18 July 2018

Another post that I've been eager to write about is my breastfeeding journey for 7 months. My son has now started his weaning journey so I think it's the right time to share my experience on breastfeeding as I know some of the new mothers out there may have a lot of questions as I did when I started my journey. My mother didn't have the opportunity to breastfeed me and I bet most of your mothers didn't as well since we mostly grew up at a time formula milk was the main option. Now the time has changed and studies show that mothers milk is the best option and with the encouragement to breastfeed we see in our country, it makes us more eager to do so especially for new mothers like me. I'm glad that I've been able to breastfeed my baby until now but it wasn't an easy journey, I felt pain, heartbroken, stress at the same time for me to be able to reach until now. Keep on reading if you want to know more.

If you read my post, PENGALAMAN BERSALIN you'll know that I've started breastfeeding since day one and clueless too. I went through a lot to keep on breastfeeding and I'll tell you about it as we go through this post. After 7 months, I could say I could say it's easy peasy once you get the hang of it. (But I still get drenched with milk most of the time. ;p)

So let me share a bit of thing on what you'll be needing to make your breastfeeding journey a little smoother:

1. Nursing Bras
Just throw out all your old bras as you won't be needing them anymore. Say bye-bye to push-ups too as you'll need your breast to be as comfortable as you can. Why? You'll find out that comfortability wins over figure after you breastfeed as with a crying baby in your arms, you'll surely want to feed it as quick as you can.

2. Manual pump
Even if you have an electric one, owning a manual one is a must, well for me it is. You don't have to buy an expensive one. My recommendation is this manual silicon pump which sticks to your breasts. Why? This is to collect milk and prevent a wet shirt when you breastfeed and since it sticks, you'll have free hands to support your baby. You can get these silicon breast pumps super cheap in Shopee. These pumps don't really pump out milk easily as it's cheap but it's a great milk collector. I'm still bumed that I didn't discover this earlier.

3. Electric pump
This is important for working breastfeeding mothers. You can read my previous post on this but to cut things short, electric pumps are the best solution to clear out your breasts if you don't have your baby with you or if your baby doesn't drink much. Take note that you'll always have to make sure your breasts are clear to provide more milk and to avoid mastitis. I used Tomee Tipee's breast pump during my earlier days but then changed to Pigeon's Breast Pump Pro as it provides more pumping options than the previous one. But I still use it as a spare at my mums' house.

4. Sterilizer
It may not seem important to some mothers but if you read what happens if you don't sterilize your baby bottles, I'll bet you'll be running to the store immediately. At first, I was like that too but it was the first present I received when I got pregnant and I remember Tammy saying that you'll be needing this. Which turned out so true, I'm so thankful for it as it's one of the things that I really needed and I didn't know it at first. Besides, this is not only used for bottles, it can be used for toys and weaning appliances.

5. Breastmilk storage bottles & bags
Make sure you're breastmilk bottles & bags are meant for breastmilk as it'll be easier for you to clean and sterilised properly. I didn't have much milk to start with so what I do is I collected milk and put it in the bottle, once it's full I'll transfer it to a bag and straight in the freezer. I have about a dozen storage bottles which then I ended up using only half of it. You don't really need a lot of bottles if you're direct feeding your baby unless if you send him to a nanny, then you'll need those extra bottles.

6. Baby Bottle/Toy Wash
If hygiene is important to you, I'll bet you'll bring this everywhere like I do. There are so many brands in the market but I love Pigeon's the most but it's quite pricey. I've changed to Tesco's brand as it does the job perfectly, but I'm still using Pigeon's foam bottle. These baby washes are usually 100% safe and made from natural ingredients which kill germs as well. So you'll know that there you're baby is safe, especially when he reaches the stage to put everything in his mouth.

7. Milk Warmer
I never really used this, so this has always been my mums and should be there too. While I was working, my mum took care of my son so this has been a major help to her. Since I was determined to breastfeed, I had to trouble my mum to provide my milk to my son which includes thawing and warming up milk slowly. Do know that you can never boil milk as it'll lose its benefits. Warming breastmilk takes time as you can only heat it up with hot water and having a milk warmer makes it easier. I'm again thankful for my colleagues as they thought of this for me and gave me it as a present. Until now it's still used at my mums and I'll only leave Maliq alone with my mum.

During my early days of pregnancy is was quite a challenge and I bet all mothers go through that since we and our body are not used to it yet. Don't worry, it'll slowly easy out over time.

If you read my post, PENGALAMAN BERSALIN I mentioned that the first time I breastfed I was quite clueless as well. The first time the baby seemed to know what he was doing. I just held in my arms in a cradle position at the hospital bed. He didn't drink much the first time and instantly fell asleep, make sure to always burp your baby after a feeding session especially for newborns.

So, here's my experience for the past 7 months of breastfeeding

During Confinement
This was the worst stage of my experience I had so much going through. The first week in the hospital I fully breastfed my baby and it was tiring when it started reaching the 2nd week. Why? My baby takes so much time being fed and it takes more than 30 minutes for each session and for breastfed babies, milk needs to be provided every hour since mothers milk digest easily. I kept finding info from google in the early days as my mum never had a chance to breastfed her babies, so she kept pressuring me to just start formula as my baby kept crying all the time.

As stubborn as I usually am, I didn't allow that as I was determined to make sure I could provide milk. So I endured the pain and tried my best to not complain as it was the decision I made. Another reason why I was determined to breastfeed is that my husband just started to bloom in his career and his financial wasn't that strong yet. I didn't want to add him more pressure by providing formula which means adding up our expenses, as I was certain I could produce milk.

So the first month was the hardest as I didn't have much sleep at night and my baby was mostly in my arms most of the time. Even though there are many positions you could breastfeed a baby, I was most comfortable with sitting down and holding him my arms. Like I mentioned above, breastfed babies need to be fed every hour for newborns and each normal session will take within 10 to 15 minutes maximum up to 30 minutes. But for me at that time, my son will stay stuck to me up to 3 to 4 hours which surely stressed me out. I sought advise from the doctors and read a lot of other experience shared by mothers through google and found out that my son just finds comfort in my arms. So I made sure that he doesn't fall asleep when he's breastfed which was rather hard as when I pull him away he suddenly starts sucking again. Later on,  I kinda had to force the feed to stop after 30 minutes because I couldn't take it already. My baby would start crying at first but after a while it was okay.

Just as I thought the experience was getting better, I was attacked with pain. I didn't have crack or inverted nipples which I'm super blessed for but suddenly I felt pain at the side of my breasts which stings super bad. The pain was so extreme that I rejected my son to direct fed and gave my milk through bottle instead. The Dr said that my breasts were fine so it got me confused but still I was determined to make sure my son only drank my milk. I almost had a breakdown as I was pressured by the older folks to start giving formula as they see that the milk I pumped didn't even reach an Oz after a pumping session. I kept being stubborn and tried my best to withstand the pain even though I cried most of the time. My emotions were unstable and even I got mad at my husband when he says it's fine if I wanted to give our baby formula if it hurts so much.

After a week I think, the pain reduced and I was able to direct feed my son again. I finally got the hang of breastfeeding and my sessions weren't long anymore. Every hour I'll manage to feed him within 10 minutes and then he'll fall asleep. The thing that was a hassle was that I had to pump my other breast as it leaks when I feed my baby on the other. At that time I didn't discover the magical thing yet, (the silicon pump). So I had to trouble myself to make sure my pump was on when I wanted to breastfeed and it wasn't easy holding a baby and a pump on the other hand. It was tiring, but I hated it when my milk was leaking as I needed those precious drops of milk to save. I needed to prepare milk before I start work again and my milk only reaches 1oz max for each pumping session.

I tried all the tips like eating certain types of food, power pumping, taking supplements and etc but it didn't work for me. It did increase a bit to 2oz maximum 3oz once a while but most of the time were still 1 oz. So I just faced the fact and used what I had because I was still determined to breastfeed after I started work. Each day I collected milk from each session and combined it in a milk storage bottle which then I'll transfer it to a milk bag at the end of the day. I only managed to get 1 bag per day at that time.

After Confinement
I added another 1 month to my confinement leave so I could stock up more milk as my milk didn't seem to increase. Thank goodness after a month it did slowly increase, but to think of it now, I think my milk always was enough for my little one as I noticed that the first time I pumped with my baby drinking directly from me, I managed to get 2 full bottles at one pump. Before, I always fed my baby on time but when I started working again, I was fully separated from him and depended on my pump. You can read my post on breastfeeding for working mothers to know more.

My breasts would swell easily and very fast as well, so every 2 hours I had no choice but to run down and pump it out. If not it would leak, hurt and I won't be able to focus on anything. Do read my post on working mothers to know how I managed to keep on breastfeeding my baby even though we were separated for days. Honestly, the journey wasn't easy and I mostly had breakdowns because it hurts. That's one of the factors which led me to resign and fully focus on my son now.

I also got Shingles a week before I resigned, you can read my post what Shingles is and if it's safe to breastfeed. Yes, it hurt like crazy when I first got it and it took time to heal also. Thank goodness I got MC for the week as I don't think I'll be able to cope with the pain.

After Baby has Weaned
I was thinking it'll make a lot of difference once my baby starts weaning, but it seems he still depends on milk a lot. I read mostly mothers lose their milk once baby starts weaning and eating properly but for me, it's still the same. Probably my baby's demand for milk is still high. If he doesn't direct latch and I don't pump, my breast will get swollen so easily and yes it still hurts. Even if I pump it's not enough to clear it all, I'll still need my baby to direct latch.

I don't store milk every day now as I've used too much space in my fridge and my mum's as well but I still managed to get milk out by simply just letting it flow out with using this manual silicon pump. If I don't use this, I'll get drenched in milk and I hate having to change so many shirts a day.

While for feeding positions, I changed to laying down when my baby reached 4kg. I simply couldn't hold him that long any longer. Besides, after he got bigger, he also doesn't feel comfortable latching in my arms anymore. Before this, I was afraid to let him latch in a laydown position as I was worried he couldn't breathe and his body was so fragile. But now, I could even sleep while he latches. Haha.. just make sure that your tummy and his tummy meets. Don't torture your child by making him drink with a 90 degree turned neck. What I usually do to make him stay put to my belly is put a pillow behind his back.

Heads up
Breastfeeding may be a remarkable experience but not everything goes as planned. Be prepared for some of these experiences happening to you.

1. Leaks
This happens a lot, and sometime you'll just get drenched and after a while, you'll just not care anymore. 

2. Smells like sour milk
Yes, you'll have a strong scent of sour milk at the end of the day but you could always cover up with perfume. But there's no way running from it if you're on duty the whole day at home with house chores. That's why I showered a lot at home as I easily get discomfort when I start to smell, I don't want my baby to be uncomfortable as well as he's breastfeeding.

3. Always hungry
Some mothers are blessed cause they tend to slim down while breastfeeding, but for me, it's completely the opposite. I'm hungry all the time which causes a lot of snacking and of course gaining weight.

4. Unable to eat everything you want
Some babies might be allergic to the foods you love so you'll have to be careful with what you eat. In my case, I'm blesses as my son is fine with anything I eat. Which again is the reason why I'm gaining so much weight.

So that's mostly it. I think this post is long enough but don't worry I'll keep on updating new posts on my motherly journey and share it with you guys.

Till then peeps!

1 comment

  1. Awhh.. Thank you singgah blog. Congrats on your newborn. Hope everything goes smooth.


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