Breastfeeding – 6 Months Milestone HIT!

I admit, I did have second thoughts of continuing to breastfeed little milo but I’m glad that I did not and persevere on! And now that I’d pumped for the past 6 months, I FEEL SO SATISFIED!! Especially when my little milo is such a chubby little cutie!

Indeed, it had been a long and arduous journey, with me waking up at the wee hours during the earlier months, and pumping every 3 hours. Now that I’m mostly pumping 4 times a day, it definitely gave me more rest time. But that doesn’t make it much easier for I usually only get to sleep around midnight, and then subsequently waking up at 6am to ensure that I’m not too late for work.

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Breastfeeding – All the Abbreviation

Alright. I’m on it. I’m on it. Can’t you see I’m trying to catch up with my blog (lots of drafts – half written – in the list) as well as catching with my sleep!

It’s been 6 weeks pp since I gave birth to my LO and my world is still spinning and moving in random mode. But thankfully and hopefully it will stabilize soon so that I can start to do what I planned previously. I’ve been saying that very frequently and like what Ellen mentioned, let’s discuss about ‘procrastination’ and then the next she said, ‘maybe we will wait for another day’.

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Increasing the Milk Supply

It felt as if a big rock was thrown right at me after I realized that there was a sudden drop in my milk supply when I suffered from Mastitis. An inexperience first time mum, without much people to ask and not knowing where to start. Everyone was feeding me with different sets of information.

And then the following was what I concluded after experiencing and trying all out. There isn’t any sure method or prescription that will guarantee an increase in milk supply because it all depends on the individuals. But these methods definitely helped in one way or another:

  • Latch. Yes, this is the simplest way because the creator of Earth had made it so simple such that you just have to latch correctly, and you’ll ensure an abundance of milk supply. The word is “correctly”.
  • Drink lots of water. I really mean lots and lots of it. In the first place, you’ll probably just get very thirsty naturally. Soups or longan drink can be in replacement of water in the event if plain water are not allowed during confinement.
  • Massage the breasts. Do this before and during a feed/pump. This will stimulate and activate the milk flow, and thus increases the amount of milk flowing out.
  • Warm towel. Cover your breasts with a warm towel before a feed/pump. It will help to “melt” those clogged ducts and therefore a smoother milk flow. Use this together with some massaging.
  • Sleep. Babies are not the only one who should sleep a lot. Leave everything else to the others and just concentrate on breastfeeding, eating and sleeping. If you can’t have enough rest, your body and mind won’t function well at all, don’t even mention about producing milk!
  • Relax. It definitely doesn’t help to get overstress on that already low milk supply. The more stress you get, the lesser the supply will go. That’s how our brain functions. When overstress, stops all work. So, just relax and enjoy the breastfeeding process, and your baby will have enough milk. And the fallback plan? There’s always the milk powder.
  • Eat protein food. I know you are dying to get rid of that droopy tummy that once was the home of your baby. But it sure isn’t a good time to go on a diet. When there’s no input, there’s no output. If you don’t eat, where do you think the nutrients of our breastmilk come from? Eat. And eat nutritious food. Diet can always come later.
  • Think about your baby. This will help because when you think of your baby, somehow, you can feel the love you have for him/her. And your body automatically relaxes itself. Of course, it probably will bring a smile on your face too.
  • Imagine the flow of milk. The mind controls everything. If you can control and imagine the milk flow, from the body, and slowly moving out through the milk ducts, you might just find out that it actually works!
  • Empty your breasts. This is very important. Remember to empty it as much as possible because if it’s not empty, the body will just produce that little amount to fill it up. And unknowingly, the body would think that there isn’t a need to produce that much milk, and thus decrease the milk supply. How do you know if it’s empty? The breasts will feel very “light” and not engorge (swollen/full) at all.
  • Increase the number of pumps/feeds. The more you feed or pump, the more the breasts get emptied and thus, the milk supply will increase. But do note, DO NOT overdo it because it might tire your body out. If you are breastfeeding directly, you’ll probably have to follow the baby’s feeding schedule. But if you are pumping exclusively, a maximum of 8-9 pumps a day would be more than enough.
  • Herbs. Fenugreek and Mother’s milk tea are both taken by breastfeeding mothers to increase their milk supply. But seriously, there’s no guarantee. Personally, it doesn’t work for me but nonetheless I put it down here for reference as it works for some actually. If there’s any side effects (I’d never heard of any yet), please stop immediately. Would be good if you consult your lactation consultant.

Well, hope all this will help you in one way or another. Good luck!

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Motherhood – Deciding to Exclusive Pump

I cried on the day I decided to stop latching and go for exclusive pumping. It wasn’t an easy decision. I felt guilty. It felt like I’d deprived my baby of the chance to latch on and drink the breastmilk which contains lots of nutrients. The bonding time for just the two of us seems to be snatched away.

The baby couldn’t latch properly and was way too impatient to be taught. The external stress and pressure from the family members was way too high, insisting that the baby wasn’t drinking enough and that it was difficult to gauge the amount of milk that the baby had drunk. On top of that, the breast infection that was caused by a crack in the nipple didn’t help much, which also resulted in a fever. I gave up.

But that wasn’t the end. As much as I had to give up on latching, the idea of providing breastmilk to my baby didn’t stop here. After all, if I were to exclusively pump and feed it to the baby using the milk bottle, she would still be drinking breastmilk, isn’t it? And isn’t that the most important thing? Which is for her to get all the nutrients from breastmilk?

So that’s what I did. Day and night, I read up online on anything related to exclusive pumping. I was determined to continue to provide breastmilk for my 2 weeks old baby then. And I wanted to see if anyone else did that. Surprisingly, there was, and quite a number too! That was about 2 months back.

Today, I’m still exclusively pumping though the milk supply wasn’t a lot. As a mother, I feel that I need to try my best to provide for my baby, and at the same time, not stressing myself too much. So, I’d come up with a theory: If the baby can latch, let the baby latch. Else, pump exclusively and feed the baby using a milk bottle. If all else failed, milk powder will be the last option. There’s always ways to make up for that “bonding time” or “nutrients”. The bottom line is, “Don’t give up!”, your baby still loves you even if you never breastfeed him/her.

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Types of Breast Pumps

It’s really confusing. Really. Especially when there’s different brands and types of breast pumps and what not in the market. Before I got to use it, I totally have no idea what’s the difference. And reading information from the Internet and books simply doesn’t help me to make a decision. The problem is, I have totally no idea what I’ll be faced with. And in the end, after some trying for a month or so, I came up with the my own conclusion.

So to simplify and not to confuse myself (or yourself) even further, I categorized it into 3 groups, generally for those people out there who needs to get it for personal use. Here it is (regardless of the brands):

(1) Manual Breast Pumps – These are basically pumps where you have to do it manually, i.e. pump it yourself instead of the machine doing it for you. Which means, for the 15-30 minutes (or longer) where you sit and pump, you have to keep on pressing the handle. Pros: It’s the cheapest compared to the other two. You get to controlled when the milk is to be pumped. [For first time mum, FYI, sometimes you can actually feel when the milk is about to come out]. And from what I’ve heard, the suction is supposed to be quite good. Cons: It’s really tiring and thus I gave up after only a few tries. Imaging doing a repeated action of closing and opening your palms with force, or maybe, squeezing a stress ball. Price: Less than $100.

(2) Single Electric Breast Pumps – These pumps, as what the name said, only pump a single breast, a.k.a. one at a time. Pros: Since it’s electric, the machine pumps for you. It’s good for those mum who is on total breastfeed, and would like to pump out EXTRA milk after the feed for storage. The price is still acceptable. Cons: If you are thinking of exclusive pumping or to increase your milk supply, this will not be the choice. Milk comes out in this way, if one breast is being stimulated, the other will too, which means, if you pump only one side, milk will still leak out from the other and it’s definitely a wastage (milk is sometimes really precious for some mums)! What’s more, if you intend to pump both side, it’s going to take double the time! And that’s totally inefficient at all! Price: Between $100-$200.

(3) Double Electric Breast Pumps – Double as what it says, pumps 2 breasts at the same time. It’s good, and definitely my recommended choice for full time working mum. Pros: Save time. You’ll get it done in around 20 minutes. Get the hands-free kind and you can pump and do other things at the same time (though sometimes it feels really weird). So much cleaner than pumping one breast only as there’s no leakage and wastage. For some pumps, you still have the option to pump only one breast. Cons: The price is a little steep. Be prepared for that. But I guess you have to pay for all those advantages that it provided. Price: More than $500 (on average).

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Motherhood – Breastfeeding Positions

The past week had been really hectic, with everyone still in panic mode and extreme lack of sleep. And now, even the breastfeeding positions want to join in the fun. I’m confused, when I’m given too many choices, and without much help. Thus, out of the so many possibilities, I tried only 2. Just these 2, which i found it to be the easiest, whatever name it’s being called. And remember, always find a comfortable position to breastfeed.

(1) Cradle Hold

Basically, cradle your baby in your left arm (the normal way of carrying the baby in a horizontal way) with the baby’s head resting on the crook of your arm, and the body resting on your whole arm. Your left hand should be supporting the baby’s buttock. With your right hand that’s free, support your left breast so that you can guide your nipple to the baby’s mouth (thumb on top of breast, the other 4 fingers below). Switch arm if you are switching the breast.

I didn’t try this for long as my baby somehow didn’t like it.

(2) Football Hold

Remember those times where you held a ball by the side. It’s more or less like that except now your left hand should be support the baby’s neck and head. And then your baby tucked under your arm, between your arm and your body. Use your left hand to guide the baby’s mouth to your nipple. Your right hand that’s free can help to support the left breast too. Switch arm if you are switching the breast.

This was recommended to me by one of the lactation consultant from the hospital. But again, different babies like different positions. So I guess it really depends.

In the event if you are tired, put cushion or pillow below your left arm to support the baby’s weight.

Good luck to your breastfeeding. I’m almost fainting but will try to hang on…

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