three children, the older two of whom were bottle fed and the younger of whom was breast fed. She often says that the younger child is more intelligent.

While there is scientific evidence to support this observation, I'm not concerned about this point. I just hope that the child's personality is healthy and complete and that it will grow up to be a happy person. As for comparing my two children, the second is more creative, confident, sensitive and appreciative of others' help. I think that this is related to the methods used to feed them milk.

For my older child, I made the formula according to the directions on the label, adding X spoons of the powder to Y cc's of formula. She was fed in a very standardized way. For my second child, there was no set number of hours between feedings. When she'd get hungry and start crying, I'd feed her. When she was full, she'd go to sleep. There was no way to press her to drink some more milk.

As for eating, her own inclinations were given more respect than her older sister's, and we put less pressure on her to conform to rules. I think that this has had an effect on her character. It wasn't until giving birth to my second child that I understood this, and I began to change the way I was rearing my older child. I stopped always trying to make her be like the norm.

The month of confinement after childbirth: no help? The fact of the matter is that breast feeding has even more benefits for the mother. At the very least, the chance of getting breast cancer is reduced. At the end of the pregnancy, one will begin to feel that one's breasts are full of milk. It's hard to imagine that suddenly cutting off this internal secretion wouldn't lead to some aftereffects.

I often tell my friends that to take care of themselves best during the month after giving birth, they definitely need to breast feed. Because a mother burns 1000 calories a day breast feeding, she naturally has a good appetite and her metabolism will speed up. Only in this way will her body be able to absorb nutrients and expel the wastes and toxins that have accumulated in the body.

When I gave birth to my first child, I didn't breast feed him much, and I didn't have much of an appetite. I always thought it was strange how women of my mother's generation would talk of their eating a whole chicken at a time during that first month of recuperation. When I gave birth to my second child, I was able to take in a lot of nutrition every day and my digestion was normal. The result was that my health really changed for the better. I didn't easily catch colds any more, and I finally truly understood what is meant by the Chinese term of "sitting a month" (rest and recuperation for the first month after birth). But if one uses the traditional recuperative methods while bottle feeding the child, the result will be that you will either lose your appetite or your body will accumulate a lot of useless fat, which you'll have to take off by dieting later--how meaningless!

Now my two children are in elementary school, and I often speak as a woman of experience to my friends, neighbors, and the women at my church, spreading "the gospel of breast feeding." It's gotten to the point where I will even start speaking to expectant mothers on the bus. It's just because the advantages of breast feeding are so great.

 

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