August 1 marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week. Here’s how to celebrate breastfeeding in Singapore, mama!
World Breastfeeding Week 2018 runs from August 1-7, are you ready, mama? Launched in 1992, it’s an annual celebration and awareness campaign that highlights the benefits of breastfeeding in 170 countries across the globe – including Singapore.
As ever, we feel it’s important to highlight all the ways you can celebrate breastfeeding (and seek out support on your own journey) here in the Little Red Dot. Breastfeeding can be absolutely wonderful and rewarding, but it can also be challenging, isolating and demoralizing; this annual celebration is a fab way for mamas to enhance their support system and know that they are part of an important worldwide movement.
Breastfeeding has been in the news quite a bit lately. On the down side, it’s somehow become a political bargaining chip. On the plus side, it made worldwide headlines when swimsuit model Mara Martin walked a runway while breastfeeding her 5-month-old daughter. The photo of a strong, glowing Martin confidently striding down the runway (major props, we’ve never tried walking and feeding at the same time!) has gone viral, and is all the more remarkable because it was apparently a spur-of-the-moment decision (the show started later than planned, and as we all know, hungry babies have zero regard for schedules!).
“I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day,” Martin wrote on Instagram. “I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!”
At Sassy Mama we are all for normalizing breastfeeding, and while we understand the critique that the photo has instead glamourized breastfeeding (“[This is] less about advocating for things like suitable pumping accommodations in the workplace—things that meaningfully allow women to ‘DO IT ALL’—than it is making breastfeeding beautiful and attractive.”, writes Jezebel), we choose to count anything and everything that puts breastfeeding in the spotlight (and not squirreled away in a toilet stall) as a win.
But speaking of breastfeeding at work, we’ve clearly still got a ways to go. In yet more recent news, two studies have found that attitudes from co-workers and support (or lack thereof) from employers can have a huge impact on whether a mama is able to continue breastfeeding her baby. As we all know by now, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding a baby for at least 6 months; these studies showed that co-workers had a bigger impact than a woman’s own family on whether she was able to pump, or else quit breastfeeding. From providing clean facilities for pumping and storage, to simply supporting a fellow co-worker by covering for her, remember that there is much you can do to support your fellow women on their journey.
Along the same lines, this recent article from Harper’s Bazaar, while focused on the challenges of pumping in the workplace in the United States in particular, is quite thought-provoking for anyone who’s tried to balance breastfeeding with work, and the various stories it shares from real women have a truly universal appeal.
In short, we’ve got a ways to go. Let’s do this, mamas!
Events in Singapore
First off, if you’re nervous about breastfeeding out of the house, mama, be sure to check out our 6 P’s to Ensure Success Breastfeeding in Public. It’ll ease your mind to have a plan beforehand, and we promise: it gets a little bit easier every time!
You’ll also want to bookmark our Ultimate Guide to Singapore’s Best Nursing Rooms!
- Breastfeeding Mothers Support Group will once again hold the annual “Big Latch-On” from Saturday 4 August from 9:30am to 12:30pm at NUH. Mamas are invited to latch, pump or express milk in synchronicity with a worldwide movement, both as a means of celebrating their ability to comfortably breastfeed in public, and feel solidarity and comfort surrounded by other mamas. You can also look forward to expert talks, a babywearing demo, babywearing Zumba (so fun!), and fun activities for kids.The whole event is FREE and meant to be a fun day for the entire family, so round up the troops and head down to celebrate, mama! Seats are limited so be sure to register ASAP.Click here for all the details!
- Mums Club SG has teamed up with leading breast pump companies Medela and Spectra to put together an afternoon of learning, moving and socialising for mamas-to-be and new mamas on the afternoon of Saturday 4 August. You can look forward to yummy cookies from Singapore Lactation Bakes, some prenatal exercise moves, and a lucky dip with prizes include strollers, breast pumps, and much more.Click here for all the details!
- Have you entered our giveaway for free tickets to the premiere screening of Tully on 8 August yet, mama? While not strictly tied to World Breastfeeding Week, it’s nonetheless a real and compelling look at the challenges of new motherhood (breastfeeding included – have you seen the clip of when she knocks over a bottle of freshly pumped milk?!), and should make for a great night to spend with your mama pals. Even if you don’t win free tickets, you can still score a 10% discount with our special promo code.Click here for all the details!
- On 16 August, La Leche League Singapore will host its monthly meeting, which is open to all pregnant ladies, breastfeeding mamas, babies and toddlers. It’s a wonderful way to meet other mamas going through the same experiences as you, and to discuss any issues or challenges with LLL-trained breastfeeding counselors.Click here for all the details!
Our Fave Breastfeeding Products
Of course breast pumps are a massive asset for working mamas (and any mama who needs a break and wants to give her bub a bottle every now and then!). Medela, Spectra, and Phillips are the biggie brands; you’ll find a great selection of pumps and accessories at Mothercare and Pupsik Studio (which also includes lots of helpful reviews from other mamas).
Some other products/services we love:
After having baby #2, I was lucky enough to get my hands on The Willow Pump, the wireless, wearable breast pump that came out in the U.S. last year. Sleek and quiet, the Willow Pump works with an app to monitor your output, is easy to clean, and is quite portable. I love being able to wear it without being attached to a noisy machine by cumbersome wires. The only downside is that the milk bags are not reusable, and can get quite expensive if you’re pumping a few times a day. If you’re able to have a friend or relative bring it to you from the U.S., mama, it’s definitely worth a look.
Find it: US$479.99 online
When you’re breastfeeding, and especially when you’re pumping at work, having a good nursing bra and nursing-friendly clothes makes a huge difference. That’s why we were thrilled with the recent launch of Singapore-based clothing company Mama Muse, which has a range of cool, stylish nursing tanks and dresses that can seamlessly transition from maternity and beyond. I love the Elliott Shirt Dress (pictured above), which is totally office appropriate. The ruched nursing tanks are not only-super comfy, they’re also oh-so-flattering on a postnatal bod.
Find it: $160 at Mama Muse. *Use promo code SASSYMAMA15 for a 15% discount!*
Lactation Cookies and other baked goods are actually a fabulous way to increase your milk supply via galactagogue ingredients like oats, brewers yeast and fenugreek. If you can’t be bothered to run all over town tracking down these ingredients, Singapore Lactation Bakes can make ‘em for you (just be sure to allow a few days for delivery). Don’t for one second feel guilty indulging with this deliciousness, mama; for one thing, these ingredients are actually quite healthy! For another, breastfeeding burns calories like nobody’s business, particularly during those newborn marathon feeding sessions. You’ve earned it! And if you CAN find the time to make your own cookies, this is our favorite (relatively easy) recipe. You can find fenugreek and brewers yeast at Unity Pharmacies!
Lactation Consultants in Singapore
Breastfeeding might be the most natural thing in the world, but it often doesn’t feel that way when you’re doing it for the first time! So many mamas all over Singapore have raved about the difference a lactation consultant can make, whether it’s helping your baby get a good latch, identifying issues like tongue ties, or giving you pumping strategies to stimulate milk flow. Check out our directory for a list of top lactation consultants in Singapore, or look to other resources like Stork’s Nest Singapore or the Breastfeeding Mothers Support Group.
Speaking of Stork’s Nest, if you’re pregnant or just starting on your breastfeeding journey, you will DEFINITELY want to check out these 15 Things to Know About Breastfeeding (Before You Breastfeed), courtesy of Stork’s Nest’s amazing founder, Jani Combrink!
You Got This, Mama
However your breastfeeding journey goes, mama, we hope that it’s a smooth and positive experience for you and your bub. If you’re nervous about continuing it when you return to work, be sure to check out our Expert Tips on Breastfeeding When You Return to Work, which’ll give you the best chance for continued success. You can also read other mamas’ stories, from a recent recollection about the ups and downs of breastfeeding twins to another mama’s humorous struggles with insane nipple pain.