Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Breastfeeding: The food of love

After 1-month long of on-the-job training during the confinement, googling and advice from family/friends around, we managed to take care of Emma ourselves without the confinement lady. However, the new journey wasn't all smooth-sailing, I faced my first motherhood challenge - breastfeeding. I didn't read up a lot on it as it doesn't seems as difficult and there isn't much practise I can do. Yes, I know I was too na├»ve and didn't prepare myself well, especially for point 2. Hence, I am really thankful that I am able to come this far  (10 months and 10 days). I am encouraged by many mummies around and hope that my experience will help someone along the way too.

 

1. Understand the goodness of breastfeeding

 
There are many benefits of breastfeeding - baby's health/immunity, act of love, bonding, help in losing mummy's weight, save money on milk powder and endurance training. It's priceless, precious and worth every effort!

2. Be mentally prepared for the pain and hardwork

 
Keep this in mind before reading on, the first few weeks are the hardest, but it will get better and less painful.

As a first time mum, I wished I was prepped earlier. No one told me that breastfeeding can be painful at the beginning, they probably didn't want to scare me off. Just as I get the momentum of nursing, another challenge came by - blocked ducts, cracked and bleeding nipples. It was so painful, stressful and demoralising. It took a few days to recover, and the few days just seems eternity. I broke down in tears a few times but thank God for the strength to endure through and hubby for being so comforting to cheer me on.

Indeed, nursing every 1.5hr to 2hr throughout 24hr is seriously no joke. For the first month, I basically just nursed, napped and ate continuously.  If given a chance, perseveres through the first month of sleepless nights to build up the supply as milk production is greatest at night. It is tempting to give bottles of formula milk or expressed breastmilk to baby so that mummy can sleep longer through the night but there is a risk of dropping milk supply since demand = supply. So, keep on nursing to build up the milk supply!

Besides the pain, hardwork and commitment involved, there are also other breastfeeding problems and stress like low supply or over supply.  Along the way, there are other episodes of nursing or pumping through sickness or exhaustion, blocked ducts that lead to fever or discomfort and continuously pumping at work, school or outings. I am thankful for the many help and support that have pulled me through.

So, be prepared for all challenges and don't let them pull you down. Many mummies have successfully breastfed their babies despite all and you could do it too. :)
 

3. Hubby's support and get help around home

 
Breastfeeding isn't just between mummy and child, hubby (and family) played an important role too. A friend told us about not having formula milk on standby and hubby set his mind on that. He is that supportive. Hubby also contributed by sponsoring 2 breast pumps (home & office use), encouraging me to continue on, patiently waiting for Emma to finish latching, taking care of Emma while I was expressing milk and bottle feed Emma. I give thanks for such supportive hubby.

4. Set goals and start with small achievable goals 

 
It's recommended by American Academy of Paediatrics to exclusively breastfeed baby for the first 6 months. For me, I started with 3 months, 6 months and followed by 1 year. I never thought I could go so far as it has been tiring. But breaking the goals into shorter period and seeing how well Emma s growing just keep pushing me on. However, don't be too hard on yourself you couldn't breastfeed for as long as you wanted. :)

5. The know-hows


Breastfeeding can be easy after knowing what and how to do it. It certainly gets easier with experience and advice from many breastfeeding mummies around. I am no way an expert, but I'll be sharing more of my little journey in the next post!

Till then, take care :D


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