Friday, March 25, 2016

My Breastfeeding Journey

Before I was married, I told my husband that I WILL breastfeed our child if I ever become a mother because we can save up a lot wtf. Honestly, it wasn't because of the goodness as I was not well educated on the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby. All I was certain is that it's free and it's gonna save us a lot of kaching lol. I was so ready to breastfeed my own baby even before getting married thanks to the people around me.

So when I found out that I was pregnant, I started to do more studies on how to kick start my breastfeeding journey. I was lucky as I have cousins who were already breastfeeding their children so I can turn to them when I have questions. Besides reading online articles and asking my cousins questions, I also attended a complimentary prenatal class provided by the hospital. And to make sure I started off on the right track, after much self debate, I registered myself into Gina's Place : The Breastfeeding Postnatal Centre to do my confinement. Debated because it's really pricey as compared to hiring a confinement lady. But let me tell you this: It's worth every single penny we paid. I'll share more with you in another post.

And that was it. I concluded that I have to start latching within the first hour and the rest will slowly take place. I thought I was well prepared and ready.

The First 2 Painful Months

Before Charlotte's arrival, I'd sometimes playfully squeeze my nipples during bath time (sorry too much info) so by 20 weeks pregnant, I already had white liquid coming out when I squeeze my nipple. This makes me even more confident that I can breastfeed my baby. True enough, before I went into the operation theater on that fateful day, my gynae pinched my nipple and said, "Good! Your milk has already kicked in." Oh what joy to hear these words!

After delivery, I took Charlotte to the breast and started to let her latch. To make sure I have milk, I'd pinch my nipple to form big drops of milk on it before I let her latch on. I remember as I fed and the nurse was watching, I kept asking if I was doing it right. The nurse took a look and said, "Yes. Oh, and please make sure that her nose is not covered. Hold on your breast so there's airway for her to breathe."

So I did as told. I carried her on one hand and used the other hand to "remove" the flesh of my breast that could possibly block her breathing airway.

After latching, I was surprised to see the shape of my nipple became long and had BLOOD BLISTERS! I was horrified but didn't react much cause I knew it was gonna hurt somehow. So I told myself that it's normal.

I got discharged the next day and checked into Gina's Place. By then, my boobs were sore and painful but I thought, it's ok, I'll be taken care of soon.

When Gina came in, she attended to me to see if I was doing well. I told her proudly that I've been feeding Charlotte since the first hour, though the pain is a little bothering.

She looked as I was feeding Charlotte that time, and asked why am I pressing my breast. When I told her that I was told to do so by the nurse at the hospital, she looked at me and said that our breast are formed perfectly for a baby to latch on, whether it's big or small. There's no need to purposely "create" an air way for her to breathe. When I unlatched Charlotte, she saw my cracked nipples and went, "Oh dear, they're pretty hurt!". Charlotte was not latching properly and what I thought was normal (cracked nipples) are actually not okay!

The consequences of not attending a proper breastfeeding class.

I was totally not well prepared when I thought I was! When Gina asked why I didn't attend her breastfeeding class, I was brought to tears and told her about my financial difficulty. You see, I resigned before I found out that I was pregnant. I also turned down a good job opportunity and missed another one. So I was pretty unemployed throughout my pregnancy. I was ready to fork out one big sum for the hospital bill and for the confinement center so I tried my best to save up on other little things. Well, attending a proper breastfeeding class shouldn't be a "little thing". I learnt it the hard way.

The first 2 months of my breastfeeding journey was the most hurtful of all! Every time before Charlotte latches on, I have to count to 3, or sometimes 5, to prepare myself for the first latch. It's so hurtful that I have to hunch my back, bend my knees and bite my lips when she first latch on. It gets ok after that first 10 seconds. But imagine having to feed every 2 hours! I never thought of giving up but the pain, oh dear, the pain was taking a toll on me.

So I went to seek for more advice. I went to the doctor to check if Charlotte was tongue-tied but she's not. After examination, the doctor said she can suck very well. So the doctor prescribed me with medication for my cracked nipples. I applied it religiously and washed with tap water after every feed and tap it dry with a towel so that the bacteria in Charlotte's saliva won't prolong the crack. Thankfully after 2 freaking months, and with the support from my beloved husband, Nipples of Steel are formed wtf.

Since then, breastfeeding has been a blissful journey. Now Charlotte can pull up down left right and I feel nothing!

On Direct Latching

Direct latching could get a little difficult later as the baby is more sensitive to her surroundings. She'd latch on a while and then unlatch to kepoh and then latch on again. But I have to say this, to be able to nurse her directly is the most awesome feeling I could ever ask for. I know that she will want no one but me when she's hungry because I', her sole food supplier wtf.

Feeding my baby directly also gives me the convenience I need everywhere I go. I don't have to worry about how many bottles of milk I need to bring out or how much hot water is enough to bring out to warm her milk. Whenever she's hungry, I'll just need to unbutton my shirt and stuff it right into her mouth lolol. No cleaning up necessary too! Let me show you a few pictures of me breastfeeding in public.

Using the carrier.

On the plane.

Covered with a nursing apron.

I used the carrier (best investment EVER!) most of the time to carry her wherever I go so most of the nursing happens there lol. It's easy and convenient. You might feel a little intimidated for the first time (nursing in public!) but after a few practice, You'll get the hang of it. 

On Pumping

Although Charlotte stays with me most of the time even when I'm working, I'd still pump to stock up in case of emergency. I have to admit that I don't pump regularly, especially at night cause of laziness. In the beginning, I'd do tandem pumping and I only yield 3 - 4oz per session. Mind you, that's normal yield! Not low yield. You might have seen some mommies sharing their high yield result online i.e. 10oz in 7 minutes. It's good to have high yield and I do get jealous sometimes. Anyway, I think my milk regulated and 5oz per pumping session was the maximum I could yield so far.

When I started working and she then had a nanny to look after her, whenever she used up 2 bottles, I'd wish to stock up 4 bottles. I felt insecure cause I used to compare myself with other mommies who can yield very well. When Charlotte was 5 months old, nanny quit cause her daughter-in-law gave birth to a baby boy. Since then, Charlotte has never taken the bottle. I'd still pump and stock them up. My freezer became so full and in the end, I have to give some away to make way for fresh ones.

So far, I've donated almost 300oz of milk. 35oz was used to make 2 kg of breastmilk soap. 10oz are now processing to be made into beads! I'll show you after I get them in around July. I've also used some to bath Charlotte. Ya, the milk bath.

Second time donating milk. Roughly 100oz here.  

If you'd like to know, I use Spectra M1 to pump. My faithful pump has served me for a good whole 10 months. But on the 19th of March, 2016, I decided to keep it away in the cabinet cause, well, I haven't been pumping since January. It's been lying around ready to serve me anytime but there's just no time for it. And since Charlotte direct latches 24seven, I couldn't pump out extra to stock up. The last time I pump was on the 1st of March but I could only yield 2oz after 45 minutes. So with a heavy heart, I put it away. ThankQ pump. I hope you'll be able to serve again some time in the future. Hopefully.

1 more month!

Yes, exactly 1 more month till Charlotte reach ONE and till I reach my first breastfeeding target. My goal is to at least breastfeed her for 2 years but I won't pressure myself. When will I let her wean off? When she's ready. Even if it means another 3 more years, or that I won't have enough sleep or rest, or that I'm the only person who can comfort her and put her to sleep, I don't mind. I'm still breastfeeding now and I'm treasuring every moment we share cause it's just too precious to me.

If you're breastfeeding, kudos to you for giving your child the best you can give. Just remember, if it feels hard to carry on, the nights are long and the years are short.

I live by these words and it has got me through many sleepless nights :)

Happy Breastfeeding!

1 comment:

  1. well done Mommy Michelle!! Totally proud of you!