Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fashionista Mommy Adventures: The Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Course

I was lucky enough to get to know of a breastfeeding course while I was 36 weeks pregnant and post delivery I decided to attend the course (I was experiencing nipple cracks and nipple sore at the time which seriously made me rethink my decision to breast feed).

This program is called the Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training Program and I initially heard of the program when my friend Remus attended a similar course a few months ago in KL. It's organized by the Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor and just so you know, it's not solely for those who are interested to become breastfeeding counselors, anyone (even men) are welcomed to join the program.

The course fee is RM250 per person and it is held over a duration of three days (in our case it was held over the weekend, from Friday to Sunday) starting from 8 am until 6 pm. The course is conducted in an informal way that encourages discussion among the participants. Due to this, the course is only able to cater to around 25 participants per session (we had around 21 participants, unfortunately some had to drop out due to personal reasons). I'm not going to go into detail on the itinerary of the program (I say it would be best if you join the program yourself as the wealth of knowledge gained from the program is priceless) but here's a quick summary of what happened that weekend:

Each participant is given a file (complete with notes and all), pen and ID at the beginning of the program. The file contains the itinerary of the course complete with printouts of the different modules that is being covered in the course, additional notes, appendices and activity sheets (we didn't really have to refer to the notes during the course though because as I said, the course is done in a discussion style, thus most of the time we are asked to think on our feet). However, even though the course is very laid back and relaxed, we do have homework that we have to complete every day. 

As mentioned, the course is done in an informal manner so it's free seating for everyone, you can sit wherever and however you like. Actually you can even lie down if you like (no dozing off though) but no one did that. But we did see a number of participants (including me) bringing our baby/ babies to the program. 

Incredible as it seems but this is how our training was conducted. In between the training you can see toddlers and babies crawling/ lying down/ sleeping here and there.

Since it's a breastfeeding course, the topic remained focused on breastfeeding and nursing. Here you can see one of our facilitators, Kak Kamariah demonstrating how to help a fellow mother nurse with the help of a nursing pillow. If you see closely on the floor in front of the pillow, there's a handmade breast (right next to the feet there). We had to make our own breast and we had to use this breast during the training. This breast can also be used should we decide to counsel fellow mothers on how to nurse.

This is the last activity in the training where Chris (the one holding the ball of pink thread) is sharing her feelings on the training.

Now, if you're thinking about attending the program, what can you expect? Let me just say that the program opened my eyes about breastfeeding. It doesn't only cover the physical aspects of nursing i.e. how to nurse, how to you position your baby and yourself when nursing. It covers so much more. I learnt and got to know of many aspects that affect breastfeeding, for instance the emotional aspects that could actually affect the flow of your milk and of course influence the baby's feeding and also how a baby's latch could also be the culprit in reducing milk flow. 

Hurrah! I am now a breastfeeding counselor! Truth be told I attended the course for one reason and one reason only, to help myself in breastfeeding. But I gained so much more. I got to know new friends, inspiring moms who shared their journey in breastfeeding (and let me say their breastfeeding journey is not all a bed of roses, it's filled with sweat and tears), I got to know other amazing counselors (our facilitators and organizer are a great bunch of people; they are really generous in sharing their knowledge and experience with us and they are also especially patient in guiding us throughout the course) and I guess I got to appreciate breastfeeding even more. I've always taken it for granted that you either can or cannot breastfeed, like some moms have it easy where breastfeeding is second nature to them. Now I know it takes a lot of determination and perseverance in making breastfeeding a success. And from the sharing sessions with other moms I've also gotten to know that these moms have actually sacrificed a lot in making sure that their offspring are breastfed and this makes me respect them even more!

So for new moms (and not so new moms) who'd like to breastfeed or have always been breastfeeding, I'd say do come and attend this course. You'll come out of the program with a different perspective and a more capable person to help other moms establish breastfeeding with their baby/ babies. And oh, to dads too, if you like, you are very much welcomed to join the course. After all, mommies need plenty of support from the dads of this world don't we?

If you'd like to know more about breastfeeding, you can join these Facebook group or check out these sites:

1. The Breastfeeding Advocates Network
2. Kumpulan Sokongan Susu Ibu Sarawak
4. Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor

To mothers who are breastfeeding out there and find it tough to do so, we support you =).

To nature and nurture.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

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