Thursday, October 24, 2013

My breast feeding journey

Breast feeding is not new to me. I set and hit my "KPI" for Xav five years ago and breastfed him to the age of 1. Yes, I managed to did it somehow though I belong to the category with not much milk supply to start with.

If you are a new mum and intend to breast feed your baby, you will be going through somehow a similar stage that most mummies who are into breast feeding went through;
- Waking up every three hourly in the nights for pumping duties
Latching baby in the middle of the night for comfort or dream feed because you are simply too tired to stay awake (you latch, baby drinks and both will eventaully fall asleep together with baby still latching onto your breast but mouth is not moving)
- All the washing and sterilizing the breast pump
- Buying milk bags to store and freeze excessive breast milk
Breast pads ( if you don't want your shirt to be soak with milk leaking due to the Let-down Reflex when baby is latching on to the other side
- The painful engorgement (thankfully, I got it once ONLY for both Xav and Vera). why would I say ONLY ? It is because that once and only engorgement is painful enough to send me crying and unable to sleep.
To relieve engorgement, my massage lady highly believes in not massaging on the painful breasts where the milk ducts are. But she taught me to rub on the back of my palm with the thumb from the other hand. The back of our palms actually represent our breasts. It works. I had an painful one and I rubbed through out the night and the next morning it got better. You will feel pain on the area u are rubbing on but once it relieved the engorgement, the pain will be gone.
- Breast feeding pillow to help support your tiring hands.

(You probably will be smiling as you read if you are having the same mindset as me back then). Being a first time mum with no experience and yet go strictly by the book that Xav die-die must be a total breastfed baby because everyone who is pro breastfeeding will tell you, breastmilk is the BEST !

During the first three days after I delivered Xav, I did not have a single drop of colostrum. My milk supply came in only after 3 weeks and before that it was real pathetic. How did I accumulate enough for Xav was combining all the milk which I diligently pumped out after I latched him on, to make up to the amount he drinks for the next day feed.

The only time I gave in reluctantly to give him formula milk was when he had to be admitted into the hospital for Jaundice. He needed to drink to flush it out. Be it how little, I remembered pumping out in the night and bringing down whatever I could provide for him and supplement with formula thereafter.

Back to Vera, I am still belonging to the low milk supply group. For her, her jaundice lasted for one full month. I watched my diet very closely as it could be due to breast milk jaundice or whichever factor that may have contributed to it. Although there isn't any list of food to really avoid for breast feeding mums, but it is still up to individual to avoid should there be concern of any food allergies. For my case, I am avoiding food that may cause baby to be gassy, seafood as well as dairy products as advised by the Paediatrician. You can read up more HERE.

Green papaya with fishbone soup, Lactagreek, drank pretty lots of water but my supply did not seem to increase. It took me a month to slowly build up my supply, which hit the max at 110ml. This amount was before the confinement lady left.

Amt from Week 1 to Week 6

The stash which I painstakingly built up. Normally I will not freeze for more than 3 months.

Some of the frozen treasures which I accumulated when CL was around.

The date, time and volume indicated served as a reminder to me which pack is "expiring" soon so that I will de-froze it and warm it up for Vera.

Indication of the volume in each pack, date and time

After CL left, I hardly have any time nor the luxury to pump and store the expressed breast milk (EBM). My supply was slowly dipping due to lack of rest. I even went to order lactation cookies from one of the fellow August 2013 mums, hoping that it will help to boost my milk supply.

This time round, I was not so persistent that Vera needs to be totally breastfeed. But rather she chose to be. Two weeks after the confinement lady left, she totally rejects drinking from the bottle and only wants the boobs ! She would rather starve and sleep, waited for my return so that she could latch on me.

Surprisingly, her consistent latching this few weeks, somehow managed to send the signal to the brain that more supply is needed. I felt that my milk supply started to kick in more and breasts feel fuller when it's near to the next feeding time.

Normally, Vera will only wake once in the middle of the night for one milk feed. Last week, she slept from 11.30pm all the way to the next day 9.30 pm. I had no choice but to pump out. I broke my own record and set a new record of my own, pumping out 140 ml instead of the normal 80-110ml. It may seem to be not as much as those who have high supply. For me, I have broken my own record.

What we eat will be what is going into the breast milk. On too of having a healthy diet, I supplement myself with calcium pills as well as DHA.

Now I just need to have a tin of FM powder on standby just in case, she has a sudden change of mind to take bottle again. To the mums to be, new mummies and second/third/fourth time mummies who has low milk supply like me. Press on, don't be stress (Trying to remind myself as well), keep latching and trust the baby to be a better "pump". They can achieve the Let-Down Reflex in us which the breast pump can't (For my case). No matter how little or low your supply can be, you have done your best and do not be depressed !

Yes, it is a tiring journey. But it takes perseverance to keep it going. Daddies, who can't latch the babies, please do give support to the mummies ya ! I'm thankful that I have a supportive hubby all these while !

Here's my happy lil' Vera, currently on mummy's milk exclusively !

Linking up with Sandra :


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Good sharing, MyNutriBaby is an online community education programme and led by Nutrition Society Malaysia (NSM) and supported by Philips Avent Malaysia, is running a campaign that focuses on the importance of supporting breastfeeding mothers at their workplaces. For detail visit:

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Zhantao Wu said...

You are a great mother.

It is not easy to hold on to breastfeeding for long in a country that is not seriously promoting breastfeeding.

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28daysmy said...

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