|Koh with her book How To Feed Your Baby: From Birth to 24 Months The Asian Way.
By ANGELIN YEOH
With 40 years of experience as a midwife and nurse, Cecilia Koh has finally decided to share her knowledge with new parents through her book How To Feed Your Baby: From Birth to 24 Months The Asian Way.
Koh explains that her book is an intensive labour of love and it is the result of many years of experience working with babies and new mothers.
She has worked at University Hospital (now Universiti Malaya Medical Centre) and Subang Jaya Medical Centre (now Sime Darby Medical Centre) in Malaysia, as well as Bromley Hospital and the London Jewish Hospital in England.
To top it all off, she is also the founder of BabiesConsult.com. The self-proclaimed “Cyber Midwife” started the website in 2007 to provide information and answer questions about parenthood. Since then, the website has been visited by over 30,000 visitors from 147 countries.
In 2009, she decided to put her lifelong experience and knowledge into a book. Koh believes there is a need for such a book because most parenting books are Western-centric. What sets this book apart from all the other parenting books is that this book is for you if you don't know what to expect when you're expecting as an Asian parent.
“Although I’m a Western-trained nurse, I still believe in keeping the Asian traditions in perspective. What I’ve done here is combine the best in Western and Eastern practices – so it will be less confusing for new mothers.”
Knowing that most children are growing up without proper nutrition, Koh has decided to focus on how to feed babies. “French fries are the worst thing for children,” she says, adding that getting back to basics and the first step to proper parenting begins with feeding your child the right food.
In her book, there are step-by-step guides on how to prepare simple yet nutritious meals for your child.
Koh spent two years writing the book. It’s an intensive labour of love because she also took all the photos in the book and edited them on her own.
Because of all the work involved, Koh says she was adamant that she would never write again. However, after receiving overwhelming response from those who purchased her book, she is convinced that she should write another book on basic baby care.
Koh hopes that her book will become the new bible for parents. She urges parents to read Chapter 12 which focuses on what to do when a child is choking.
She relates an experience of being consulted by parents whose child was choking. She explains that luckily she was available to help them at the time and they lived nearby.
This also inspired her to write the book because she couldn’t bear the thought of a parent not knowing what to do when a child is choking.
Koh says all parents must learn what to do in such an emergency situation.
“You’ll find out how to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the Heimlich manoeuvre through pictures in this book.”
There is a lot to learn from Koh's book. That is why she recommends getting it as soon as parents are expecting. Koh also believes this book will help parents be calmer when it comes to raising a baby. She says with knowledge, you shouldn't be afraid to try looking after your child independently.
Koh is also an avid supporter of children's charities. She relates how an email she received also inspired to write the book.
“I received an email from a friend and it showed a photo of a young boy in the Philippines picking out food from a fast food restaurant dustbin. It broke my heart and I figured I had to do something about it.”
Her love for children is evident as she informs that 50% of the proceeds from the sales of the book will go to Rumah Hope, Desa Amal Jireh, Persatuan Impian Kanak-Kanak Malaysia, The Hunger Site and The Literacy Site.
Koh says the book will be a great legacy to leave for her 15-year-old daughter, Marie.
“I’d love to think that when I’m gone, the donations for the children’s charity will keep on coming thanks to the sale of my book.”
* The best book on feeding for Asian parents