Today, I am going to share my breastfeeding story, particularly, my first breastfeeding experience with my first born. I don’t believe I have ever shared it previously (read my previous breastfeeding related posts here), because I didn’t really have it easy, and its pretty much a raw, sensitive story that right up to this point where i’m drafting this post… I don’t know where to begin.

Like all new mums, i read up a lot about breastfeeding prior to giving birth. I faithfully attended antenatal classes, and so ready to embrace the breastfeeding journey.. and all I did, was…breast(milk)feeding. Through a bottle.

I know right. Maybe i am not even qualified to be on this blog train, but I want to share my story and hopefully, inspire enlighten all mom-to-be out there.

Baby Jerry at a few days old.

Baby Jerry at a few days old.

Right after birth, I was all gungho about breastfeeding and establishing contact with the baby. The nurses brought the baby and i tried breastfeeding a few times. The baby didn’t latch well, suckled a little and then doze of to la-la land pretty much. The next 2 days in the hospital went by in a whirlwind of non.stop.visitors who were all super excited about the new baby (only greatgrand/grand child/baby in all sides of the family). I hadn’t expected that, and i ended up not having the time nor privacy to even try breastfeeding much. Everyone wanted a share of the baby all the time and i was too nice/too shy to tell people i needed to breastfeed the kid.

Just like that, i MISSED THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY where i have all the nurses at my disposable to help me.

Back home, the baby cried non-stop from hunger. After 3 days of not much milk/suckling, he was crying at the top of his lungs. I couldn’t latch him properly and neither can he suckle well (errmm, works of nature and anatomy – big breast, small mouth, short nipple blah blah blah). I refused to feed formula because of all the nipple/teat confusion that i heard about.

My mum, on the other hand was hounding down on my neck about the hungry baby. She kept shouting at me for not feeding the baby and that the baby is very hungry and kept wanting to stuff the bottle into baby’s mouth. The husband was clueless on the situation and didn’t know what to do with the crying baby either. It didn’t help that i had bottled ready-to-serve formula milk on hand (just ask from the hospital before discharge!) or maybe it did help because the baby had that and he was at peace.

Bottle feeding Jerry

Bottle feeding Jerry

I was upset but i just accepted it. After all, i witnessed for myself how hungry the baby was. I did cry in the confines of my own room when no one was looking. I felt like i was a failed mum. I tried latching the baby each time he is due for a feed for 2 days and kept failing. I eventually gave up seeing how the baby kept crying and seeing the lack of support in this breastfeeding journey – my mum just wants to feed formula/bottle feed. my husband didnt know what to do and just wants my mum to shut up because he was overly tired with everything and needed some peace. I ended up expressing milk every 2 hrly because i would rather the baby have my breastmilk than formula at that point in time. I was really on the brink of post-natal depression and was all cranky/frustrated constantly and feeling pissed off with everyone around me. If you troll through my May 2011 entries, i am sure you can feel my emotional roller coaster.

happy-satisfied-jerry

I fell into routine from the 3rd day back and everything else is history. I never bothered about trying to latch anymore. As long as the baby was drinking breastmilk from me, i am good and went on zealously pumping everything out on schedule. On hindsight, it was like i was beating myself up for not be able to latch the baby by subjecting myself to rigorous 2hrly pumping schedule ROUND THE CLOCK. I know, i barely slept at all. it was a vicious cycle. i was constantly tired and wanted to throw the baby out of the window. #truestory

freshly expressed breast milk

freshly expressed breast milk

on the 10th day, i have become quite the cow, expressing 250-300ml every 2 hours and never looked back since. I did grapple with a lot of leaky issues (soaked through my bra & top and just drips as i walk around the house!!), block ducts, mastitis and all but i just kept on going since breast is best (i don’t need to say the reason why, do i?) and mostly, FREE (most compelling reason as well as to break even the breast pump purchase). i went on and on and eventually managed to pack an entire self standing freezer packed with breastmilk in 4 months.

Entire freezer filled with breastmilk.

Entire freezer filled with breastmilk.

When i returned to work, i couldn’t quite keep up with the demands of work to be pump ever so often so i scaled down on the schedule. But i must say, having a nice, clean nursing room at work helps tremendously and i am ever so thankful about the one in my office.

I eventually stopped breastfeeding at 13 months 14 months (i counted wrongly!) because… i was pregnant with my second kid (read: 3 times to get it right). I didnt stop earlier because the supply was over-flowing and i didnt want it to go to waste. However, the constant fatigue from the pregnancy did it to me, i was so tired i needed to sleep all the time. The milk supply also dip horrendously and i eventually just stopped.

and yup. I didn’t breastfeed my baby. I breastmilk fed my baby. I didnt have the chance to constantly bond with my baby through breastfeeding. There wasnt much skin-to-skin contact for me. Most of the time, i was busy with the breast pumps and the kid is fed by my mum or my husband. Did it matter? No, because today, i am still jerry’s favourite person in the world. He kicked started his first few days of milk on formula and he didnt look different or feel any less healthy to other babies. Granted that he drank breastmilk, but he is on formula milk now and is still growing.

To all the mums-to-be out there, it is OK. It really is. There are so many factors involved in successful breastfeeding and there are so many issues that may potentially cause you not being able to. I am just one of the lucky ones that have a large supply of milk. Some mums cannot even express enough milk to need baby’s demands but that does not make them any less of a mum. Someone told me this when i was struggling with breastfeeding, so i am going to share it with you all.

A happy mum equals to a happy baby. Nothing else matters.

Whatever makes the world go round. Keep your sanity in check and do the best you can to make yourself happy. If breastfeeding doesnt work, its OK. Think of the bigger picture. There is more to being a mum than just breastfeeding. You have a even bigger/more important role to fill – being a happy mum to the baby for many more years to come.

Jerry at 5 days old

Jerry at 5 days old

Sorry. I just had to flash my favourite baby photo of Jerry, taken when he was 5 days old. Indulge me.

Here’s some quick pointers that i want to bring across:

  • It is normal not to have any milk within the first few days post birth of baby. Just have faith and keep trying, the milk will eventually come.
  • If you are struggling, remember that being a new mum is overwhelming enough. Most importantly, keep your sanity in check
  • It helps if you start prepping the people around you before the birth of your child (especially those that would be around while you are on confinement) on what is your preferred choice of feeding your kids to reduce any unnecessary frustrations, disagreements and most importantly, the feeling of lack of support.

Well, in case you are curious about my 2nd breastfeeding journey, Jerome had g6pd and high jaundice levels and was hospitalized for a week while i discharged. I went back to the hospital everyday to attempt breastfeeding him, but i didnt manage to either. I guess its fate, and that some things are just not meant to be. Anyhow, that’s another story for another time. I hope my sharing would have helped some of you in knowing that breastfeeding is not a MUST. It is really a privilege to be able to do so, and if you can’t. there are bigger things in life to focus on.

I hope you like this post. I’m have been thinking about writing a post on expressing milk – how to get the most out of your breast. What you think? Would you be interested in reading? Drop me a note! And oh, in case you are wondering about breast pumps, I use medela freestyle and did a review for avent breast pumps. Go for the double pump if you can afford it because it saves a lot of time.

Winnie of Toddly Mummy & Family

Winnie of Toddly Mummy

Tomorrow, Winnie from Toddly Mummy will share about her breastfeeding journey where she breastfed her kid for 14 months.

About Winnie

I’m a born-again drama-mama and creative extraordinaire. I’ve never considered myself to have much talent in those areas. However, I’ve learnt that motherhood makes you discover talents you’ve never expected yourself to have. I work full time and spend the evenings home learning and reading with my kids. Find out about my breastfeeding journey as a FTWM.

 

 

 

This post is part of a Blog Train hosted by Madeline at MadPsychMum. Head on over to read the other breastfeeding stories by Singapore Mom Bloggers!

ifly-giveaway-1Just a shout-out that the iFly flights giveaway is still happening on the blog. Do pop over and take part in the contest before it ends this Friday (14 March 14)! Indoor Skydiving is a lot of fun, minus the risk and cost of a real sky diving experience! 🙂