Jan 2018 Newsletter: Preparation is Key for Successful Breastfeeding

By Denise Yang Qing, BMSG Volunteer

Denise (second from right) learnt that sound information and learnt preparation were key to a successful breastfeeding journey. [Image Credits: Denise Yang Qing]

I started my breastfeeding journey in July 2014 when my first child, Baby A, was born. My friends and I were young mothers and when we talked about breastfeeding then, a number of my friends clearly had misconceptions about it. Some of them sounded discouraging as they told me that breastfeeding was painful and another friend even told me she thought it wasn’t normal. 

Thankfully, I had a supportive husband who told me to give it a try first and not cave in to fear. He encouraged me and said that if it didn’t work out, we could explore other options. Fast forward to today, I’m glad that  I am still going strong in my breastfeeding journey and I am still breastfeeding my second child.

I believe the key to having a successful breastfeeding journey is good support. I was a little overwhelmed when Baby A came along. I knew the importance of direct latching a newborn around the clock so I refused to allow anyone to feed her via the bottle till I had nipples so sore that they were bruised and cracked. I also met with several lactation consultants and they provided me with advice to help my nipples heal. I remembered feeling so overwhelmed one night, trying to pump milk, and then throwing the pump onto the floor out of frustration.

As days passed by, things got much better and Baby A and I were latching like a pro. I also had decided to invest in a good pump to help drain my breasts when there were times I could not latch my baby well. However, I knew that my baby latching was the best pump for myself. We continued to enjoy the bond of breastfeeding till she was about 15 months.

That was when we discovered that we were expecting a new addition to our family! At that time, A was still directly latching and I was determined to breastfeed throughout my pregnancy. However, somewhere around seven weeks along, I decided that I couldn’t go on as my nipples were too sensitive and it gave me chills whenever she latched on. We had to go cold turkey with her. It was torturous for both of us as she would wake up several times at night pulling my shirt and screaming for ‘mum mum’. Thankfully, this was all over in about 2 weeks.

Finally, when Didi (little brother) came along, I was better prepared and much more relaxed. He latched on and breastfed like a champion from birth and since I knew what to expect from my experience with my firstborn, my breastfeeding journey with Didi was much, much smoother. I knew then that being prepared was key to facing the roadblocks in breastfeeding.

As expecting mothers, we may hear so many stories about breastfeeding, as well as listened to myths and misconceptions. However, nothing beats being sure of the facts and going through it yourself as the best way to overcome the steep learning curve. I have learnt that breastfeeding takes trial and error, and with practice, it will get better.

 

 

December 2017 – Breastfeeding & The Working Mum

by Sheela Shukla
BMSG Volunteer

Sheela and her beautiful family

Returning to work can never be easy, but I learnt that preparation is the key to making things easier. I’m a full-time working Mum and I work three rotating shifts. Being a first time Mum, I had no prior experience or education on breastfeeding. I did lots of reading and constantly sought advice from people around me. My concept of breastfeeding was that after baby was born, I would just latch her when its time for feeding and voila, we are done! Little did I know that there would be obstacles to overcome in my journey!

A month ahead of starting work, I decided to introduce the bottle to baby at least once a day. For those feeds, I would pump in exchange for giving the bottle. Initially, she took to the bottle just fine, even when I offered her the bottle. But just 1 week short of commencing work, baby decided to strongly refuse the bottle. As I live with my Mum, who is her caregiver when I’m at work, it was rather difficult convincing her that baby will not take the bottle from me or in my presence. So, I had to leave for that hour just so she could take the bottle from my Mum. Of course, it wasn’t easy having to be ‘separated’ from baby but my Mum wanted to be sure baby took the bottle. And yes, she eventually did before I officially started work. Phew!

I faced refusal from her when I returned to work after my maternity leave. She refused to latch and that really made me so hurt. I felt rejected. And so I started reading up and consulting professionals. I received a whole lot of different responses, some even telling me to stop latching and commenting I should feel relieved baby has decided to take the bottle! However, I decided that I will get baby to latch again, and so lots of skin contact coupled with lots of patience made it all possible. And within a week, baby started latching all fine again.

It was rather tough getting baby into a routine as my shift hours were confusing to her. Finding a right pumping/latching schedule was indeed tough. Therefore, I went with the 2-3hrs pump/latch balance for myself. This meant that regardless of what time it was, I will pump or latch every 2-3 hourly. What made things even tougher was the fact that break times were a far cry for me, which meant that pumping at work was close to zero possibilities. In order to be able to pump milk at work, I invested in the Freemie cups which allowed me pump to on-the-go whether I had a break or not. The Freemie is obviously not as effective in total milk clearance for a pump session. However, it allowed me to store the milk my baby needs for the next day as she refused frozen breastmilk.

The one thing that really kept me going was my husband’s support. Every time I felt I wanted to give up, he was there to push me on, to tell me how much this meant to baby and myself. It has really been a blessing to baby and I to have him in our lives, and we are now going strong past a year of breastfeeding!

My advise to Mums: follow your heart. People will always give you their two cents worth, but really, baby and you will know best!