Mini Interview with our Founder and Senior ParentCraft Consultant, Dr Wong Boh Boi

As most of you may have heard about the recent news report on possible mishandling of baby, we were extremely appalled by what happened and decided to interview our founder, Dr Wong Boh Boi, to get her expert views immediately so that this will not happen to another baby again.

Q: What is the correct way of feeding a newborn with a bottle?

Dr Wong BB: While I advocate breastfeeding for newborns, bottle-feeding by secondary caregivers is acceptable due to medical or other reasons if they wish to. When feeding newborns, one has to hold baby in a 30-degree manner and ensure that the teat is well-positioned in the baby’s mouth. In my many years of developing evidence-based training programs for confinement nannies and secondary caregivers as well as speaking to new mummies, I noticed and corrected quite a number of serious misconceptions and ways in taking care of newborns. These are my key messages for parents and their secondary caregivers:

– Always monitor the milk flow and the baby’s ability and capability to suck and swallow.
        
– Refrain from tapping the base of the bottle when feeding as it creates negativity and discomfort towards the baby.
        
– Do not twist the bottle during feeding to release air bubbles while baby is suckling as these actions may lead to choking, which may cause milk aversion, especially when baby is 3 months old.

– Never bounce the baby when feeding.


Q: What would you tell parents and their secondary caregivers when feeding a newborn baby?

Dr Wong BB: I always encourage baby-led feeding and watch the baby’s cues before you breastfeed or give him a bottle. Do not force a baby to consume more milk than what he needs to. Be trained on the various ways of feeding the baby (there are at least 4 ways of feeding newborns).

Q: Do you agree that secondary caregivers should be trained?

Dr Wong BB: While I educate many mummies and daddies-to-be in preparation of their impending parenthood journey, I also agree that secondary caregivers such as grandparents, confinement nannies and helpers should go through training on proper newborn care as baby care has evolved with new products in the market, hence some traditional baby care methods may not be suitable. For parents with confinement nannies, they should ensure that their nannies are professionally trained and audited frequently so that they provide high standard of quality care for the mummy and baby. Most importantly, secondary caregivers have to be patient and passionate about providing the best care for the baby and learn how to listen and observe cues.

Q: How do I ensure that my confinement nanny knows what she is doing?

Dr Wong BB: Some confinement nannies only apply hand-me-down knowledge and skills, and hence, what works for other babies may not work for yours. If the confinement nanny is referred by a friend or is their own family member, it will be best that both parents can attend antenatal class so that they are empowered with the knowledge to observe and provide proper guidance to their secondary caregiver.

Q: With the recent news report on improper baby feeding and cutting of bottle teats to increase milk flow, what is your professional advice?

Dr Wong BB: It is extremely important to know how to observe the baby’s cues and let the baby pace his own feeding. Do not cut the bottle teat, unless it is guided by a professional. As the baby grows, it is advisable to change the teat size instead of cutting as there are ready products in the market meant for the growing child’s gestational age and size. During each teat change, it is key to observe the baby’s suckling and swallowing as well as any leakage.

Q: Any key take-home messages before we end our mini interview with you?

Dr Wong BB: I truly believe in giving the baby a healthy head-start in life, beginning from the womb and his first year of life. Hence, parents should take the opportunity to be educated properly and get the confidence in baby care.