When i was pregnant, i decided that i would want to breastfeed my child till the age of two. I prepped myself with all the equipments needed, ate a lot of healthy milk-boosting foods and was ready for that day to come. There were a number of reasons why i wanted to breastfeed and continue breastfeeding till the age of two such as:
- I heard that breastfeeding will help you get back to your original weight and maybe even lose that weight-fast cause breastfeeding burns extra calories!
- Breastmilk has natural antibodies that keep your baby healthy
- It lowers the risk of diabetes and obesity for your baby
- Great for babies brain and development
- Reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Delayed menstruation- which means you don’t have to deal with your period too soon!(plus it’s a natural birth control too!)
- Save lots of money!- formula milk are so expensive these days. And what if your baby can’t take dairy? Goat’s milk is even more expensive!
- Breastfed babies are known to be less picky eaters too!
Who wouldn’t want all these breastfeeding benefits for you and your baby right?
But let me tell you, exclusively breastfeeding is not an easy task, especially when you’re a working mum. It is a commitment to yourself and to your baby.
The first few days in the hospital, breastfeeding didn’t seem to be a problem. Nurses were there to teach me to breastfeed the right way and provide me with all the advice i needed to persevere.
After 4 days in the hospital i finally got back home, and it felt good to be home. But that first night home turned out to be nightmare. Baby was constantly waking up crying and nothing seemed to calm him down. He developed a high temperatue and we had to go back to the hospital for a check. Turned out that baby was dehydrated and was not receiving enough milk. He had to be admitted into NICU and stay there for a few days for observation. Worst part was that i wasn’t able to stay with him at night, which led the nurse to ask me if it’s alright if they “top up” his feeding with formula. My heart dropped. i felt horrible that my body was not producing enough milk for him, i felt like a failure, but agreed that the nurses fed him formula on top of my expressed milk which i provided whenever i could.
Ever since then, i tried all sorts of milk boosters- natural foods as well as products in the market;
dates with milk,
all types of milk boosting cookies,
red dates and dried longan drink,
you name it! i kept pumping and direct latching and pumping till my milk count slowly increased. And Alhamdullilah, i still have milk till today. Till this day, i haven’t found one exact food/product that makes a big difference, but i do think that alternating between all this, it maintains my milk count at about 3-4oz per session.
Working in the media and broadcasting line while breastfeeding it not easy at all! There are days where i will have to attend events and go home late- which means that more of my stocked up expressed milk will be used. My boy also drinks about 20 oz a day(8am-7pm,when i’m away), but i only produce about 14oz and more recently about 8-10oz only! i pump in the car on the way to work, while stuck in the jam going back from work, while commuting to events and in the office every 3-4 hours. Missing one session could mean less ounces and less ounces means less milk for baby. Feel the pressure?
And yes, as expected, my expressed milk stocked ran out and i’m now pumping today for tomorrow. With a boy who drinks more than i produce, he now mixes with formula too (i sometimes feel ashamed at admitting this😔). My intention of fully breastfeeding him for 2 years has gone out the window. I was sad at first, but have now realised that it’s more important to ensure that my child is being fed, no matter whether it’s formula or expressed milk.
On top of all this, my son also has eczema. Breastfeeding was the best option for a baby with eczema in order to build up his immune system and skin protecting barrier. So finding the right formula for him was also important. A friend of mine who’s son also has eczema was recommended Nestle Nan HA. It’s apparently good for babies who are prone to allergies or are sensitive, so we tried that and thank goodness, he took it after a 2 day strike with fighting and crying. Of course, he only takes the formula when my stock of the day has finished and i do still directly breastfeed him during night feedings.
Being a new mum, and a new breastfeeding mum at that, is definitely a challenge, and i salute all breastfeeding mums out there, while envying ones that have freezers full with expressed milk. As much as i am an advocate for breastfeeding, i’m more so one for feeding in general. I’ve heard/read cases of mums wanting to fully breastfeed so badly that they refuse even a little of formula- resulting in the baby’s death. This is not what i want. And i’m sure this is not what any mother would want.
Mother’s day is approaching and i want to take this opportunity to wish all moms out there a Happy Mother’s day, because you really are a strong woman in your own right and i salute all moms out there!