Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


I am pregnant now and have heard lots of horror stories about the pain and bleeding during breastfeeding. Can you offer some comforting words?

A good breastfeeding latch should not be painful for a mother. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful at all. If you feel any discomfort, that means you need help. To know whether you need help, you need to give breastfeeding a try. There’s no way to know if it will be painless or painful until you try. You are not alone. Help is available.

Some mothers don’t know that breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful because they have family members who tell them that it is supposed to be painful. If there is a real issue and it’s not corrected, the mother will suffer. It’s important to address this.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

What is the definition of breastfeeding?

International Definitions

Two newer sets of internationally recognized definitions of various breastfeeding terms predominate today in research and program design. One addresses the maternal/infant parameters that affect so many of the health outcomes and management issues associated with breastfeeding, while the second deals primarily with infant nutritional intake.

IGAB Consortium Definitions

The agreed-upon definitions are:

Exclusive breastfeeding: No other liquid or solid from any other source enters the infant ’s mouth.

Almost exclusive: Allows occasional tastes of other liquids, traditional foods, vitamins, medicines, etc.

Full breastfeeding: Includes exclusive and almost exclusive.

Full breast-milk feeding (or fully breast-milk fed): The infant receives expressed breast milk in addition to breastfeeding.

Partial: Mixed feeding, designated at high, medium, or low. Methods for classification suggested include percentage of calories from breastfeeding, percentage of feeds that are breastfeeds, etc. Any feeding of expressed breast milk would fall under this category.

Token: Minimal, occasional breastfeeds (for comfort or with less than 10 percent of the nutrition thereby provided.)

WHO Breastfeeding Definitions


The WHO/UNICEF definitions are:

Breastfeeding: The child has received breast milk direct from the breast or expressed.

Exclusive breastfeeding: The infant has received only breast milk from the mother or a wet nurse, or expressed breast milk, and no other liquids or solids with the exception of drops or syrups consisting of vitamins, mineral supplements, or medicines.

Predominant breastfeeding :The infant ’s predominant source of nourishment has been breast milk. However, the infant may also have received water and water-based drinks (sweetened and flavored water, teas, infusions, etc.), fruit juice; oral rehydration salts solution (ORS), drop and syrup forms of vitamins, minerals and medicines, and ritual fluids (in limited quantities). With the exception of fruit juice and sugar water, no food-based fluid is allowed under this definition.

Full breastfeeding: Exclusive breastfeeding and predominant breastfeeding together constitute full breastfeeding.

Complementary feeding: The child has received both breast milk and solid or semi-solid food.

Bottle-feeding: The child has received liquid or semi-solid food from a bottle with a nipple/teat.

from BREASTFEEDING ABSTRACTS, February 2000, Volume 19, Number 3, pp. 19-21.

Why should I breastfeed? Isn’t formula just as good?

Bottle vs Breast

No. As one breastfeeding mother put it, "Using formula because it is "just as good," when breast milk is free is like turning down a scholarship to Harvard to pay for community college."

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that: "The second choice [after breastfeeding] is the mother's own milk expressed and given to the infant in some way. The third choice is the milk of another human mother. The fourth and last choice is artificial baby milk (formula)."

Why is breast milk so highly preferred over artificial baby milk (ABM)? For many reasons, including:

-- Bottle fed infants are fourteen times more likely to be hospitalized than breastfed infants

-- Bottle fed infants are three to four times more likely to suffer from diarrheal diseases

-- Bottle fed infants are four times more likely to suffer from meningitis

-- Breastfeeding reduces the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

-- Children who were breastfed as infants have IQ scores which average seven to ten points higher than children who were formula fed.

-- There are one million white blood cells contained in each drop of breast milk.

-- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of juvenile-onset diabetes.

-- Formula fed babies have a higher rate of allergies than breastfed babies.

-- A breastfed baby often has smoother, softer skin than a formula baby.

-- Breastfed babies have a lower incidence of eczema than formula fed babies.

-- The mother who breastfeeds passes on her antibodies to an infant whose immune system is still developing.

-- Breast milk contains DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid which is widely considered to be vital for the growth and development of brain tissue. Formula does not contain DHA.

-- Breast milk is rich in cholesterol, while formula has none at all. Cholesterol helps build the brain and manufactures hormones and vitamin D.

-- Breast milk contains lactose, while formula contains glucose and galactose. Lactose is valuable for brain tissue development and promotes intestinal health.

-- Children who are breastfed are less likely to be obese during adolescence.

-- Breastfed babies have better jaw alignment than formula fed babies, and are less likely to need orthodontic work when they are older. This is because the suckling action for breastfeeding is more complex and involves more "work" than the suckling action for an artificial nipple.

-- Breastfed babies develop a larger nasal space, which can reduce problems of sleep apnea and snoring later in life.

-- Breast milk contains the easy-to-digest whey proteins, while formula contains harder-to-digest casein proteins. This means that breast milk is digested quicker and is less likely to be spit up by baby.

-- Breastfed babies have diapers which are much more pleasant to change than the formula fed baby. Because formula is harder to digest, their stools are harder and more foul smelling than the breastfed baby's.

But the advantages aren't just for baby. There are advantages for the mother too, such as:

-- A faster post-partum recovery. The sucking action of the breastfeeding baby stimulates the release of oxytocin, which helps the uterus contract to its pre-pregnancy size.

-- Breastfeeding mothers normally have an easier time losing weight than formula feeding mothers.

-- There is a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer in the breastfeeding mother.

-- The mother who breastfed her infant is less likely to develop osteoperosis in her older years.

-- Breast milk is free. With the costs of formula, bottles, nipples, and additional medical expenses, formula feeding can cost up to $1,200 a year.

-- Breastfeeding promotes Mother-Baby bonding.

Source: Modern Muslima ( )

Okay, so I’ll breastfeed. But I don’t even know how!

Breastfeeding is not something that necessarily comes naturally to the new mother. Those of us raised in the bottle feeding culture may never have even seen a nursing mother before. We have not been raised around women who learned this art from their women, and so we do not have any examples to go by when it is our turn.

The first thing you must do is say, "I am going to breastfeed my infant," not "I am going to try to breastfeed," or "I'm going to see how it goes." The latter two mindsets will set you up for failure. Do not rely on switching to formula when the going gets a little rough. Do not let it become an option and you will succeed.

Fortunately, breastfeeding is enjoying a revival, and there are numerous places the new mother can turn to for advice and instruction, as well as support. The foremost organization for supporting the new nursing mother is La Leche League International (LLLI). This is a group that was founded by seven mothers in the US during the 1950's to help and support other nursing mothers, in a time when breastfeeding had all but disappeared. Today, they have chapters all over the world. You can contact your local LLLI leader / group by looking them up in the white (or yellow) pages, or by asking your midwife or obstetrician.

You may also enlist the support and advice of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Many hospitals have lactation consultants on staff, but sometimes, these are no more than staff nurses who have taken a class on breastfeeding. You may not find her helpful at all. Remember that almost all hospitals receive money and promotional materials from the major formula manufacturers, and that it is not uncommon for the nurses in the maternity ward to routinely give bottles to all babies, including those who are supposedly "breastfed."

If you don't have any access to these supports, then there are numerous websites (see Resources page) which show video and pictures of how to breastfeed properly, as well as books. One recommended book is The Breastfeeding Book by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N. If that particular book is unavailable to you, you will get the same information and instructions from the more widely available The Baby Book by the same authors. Also, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International, and So, That's What They're For: Breastfeeding Basics by Janet Tamaro-Natt.

Source: Modern Muslima -

This is so hard! I am so tired, and I am ready to give up.

There is this idea, especially in our drive-thru society that everything should be easy and convenient. If it is not, then it should be abandoned. Breastfeeding is not first. And it is not convenient, at first. Establishing your milk supply and teaching baby to latch on properly is hard work. In addition, breast milk is more easily digestible to baby's little tummy than artificial substitutes, and so the breastfed baby will feed more often, during the day, and more noticeably at night. Remember that our foremothers had mothers, sisters, neighbors, and nannies who had themselves nursed. Expert help was available to them whenever they needed it. If you are feeling fed up and frustrated, then now is the time to find support and guidance from a group like La Leche League. Your local LLL leader can offer you valuable information and education, as well as experience, about breastfeeding. You may find that attending an LLL meeting, and hearing about how others dealt with the same experiences will encourage and strengthen your resolve.

Think of it this way: Breastfeeding is not a simple matter of choice. It is a commitment you are making to your child. Resolve to succeed, and to keep trying. Bottle feeding may seem more convenient, especially when you are nursing the little one for the third time in three hours, but remember that in the long run, it costs much more money in terms of supplies and medical bills, and that, in the long run, it takes up much more time in terms of sterilizing and preparing formula as well as cleaning the bottles and nipples. The breastfeeding mother can just get up and go anywhere, and know that her baby will have all the milk he needs at exactly the right temperature. The bottle feeding mother must make sure she has purified water, that the bottles are kept chilled, that she has a way to warm them up later. She has to worry about the milk spoiling, or running out. Eventually, you will see that ease and convenience are on the side of the breastfed family.

Source: Modern Muslima -

Any other tips for nursing success?

Do not accept any "free" samples of formula or bottles, etc. from your hospital or birthing center.

Many hospitals sell lists of their patients' names and addresses to formula companies. You may receive a "free" case or two of formula by the time you arrive home with baby. Either promptly send the case back to the company, or take it to a local food pantry, with instructions that it be given to mothers who are already formula feeding.

Give yourself at least four weeks to establish a nursing relationship. Don't worry so much about the house during this time, and devote as much of your energy as you can towards nursing your little one.

Share sleep with your little one. Sleep sharing is a practice which has been done for centuries and which is done in all cultures all over the world. Prolactin levels, which stimulate milk production, are said to be highest between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. You will find it much easier to nurse your baby at night if she is sleeping beside you in the bed. After a week or two, the two of you may not even wake up all the way while you nurse her back to sleep. Be sure there are no pillows, stuffed animals, feather comforters, etc. near your baby. Use a guard rail on the bed, or push the bed flush up to the wall. Do not allow baby to sleep between you and your husband. Rather, she should sleep between the railing / wall and you. See "The Family Bed" by Tine Thevenin, or "The Baby Book" by William and Martha Sears for more information about sleep sharing.

Get a good book. "So That's What They're For!" by Janet Tamaro Natt, "The Breastfeeding Book" by William and Martha Sears, or "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" by La Leche League International are some good choices.

Get comfy. Set up a "nursing station" before you start. A tall glass of water, a snack, the phone, a book, a burping cloth, pillows, and perhaps a blanket are all items you should have on hand.

Source: Modern Muslima -



If I am directly breastfeeding, how do I know if baby is getting enough milk?

Even though we don’t encourage mums to measure their milk, we can check if it is enough by looking at baby’s urine and stools. Baby’s urine should be 6-8 times within 24 hours. The best way to check this is to use cloth diapers.

As for stools, we wouldn’t look at the number of times, but rather the texture. It has to be yellow, curdy and with seeds. That is what healthy stools look like.

Remember, that it is normal for baby to not pass motion for up to 10 days when they are one month old onward. The longest I’ve seen is 14 days. As long as everything else is normal, they are fine.

For those aged 0-4 weeks, it may not be daily stools but it won’t take 10 days. On the first day, it may be once, on the second day maybe twice and a bit more. The colour of the stools will also change from dark green to yellow. So by the fifth day we expect it to change to yellow colour. If it takes longer than five days to change to yellow, then baby is not taking enough milk.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

Can I add water to the breast milk?

Breast milk contains 80% water so it is not necessary to add water.

Should I use both breasts at each feeding?

Not necessarily. You can also use one breast for one feeding and the other for the next feeding.

How much baby drinks is not always the same. Sometimes, one breast is not enough and you will need to feed baby with the other breast. Other times, baby may just take half the milk in one breast. We can’t force baby to take more milk if baby doesn’t want it. It’s quite normal to have this kind of pattern.

Usually we recommend that mothers don’t switch the breast until that breast is lighter. If they feel like the breast is light and like there’s not much milk left, then they should switch to the other breast, if the baby still wants it. Then continue until the baby is satisfied.

If baby is not taking much and your breasts are very full, then you should express just enough to feel comfortable, otherwise you will have a problem of overflow.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )



Hand or pump – which is better?

Better is very subjective and could mean more yield, or less painful or faster. Whichever method they choose, it is important for mothers to learn to use their hand to express the milk because we know that even though we may buy a very expensive pump, sometimes we might forget to bring to work some of the small parts for it. You will be very miserable if you don’t know how to use your hand.

Secondly, sometimes in the early days we do need to express the milk if the baby is not with us. Our milk is very little at that point. So, if you try to use the breast pump, you will see that only a little bit comes out and it might stick to the side of the bottle and you will face difficulty collecting the milk. If you use your hand to express, usually you can collect more in those early days. Even if it’s droplets, you can collect it in a syringe and it’s still very beneficial for the baby. Collecting milk is an art. Some mums, even if they use the pump, still use their hand to express the rest of the milk to get the most at each session.

In addition, some women can’t find a breast shield that matches their breast. This is because our breasts are not the same size, while the shield comes in fixed sizes. The pumping sessions can be longer or painful if the shield does not match the breast size. But, if you use your hand, you know exactly where you can place your fingers, so you can still manage.

You need to try both the pump and hand to find out which way suits you best. If you think that expressing by hand is hard, before you even try it out, then most of the time you won’t be successful using the hand. But if you are open to the idea and try it out, most of the time you will find that it can be very effective.

In expressing milk, the most important thing is that you like the process. The one which you like most will usually give you the best yield. If you hate the process, you won’t get much milk because the oxytocin won’t kick in if you are stressed and this will result in less milk flow.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

Is there breast milk immediately available once I give birth?

It depends. Some mums have discharge during pregnancy and their colostrum would be available immediately. But others might not. So, we can’t say that everyone has or doesn’t have immediately. But, in general, most mothers don’t see a large amount.

Usually in the first few days, you would have colostrum and it would be enough for baby. It appears as a small amount of sticky, clear liquid. If baby is taking it out effectively, that small amount should be sufficient. But, even if the baby is not effective yet because he or she hasn’t acquired the skill yet, it is generally still safe because the baby has the fat which they will use initially for energy. That is why we can allow the baby to lose weight – up to 10% of their birth weight – in the early days.

The colostrum, which is usually clear and sticky, would transition into mature milk in a few days, usually by the third or fourth day.

Of course if the baby is crying a lot in those early days, this consumes more energy, and will result in the baby’s weight dropping below the allowed level. If that happens and the baby has hypoglycaemia, then the parents will need to use alternative options. For instance, donated human milk from family members. If we decide to use donated milk, we should be more responsible. The best is from family members because we can rest assured of the safety aspect and don’t have to do any blood tests.

Some mothers might be in the category who would have problems with producing milk, for example those going for Caesarean birth or those who might be on medication. They might face a delay in milk production.

If you are at risk of having problems, then the suggestion is to express your milk during pregnancy and collecting it and freezing it. I know it’s not that popular here, but in some hospitals, they do suggest this method to mothers who are at risk of having problems producing milk after delivery.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

There are many suggestions on milk boosters, which one works and how long does it take to work?

The question is do you really need a milk booster? Most of the time we find that they don’t need it. They just think they need it because they see others taking it.

Biologically, we will produce milk according to the needs of the baby. The milk booster will tackle the prolactin to increase the milk supply. But if you are producing more but not using it, the milk will be absorbed back into the body. So, initially you may see that there is more milk but after a while you will feel like the production is the same because your baby’s needs have not increased.

If you really do need a booster, you need to try and see what works for you. It’s different for each person. How long it will take to start working also differs from individual to individual. Some may take a day, others may take a few days.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

Are there any foods or drinks that will decrease my milk supply?

Some herbs have been documented to reduce milk supply. The one herb that does this is peppermint. If you are using essential oils, be careful with peppermint. Also watch out for peppermint in foods.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

How much milk should I have?

Generally, babies aged one to six months around the world consume around 600ml-900ml in 24 hours. For those younger than one month, it is less than that. The baby’s milk intake stabilises by one month old. There may be a few minor cases who may drink less or more than that. It has been found that once baby sets the limit to how much he or she drinks, usually it won’t change by much. That amount is maintained for the duration.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

How much milk should I leave behind for my baby? How much does baby take per feed?

Oh yes, another common question we get from mommies and caregivers.   Research tells us that exclusively breastfed babies take in an average of 25 oz (750 mL) per day between the ages of 1 month and 6 months. Different babies take in different amounts of milk; a typical range of milk intakes is 19-30 oz per day (570-900 mL per day).   From the info above, we can use it to estimate the average amount of milk baby will need at a feeding:
  • Estimate the number of times that baby nurses per day (24 hours).
  • Then divide 25 oz by the number of nursings.
  • This gives you a “ballpark” figure for the amount of expressed milk your exclusively breastfed baby will need at one feeding.
  Example: If baby usually nurses around 8 times per day, you can guess that baby might need around 3 ounces per feeding when mom is away. (25/8=3.1). OR Baby's weight in pounds X 2.5 = amount in ounces per 24 hours So, you can estimate how many ounces per 24 hours and then calculate based on feeding frequency.   EXAMPLE A 9 pound baby needs about 9 × 2.5 = 22.5 ounces per 24 hours. So if he is having 10 feedings each day, the baby needs 22.5 ounces each day ÷ 10 feedings = 2.25 ounces per feeding   HOPE this helps!   Rita Rahayu Omar,BSc, CISA, IBCLC Lactation Consultant

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?

Not enough milk?

It takes plain simple logic -- What goes in has to come out! The output on his diaper means you’re doing a good job. If your baby is getting 4-6 wet disposable diapers a day by the fourth day after birth OR 6-8 wet cloth diapers – your baby IS getting enough milk! If you are unsure what a wet diaper is like, put 2 tablespoons of water on it. It is best to judge the wetness of a disposable diaper by comparing its weight to a dry one than by the way the surface of the diaper feels to the touch. As your baby grows beyond the first month or so, the baby's wet diapers will be even wetter – the equivalent of 4-6 tablespoons of water. Look out for signs of adequate hydration: pale or water-coloured urine suggests adequate hydration; darker, apple-juice-coloured urine (after the first four days) suggests that baby is not getting enough milk.

And of course, you must observe the stools too. During the early days, the baby’s stool gradually changes from the sticky black meconium stools to green, then brown and later becomes yellow like the colour of mustard. This is the normal colour of an exclusively breastfed baby. During the first few weeks, babies who are getting enough hindmilk (which is thicker and comes towards the end of a feed) will produce at least 2-3 yellow, seedy stools a day. Because breastmilk is a natural laxative, some breastfed babies tend to produce a stool (or stain) with each feeding. This is a good sign that baby is getting enough milk! After the sixth week, the frequency of bowel movements will normally decrease due to maturation of the gut. At this stage, your baby may normally have only one bowel movement a day; some breastfed babies have one bowel movement every three to four days. This is also a sign that they are getting enough milk.

Most infants, whether breastfed or bottle-fed, will lose an average of 5% - 7% of their birth weight in the first days of life, due to the loss of excess fluid. After regaining his birth weight, the average infant gains 113-142 grams (4-5 ounces) a week, or a minimum of 450 grams a month. Weight gain varies between babies but as long as it is within the normal range, do not worry!

by Rita Rahayu Omar (CISA, IBCLC)
Resident Consultant for, Training, Consultancy & Educational Services

27 June 2011

I’m trying to breastfeed, but I just don’t seem to have enough milk. Should I supplement with formula?

The percentage of women who biologically cannot breastfeed or unable to make enough milk to satisfy their babies is very, very small. However, it is not uncommon for pediatricians, who also receive free goodies and money from formula companies, to tell new mothers that "you don't have enough milk," or even more outrageous fallacies ("your milk will spoil") and then encourage her to supplement or switch to formula all together. Rather conveniently, he or she will recommend the brand of formula whose logo is splashed on notepads, pens, and other items throughout the office.

If your baby has six to eight wet diapers a day, is gaining weight, and has clear or pale colored urine, then she is most likely getting enough milk. Supplementing with formula may cause your baby to develop nipple confusion or nipple preference. Sucking on a rubber nipple is less work than suckling at the breast, and your child may refuse to take from you all together. Less suckling at the breast also means decreased milk production, which lead to more supplementing, which will lead to even less milk production... you get the idea.

Almost all new mothers can produce enough milk to satisfy their babies, and with a little work, you can increase your milk supply within a short period of time. One suggestion is to take the herbal supplement fenugreek. (Check with your midwife or health care practitioner before taking any herbal supplements). However, the most sure-fire way of increasing your milk supply is to nurse more often. Nurse longer on each side and nurse as frequently as two hours, or when baby needs it (cue-feeding). Nursing at night also stimulates the hormone prolactin, which in turn helps produce more milk. Do not let baby have any artificial nipples or pacifiers, and instead allow her to "comfort suck" with you. You may also want to pump milk with a breast pump in order to stimulate more milk production.

Source: Modern Muslima -



Do I have to use special containers to store the expressed milk in the freezer and fridge?

Most importantly is ensuring that whatever container you use is clean and sterilised. We usually suggest using hot water to sterilise the containers.

As for containers, not all types of plastics are recommended. If you want to use a plastic container, it needs to be a container which was made for the purpose of storing breast milk. Watch out for the type of plastic used because the fat in the milk might stick to the surface of the container for certain types of plastics.

You can also use glass milk bottles but you have to get the ones with an airtight lid that fully covers the bottle. You can’t use the milk bottle with the teat and store it like that. You can get the bottles that are meant to store breast milk.

The breast milk storage bags are nice, but they can’t be recycled. Mothers tend to like using those when they travel because it doesn’t take up much space when empty.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

Do I store my breast milk in the fridge or freezer?

If you are going to use it very soon, like tomorrow or the next day, then we recommend storing it in the fridge. If you won’t be using it so soon, then it is best to keep it in the freezer.

You can store fresh breast milk for three to five days.

In the freezer, it can keep for three months. If you have a deep freezer, then it can keep up to six months.

Usually we don’t ask mothers to separate the breast milk from food, but we do ask that whatever food is in the fridge or freezer with the breast milk should be in a closed container and not exposed.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

How do I use it after it has been in the fridge or freezer?

If it is from the fridge, just warm it up by soaking the bottle in a bowl of hot water. Do not shake it when you take it out from the fridge or even after it has been warmed up. Just swirl the milk in the bottle. This is because breast milk contains long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and if we shake the bottle, these fatty acids will break and the benefits will be less. We need to understand what the concerns are and not just react emotionally if someone shakes the breast milk. Don’t get upset, it’s not like the milk is spoilt. What we can do is educate others on how to handle the breast milk. If the milk is from the freezer and you want to use it tomorrow, then tonight you move it from the freezer to the fridge. I would usually recommend placing it in the fridge in a container which has been filled with water so that it thaws in cold water. Usually the next day, it would all be thawed. Then warm it up by soaking the bottle in a bowl of hot water. The thawed milk is recommended to be used within 24 hours. Unfortunately, you can’t change your mind and refreeze it after you have thawed it. Having said that, use your own judgment when you want to use it, by smelling it to see if it has spoilt. Don’t just throw it away if you took it out for a short period of time and then put it back in the freezer. Sometimes it is still good and can be consumed. Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

Do I only take it out from the fridge when I want to feed baby? Can I take it out earlier and leave it at room temperature?

Yes, you should take the milk out of the fridge only when you want to feed baby, then warm it. It is not recommended that you take the milk from the fridge and leave it at room temperature for some time. Similarly, thawing breast milk at room temperature is also not recommended.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

What do I do if there is a power outage?

Don’t open the door of the fridge. Keep it cold. Find out how long the power outage will last. If it’s going to be a long time before the power is restored, then it’s best to find another fridge to store the milk, perhaps at a family member’s house in another housing area.

Before you use the milk, we suggest you test it by smelling it.

The general rule is that if not more than 50% of the frozen milk thaws, you can still refreeze it. Chances of contamination are less there.

I would still suggest before you use that particular batch to still test it first.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

Can I reuse the bags/bottles for storage?

While the bags cannot be recycled, the bottles can be. We recommend you use a cloth to wipe the bottles instead of a brush because the brush might scratch the bottle. If you use a brush to wash it, do check for scratches. If the bottle is scratched don’t reuse it.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

Is it okay to mix breast milk with formula milk in one bottle?

Until today we can’t find any specific studies on this. But, formula milk is usually prepared with very hot water. If you mix breast milk into this, the high temperature will kill the good bacteria and antibodies in the breast milk.

So, I would recommend giving it separately or to reduce the temperature of the formula milk and then only mixing it. The best is to give it separately because then you know that all the healthy components in the breast milk are preserved. Then only, if you have to, give the formula milk.

Note: Breast milk is the best for babies. SusuIbu.Com and Thots n Tots are not in any way promoting formula for babies.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

I see many other mothers have deep freezers with lots and lots of breast milk. How much should I store?

This is very subjective. Most of the time, if you are a working mum and have regular hours and within the first six months there is no possibility of travelling or being apart from your baby, then we recommend to prepare for a week, just in case of emergencies.

The only reason to store more is if your job requires you to travel or to be on call. Mothers who have jobs with such requirements really need to store more because they may be away from baby for a longer time.

Sometimes mothers who are not producing that much take it negatively when they see other mothers posting photos of large supplies of breast milk. It can demotivate them instead of motivate them.

Each mother will have different needs. The individual needs to address how much breast milk she needs to store because of her job or if she needs to travel.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )



My doctor doesn’t seem very encouraging of my breastfeeding and tells me to stop breastfeeding when I have any medical problem. What should I do?

We have to let the doctor know upfront that we want to breastfeed. Sometimes the doctor will listen to you if you put it across that you are serious and determined to breastfeed. Usually the doctor will listen and address it. But, if you just keep quiet and don’t let the doctor know your intention, the doctor may think the easier way for you is to stop breastfeeding. Then, of course, you will have a negative experience visiting the doctor. We encourage a healthy discussion, and perhaps bring up with the doctor any references you might have on the matter. See what the doctor says about it. We need to have a healthy discussion and make an informed choice, rather than accuse the doctor of not being supportive.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

What do I do if my baby is screaming at 3am and I am having problems breastfeeding?

Learn the techniques to calm your baby. A lot of people say that their babies are fussy at night. But when we look into it, actually the mother is not getting enough rest when the baby is resting. Because of that, when the baby needs attention at night, the mother is too tired to give the necessary attention. But, of course, this is not the case for all.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

My baby has teeth now. How do I stop baby from biting my breast while feeding?

This is sometimes an issue with bigger babies. It sometimes happens by accident because the teeth are new and baby doesn’t know how to handle it yet. If baby is latching on correctly, they won’t be able to bite the breast because the tongue will block the teeth. But sometimes after baby has finished feeding, the tongue is going back into the mouth and that’s when they might accidentally bite the mother. The mother will scream in pain and the baby will look at the mother. The baby will smile and the mother won’t know how to respond, and the baby will think that the mother is playing with them so they will do it again.

What we suggest is to try to stay calm if baby bites and to talk firmly with the baby and tell them not to do that, in a serious tone. We have to communicate with baby from that early stage. Usually the baby will understand that the mother doesn’t like it. We can also avoid it from happening by taking out the breast once baby has settled and is about done, so that they won’t accidentally bite.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )



Can I take supplements? Is it healthy for baby?

If our body needs it, I think it shouldn’t be a problem as long as there are no chemicals in it. But it is best to have a healthy and balanced diet instead of taking supplements.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

Can I take any form of medication while breastfeeding?

Medication while breastfeeding

Although breast-feeding is the “natural” way to go, and a win–win choice for you and your baby, it requires great care and vigilance to make sure that your breast milk is of the highest quality and free of contaminants. Just as when you’re pregnant, it’s important to avoid using any drug that could have a harmful effect on your baby. But does this mean that you can’t take any medications at all? Certainly not! In fact, if you let an illness go untreated, it could be much more harmful to your baby than the presence of a minute amount of a medication in your breast milk. The key is to check with your doctor first to make sure that any prescription or nonprescription medication you plan to use is safe for nursing mothers.

Source article: What You Should Know About Medication Use While Breast-Feeding Patient Handout prepared by Patricia L. Van Horn using materials from the American Academy of Pediatrics ( and the American Academy of Family Physicians (

What are the “ground rules”?

You can make breast-feeding as safe as possible for your baby by taking these steps:

• A medication that is safe for use during pregnancy may not be safe during breast-feeding, so check with your doctor after the baby is born.

• Medications that are safe for an infant to use are generally safe for nursing mothers, but, again, check with your doctor.

• Consider whether your condition (eg, headache, muscle pain, minor cold or allergy) really requires medical therapy: Try to find alternatives such as a heating pad or a cold compress. However, don’t dismiss a severe headache or neglect an illness that could worsen; you need to be in top form to nurse your baby.

• If you must take medication, choose the one that is safest for the baby. For example, acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) is generally preferable to aspirin for headaches and muscle pain.

• Whenever possible, use a topical form of a medication (cream, ointment, lotion, vaginal or rectal suppository) instead of an oral form, because less of the topical form will find its way into breast milk.

• Whenever possible, take medication just after nursing.

• If you must use a potentially risky medication, ask your doctor and/or pediatrician about monitoring drug levels in the baby’s blood.

Source article: What You Should Know About Medication Use While Breast-Feeding
Patient Handout prepared by Patricia L. Van Horn using materials from the American Academy of Pediatrics ( and the American Academy of Family Physicians (

What if I have a chronic medical condition?

If you need to take medication every day, you may still be able to nurse your baby if you’re willing to try dosage adjustments and alternative medications if necessary.

Allergies: Old standards (eg, Benadryl, Sudafed) are considered safe for use during breast-feeding. Nonsedating antihistamines (eg, Allegra, Claritin) are okay for short-term use. Over the long term, though, a steroid nasal spray (eg, Beconase, Flonase) or a cromolyn nasal spray (Nasalcrom) or inhaler (Intal) may be preferred.

Asthma: Inhaled steroids (eg, Flovent, Tilade) are a good bet. Oral steroids have been used for many years, and are considered safe during breast-feeding.

Heart disease: Standard medications, including diuretics, beta-blockers (eg, Inderal, Lopressor), calcium channel blockers (eg, Calan, Procardia), and ACE inhibitors (eg, Vasotec), are considered safe in breast-fed infants.

Diabetes: Most nursing mothers can use insulin or other drugs (eg, Glucotrol, Micronase, Orinase, Precose) without undue worry. However, you may want to avoid using Actos, Avandia, or Glucophage until more studies on their safety have been performed.

Epilepsy: Dilantin, Depakote, and Tegretol are considered preferable to other antiepileptic medications in terms of safety in breast-fed infants. However, nursing infants of Depakote and Tegretol users should undergo regular monitoring of liver function and blood cell counts.

Psychiatric conditions: Failure to take medication for certain disorders may hurt both you and your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics describes the effects of nearly all antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and antipsychotic drugs as “unknown but of possible concern.” In practice, some of these medications can be used safely if you and your baby are monitored carefully and dosages and drug selection are adjusted when necessary.

Depression: Most antidepressants are considered safe for use during breast-feeding, but the tricyclics (eg, Elavil, Norpramin, Pamelor) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (eg, Prozac, Zoloft) are favored. Less information is available on the safety of Desyrel, Effexor, Serzone, and Wellbutrin in breast-fed infants.

Anxiety: Shorter-acting medications such as Ativan, Restoril, and Xanax are preferred over Valium, which stays in the mother’s system for a longer period of time.

Psychosis: Haldol and Thorazine are the best choices for nursing mothers, but only in low doses. Lithium use is not recommended; if it’s absolutely necessary, infants’ blood concentrations should be monitored.

Source article: What You Should Know About Medication Use While Breast-Feeding
Patient Handout prepared by Patricia L. Van Horn using materials from the American Academy of Pediatrics ( and the American Academy of Family Physicians (

Which drugs are the safest?

Most antibacterials, antivirals, anti-epileptics, antihypertensives, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), anticoagulants, and prednisone compounds are usually safe in breast-fed infants.

You can become pregnant while you’re breast-feeding (despite the common myth that suggests otherwise), so you should use some type of contraception if you want to avoid another pregnancy right away. Although birth-control pills are generally considered safe for nursing mothers, their effects on breast milk vary widely depending on the type. Estrogen in these pills may decrease the quantity of breast milk, so a progestin-only “mini- pill” may be preferred.

Source article: What You Should Know About Medication Use While Breast-Feeding
Patient Handout prepared by Patricia L. Van Horn using materials from the American Academy of Pediatrics ( and the American Academy of Family Physicians (

Which medications are prohibited?

Women who use anticancer medications or illicit drugs (eg, amphet- amines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, PCP) should not breastfeed. Those who need to take a radioactive compound (eg, gallium, iodine, technetium) for a diagnostic test or cancer treatment should stop nursing temporarily. Aspirin, bromocriptine, ergotamine, and phenobarbital should be used with great caution.

Source article: What You Should Know About Medication Use While Breast-Feeding
Patient Handout prepared by Patricia L. Van Horn using materials from the American Academy of Pediatrics ( and the American Academy of Family Physicians (

Are there any other advice?

• Avoid drinking alcohol; if you do have a drink, have it right after nursing.

• Try to avoid consuming caffeine, which can build up in your baby’s system and cause nervousness, irritability, and poor feeding. One cup of coffee in the morning is probably okay, but it’s better to switch to decaffeinated coffee, tea, and soft drinks.

• Don’t smoke near babies. It increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and it can also reduce milk production and restrict weight gain by the infant.

• Keep nursing if you get a cold, the flu, or a bacterial infection. By the time you experience symptoms of these illnesses, your baby has probably already been exposed. Also, your baby can receive helpful antibodies through your milk.

• If you can’t breastfeed while you’re ill, express your milk so that it can be refrigerated and used as needed.

• You can continue to nurse if you have mastitis (infection of the breast). Even with severe infections and breast abscesses, you need to stop breast-feeding for only a short period.

• Silicone breast implants probably have no harmful effects on breast milk or the nursing process. • Don’t breast-feed if you have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or tuberculosis. It may not be advisable to nurse if you have had breast cancer.

Breast-feeding is prohibited in very few medical situations. In most cases, you can work with your doctor to find medications that will control your symptoms while allowing you and your baby to enjoy all of the benefits of nursing.

Source article: What You Should Know About Medication Use While Breast-Feeding
Patient Handout prepared by Patricia L. Van Horn using materials from the American Academy of Pediatrics ( and the American Academy of Family Physicians (



If I am flying, can I check in my expressed milk with my baggage?

Yes, but we always recommend you print out and bring along the airline’s TSA (Travel Security Administration) document which states that it is allowed to be checked in. So, if you are questioned at the airport, you can produce the printed document as reference.

I have seen mothers storing the milk in containers with dry ice or ice packs and wrapping that. You have to do it yourself. The airline won’t do it for you. Make sure you label it.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

Can I use a breast pump on the flight?

Yes, if you use a manual pump.

I’m planning to travel soon. Any travelling tips for nursing mothers?

Travelling Tips

I think the best part about breastfeeding is that you don’t have to worry about ensuring clean water supplies and go through the hassle of sterilising bottles! Breast milk is naturally sterile and contains immune factors, so it is the safest drink for your baby while travelling. If your baby is over six months of age and needs dietary supplements, consider using formulations that don't require mixing in water, such as vitamin drops. If you have a toddler, you may want to bring along chewable supplements. Here’s a checklist of helpful tips and suggested items to bring along for your trip:

  • Do your research & planning: Ask your friends or travel agent for advice on children-friendly airlines. Some airlines are more accommodating than others. You may want to seek suggestions from your travel agent on airline travel with children
  • If you are unsure of the availability of baby products at your destination, take enough supplies to last you the entire trip ie. Wet tissues, diapers, liquid cleanser for baby stuff etc. Take sachets of gastrolyte in case your baby develops diarrhoea.
  • If you are travelling to a tropical country with beaches etc, take extra care to avoid insect bites. Some suggestions:
    • make sure your baby’s skin is well covered with clothes
    • wear insect repellent (preferably one that is safe for babies)
    • use insect sprays or bring along an electric mosquito repellent to use in  your hotel room
  • Bring along a Digital Thermometer/Fever Scan
  • Medication for baby ie. Fever Patch, Cold/Flu Syrup, Voltaren suppositories which are for rectal use only and can bring down a fever faster.
  • Medication for mother ie. Panadol, Flu medication, charcoal tablets and Oral Rehydration Salt(ORS) sachets to treat diarrhea, vitamin supplements
  • Other medications: Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can be passed to your baby via your breast milk. Only take medications prescribed or recommended by your doctor who knows you are breastfeeding. If possible, take with you all the (safe) over-the-counter drugs you think you may need for the duration of your trip. Remember that other countries may not stock familiar brands, and what you assume to be a suitable substitute may not be a good thing to take while breastfeeding
  • Baby Blanket/Sleep Sack
  • If you plan to express milk, take your own equipment (such as breast pump) with you. Use disposable milk storage bags or containers. Don't forget to bring the power point adaptor if your breast pump is electric. Bring along a universal power point adaptor just in case (most hardware stores sell these) ie. Power sockets in European countries normally different
  • If you are travelling alone with baby, ask the airline if it is possible to have an 'assistant' who will help you at each stop. For example, the staff member might collect your luggage for you.
  • While travelling by plane, try to time your baby's feeds so they are drinking during take off and landing. This will reduce the likelihood of ear pain triggered by the changes in cabin pressure. Most airlines have a special seat belt for babies.
  • Wear nursing clothes/sling/nursing cover/shawl if you wish to avoid unpleasant attention while breastfeeding in public.
  • Carry your valuables on your body, such as in a belt worn next to the skin or a special travelling bag to store all your important documents, cash and valuables. Thieves tend to target women travelling with young children simply because mothers are often distracted and not able to hold onto their handbags.

You may experience a drop in milk supply

Your milk supply may decrease during your trip. This could be due to stress, jet lag, dehydration or illness (such as travellers' diarrhoea). It may help if you:

  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks
  • Don't smoke and Avoid smoky environments
  • Try to get adequate rest whenever possible
  • Continue to breastfeed, but increase your water intake if you get travellers' diarrhoea.

by Rita Rahayu Omar <>

  • Babycenter website
  • Better Health Channel website managed by the Victorian Government’s Department of Human Services, Australia



Are there any spiritual benefits of breastfeeding my child?

Allah subhannahu wa ta'ala says in His Qur'an:

وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ ۖ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ ۚ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ لَا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ لَّهُ بِوَلَدِهِ ۚ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَٰلِكَ ۗ فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالًا عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا ۗ وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمْ أَن تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُم مَّا آتَيْتُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۗ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

"Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is the mothers' provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable. No person is charged with more than his capacity. No mother should be harmed through her child, and no father through his child. And upon the [father's] heir is [a duty] like that [of the father]. And if they both desire weaning through mutual consent from both of them and consultation, there is no blame upon either of them. And if you wish to have your children nursed by a substitute, there is no blame upon you as long as you give payment according to what is acceptable. And fear Allah and know that Allah is Seeing of what you do." (2:233)


وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهًا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا ۖ وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلَاثُونَ شَهْرًا ۚ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِي

"And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, "My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims." (46:15)

In addition, Anas relates this hadith from al Tabarani:

Sallama, the nurse to the Prophet's (sallalahu aleyhi wa salaam) son Ibrahim said, 'O Messenger of God, you have brought tidings of all good things to men, but not to women.' He said, 'Did your women friends put you up to asking me this question?' 'Yes, they did,' she replied, and he said,' Does it not please any one of you that if she is pregnant by her husband and he is satisfied with that, she receives the reward of one who fasts and prays for the sake of Allah? And when her labor pains come, no one in the heavens or the earth knows what is concealed in her womb to delight her? And when she delivers, not a mouthful of milk flows from her, and not a suck does she give, but that she receives, for every mouthful and every suck the reward of one good deed. And if she is kept awake at night by her child, she receives the reward of one who frees seventy slaves for the sake of Allah.'"

Clearly, Allah subhannahu wa ta'ala has designed breast milk for our babies. The fact that the superior benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding are constantly being discovered should be sign enough for the Muslima. If artificial baby milk was really "just as good" as breast milk, then all or most of the benefits of breast milk would be present in formula. If artificial baby milk was just as beneficial to the mother-child relationship, then the above ayat and hadith (among others) would not be so clearly pro-breastfeeding. The existence of the milk mother (the one who suckles a child more than five times becomes as another mother to him) in Islamic law testifies to the fact that Muhammad (sallalahu aleyhi wa salaam), who himself had a milk mother named Halima, realized how extensive and important the bonding between a nursing woman and a baby is. And we know from the hadith in Bukhari that the mother is the most deserving of her offspring's attention, because of the care that she gave him when he was a child.

Source: Modern Muslima ( )

It’s time to pray, but my baby is still nursing. What do I do?

Salat with Baby

This when the benefits of baby wearing become even more evident to the nursing mother. If you own a baby sling of some sort, with practice, you can learn how to nurse the baby in the sling, while still going about your daily activities. It is possible to pray with a baby in the sling, but remember that you should support baby's head and body when making ruku and sajda.

Source: Modern Muslima -

How can I, as a Muslim woman, think about nursing in public?

Public breastfeeding is a hang-up that our sisters from some parts of Asia do not have. It is not uncommon to see women publicly breastfeeding throughout the Muslim world. If there is any group of women that has successfully combined public modesty with public breastfeeding, it is Muslim women. Just because you are a Muslim woman, or a nursing mother, does not mean that you are tied to your house for as long as your child nurses! With a few modifications and practice, you will find that you are soon nursing in public like a pro -- discreetly and modestly.

The first thing you are going to want to do is evaluate your wardrobe. Jumpers, dresses, thobes, and other items which do not open in the front will no longer be practical, unless you can adapt them for nursing by adding slits to them. Two piece outfits, abayas, and jilbabs which open easily will be the easiest thing to wear. There are some jilbabs which have an extra panel over the chest. You can probably cut a nursing slit right under this flap and pin it or sew buttons onto it, without completely wrecking the style of the jilbab.

If you do not already, you may also want to consider wearing 60"x60" scarves, or a cape-style khimar (the 2-piece style which comes down to at least the wrist). I was never a fan of this style of khimar, but as a nursing mother, I have discovered that it is the easiest style to wear, and allows me to nurse discreetly. You do not have to worry about it sliding off, unlike a blanket that you toss over the baby. I have also noticed that you can now find these khimars in colors other than black and white, and sometimes with pretty designs at the hem (although I've yet to see any that aren't in a solid color). I myself own several, including grey, burgundy, and lavender. With a cape style khimar, no one will be able to see if you leak milk onto your clothes (as so often happens in the early weeks). Also, with the cape style khimar, you can leave your jilbab unbuttoned at the top, allowing for less hassle when baby wants to nurse while you are out and about. And hey-- all you sewing sisters out there! You can design your own cape-khimars in prints and various fabrics.

Finally, if you still feel a little shaky, try "practicing" in front of a mirror, your husband, or someone else. Have them walk about you and look at you from various angles, and point out if anything is showing. When you do go out in public, and you are getting ready to nurse your child, look at something other than the baby. If you are looking down and fumbling with the baby, other people's eyes will be drawn to this area of your body.

Source: Modern Muslima -

Any other special tips for muslims moms?

Breastfeeding is not something that you should do with resentment. If you do not enjoy your nursing relationship with your child, that resentment will show in other aspects of your mother-child relationship. In our bottle feeding culture, we are often made to feel like breastfeeding is a hassle, while formula feeding is "more convenient," and more "modern." However, as Muslims, we should not be part of the mainstream culture, we should be like strangers. We should also be unconcerned with what the majority want, and look at what Allah wants. The superiority of breast milk over artificial baby milk is a clear indication that through His creation, Allah has given a gift to mothers and babies, one that we should be grateful for. The superiority of Allah created breast milk over man made formula is but one of the signs of His Majesty and Power, as well as His Mercy.

Source: Modern Muslima -



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