Review by BRIGITTE ROZARIO
HOW TO FEED YOUR BABY
From Birth to 24 Months the Asian Way
By Cecilia Koh
Publisher: Sukhi Hotu Publications
Author Cecilia Koh is a midwife, trained in Britain, who has made it her calling in life to help new mothers and newborn babies.
Transitioning to motherhood is not easy and a lot of times new mothers are at a loss of what to do and how to go about doing it.
This is where Cecilia Koh comes in. Since returning to Malaysia from Britain where she was a midwife, Koh has been running a daycare centre for babies as well as giving new mothers the advice they need.
She has finally come out with a book to answer all of the frequently-asked questions by new mothers, on feeding, breastfeeding, food and all the equipment needed.
This is not a dolled up book. At first glance, you might not even want to pick it up. The cover is not particularly attractive and the pages do not look impressive.
However, not picking it up would be the worst decision you make if you're a new mother.
Pick it up, for although there aren't beautiful studio photos inside and the layout of the pages looks a bit textbook-like, the content is irreplaceable and indeed a gem.
You won't regret it.
At the start of the book, Koh discusses breast or bottle – she really dives right into the issues. Here, she gives the pros and cons of each and even debunks the myths. I thought this was very handy and will definitely help new parents make informed decisions.
She goes on to explain breastfeeding and how to do it. She also introduces new parents to the equipment you might need – manual pump, battery pump, types of nipples and how they differ (for bottle feeding) and the types of sterilisers you can use.
There are even diagrams and photos to help you understand better. That's the great thing about this book – the author knows that nothing beats diagrams and photos for a clearer picture, and as such, there are lots of them.
There are also tips that I don't remember reading in other books – steps for successful breastfeeding, when is the best time to express, how to warm up frozen breast milk, and even how to properly wash the milk bottle.
While doctors and experts often tell parents to just feed on demand, Koh has actually prepared a chart of how much milk babies need from Day 1 till 12 months onwards.
There are photos to illustrate how to hold baby for a feed and even for how to burp baby.
Koh also goes into great detail explaining various bottle feeding problems and what to do.
Another great thing about her book is that she is not just concerned with baby. Koh also explains the best foods while breastfeeding and what not to take after delivery; she even explains why and how to best take some of the different types of foods.
There are recipes for a mother in confinement as well as for your growing baby and toddler. I find that these are skewed more for the Chinese community. However, don't let that stop you from getting this book as the other information and advice are reason enough to get it.
Koh also goes into some detail with fruits and vegetables and how to start introducing them to children – in what form and how to get them interested.
There's also a chapter on food-related problems like colic, constipation, diarrhoea and allergic reactions and what to do about them. There's even a step-by-step guide with photos on what to do if your child is choking.
The book features Koh's “stars” - the kids she has taken care of over the years and whose parents have kindly consented to the use of their photos in the book.
Half of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to five charitable children's organisations of Koh's choice. The list is printed in the book.
To be honest, when I heard about this book, my first thought was, “Not another book for new parents.” But, after flipping through the pages, I became absorbed in its content and found that this book does indeed offer all the information on feeding that a new parent needs.
Best of all, Koh does not bother to use a lot of words. Everything is simplified, and in some parts it's in point form with photos. Isn't that all a new parent needs and has time for?
The book is thin, easy to read and you can just refer to the chapter and section that you need.
* Note: The book is not available in bookstores yet. Currently, it can be bought online from http://www.babiesconsult.com/book-sale.php.
Alternatively, it can be purchased from the retail pharmacy in Sime Darby Medical Centre in Subang Jaya.
* Tips from a Malaysian midwife