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Sept 2018 Newsletter: BMSG Workshop News

By BMSG Editorial Team

BMSG counsellors have been kept very busy this year due to the introduction of our new and reduced workshop pricing. Noting the surge in demand especially for the Breastfeeding 101 (BF101) workshop, we switched from bi-monthly to monthly BF101 workshops in the middle of this year. We also recently conducted our September run of the Breastfeeding & Going Back to Work Workshop, which takes place every two months.

Full house turnout at our recent BF101 workshop in August! It was conducted by breastfeeding counsellors Kathryn & Alona (in white & turquoise respectively).

Outcomes of Workshops

On top of receiving breastfeeding education, workshop participants (both mothers and fathers) will also hear from mothers who share their experiences. We invite our volunteers, who are breastfeeding mothers, to talk about their experiences which are relevant to the topic of the workshop. This gives our workshop a realistic edge and allows parents to hear for themselves the theories they have learnt being applied in real life.

This month, we invited Wong Shu Yi, a teacher and a mother of one, who shared about how she transited into her role as a working mother after maternity leave.

As we all know, a day in the life of a teacher is a hectic experience and adding pumping to the works can overwhelm any new mother. It may seem that breastfeeding is difficult to sustain after maternity leave, especially when mothers have jobs with unforgiving schedules. However, Shu Yi showed the participants how she was able to ease her pumping routine into her work day.

Shu Yi shares with us how she adapts her pumping schedule based on the activities she has for the day, ensuring that she still pumps at least three times at work and latches her baby before and after work.

Coupled with good support at home and a resilient attitude, Shu Yi demonstrated how she was able to pump enough for the next day’s feed. Shu Yi also pumped every two to three hours, a recommended schedule for pumping mothers. However, owing to the adaptive nature of her job, she was able to work around the timings to pump in order to maintain her supply and has managed to do this until her daughter had turned one.

Shu Yi emphasised to the workshop participants how important it is for mums to latch their babies whenever they can as frequent latching helps to maintain the supply of breastmilk.

She also direct-latched her baby when she was not at work and after she returned home because she knew the importance of latching to stimulate her milk supply especially when she was separated from her baby during the day. She also mentioned that she appreciated these latching sessions as they were moments for her to bond with her baby girl.

Even when she had to invigilate exams, Shu Yi did missed the chance to pump. We were especially inspired by a picture that Shu Yi had shown during her sharing of her pumping at her desk with just a nursing cover.

To save time, Shu Yi gets by pumping at her desk with just a nursing cover.

With a never-say-die attitude and her belief that latching her baby promotes bonding, we are astounded by Shu Yi’s commitment to breastfeeding. We also couldn’t help but notice how attached her daughter, who was present at the workshop, was to her mum!

Thank you Shu Yi for sharing your story! We hope that you will continue to have a great breastfeeding journey beyond your baby’s first birthday <3

Keen to attend our workshops? Check out our workshop schedule. If you are a breastfeeding mother and want to share at our workshops, write to us at workshop@breastfeeding.org.sg.

Sept 2018 Newsletter: Breastfeeding a Jaundiced Baby

By Nur Azrin Binte Abdul Wahab (BMSG Volunteer)

Nur Azrin, a mum of one, shares her initial struggle when she first started breastfeeding her jaundiced baby and how she persevered through the challenges.

Azrin and her beautiful daugther Azrah Adarina.

My pregnancy and birth were manageable with minimal to no issues. I was able to direct latch my baby immediately after I birthed her. The best part? My husband was also very supportive and encouraged me to breastfeed my baby. He even clapped when our baby girl burped on her own after latching. I was extremely grateful for this turn of events as I had been anxiously praying to have a smooth start to breastfeeding. It was beautiful in the hospital during my stay as the nurses and lactation consultants (LCs) praised my supply and how my baby girl had no pressing issues so far.

Unfortunately, the nightmare began the moment I was about to check out of the hospital. My daughter had developed a dangerously high level of jaundice, which caused her to have a fever. She had to be warded in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and as a first time mother, I was at a loss and caved in to the hospital’s insistence that infant formula would reduce her jaundice. I was torn; a part of me wanted to continue giving my baby breastmilk while another part of me wanted my one and only daughter to get well as soon as possible as she was only three days old.

Upon reaching home, I continued to pump every three hours as suggested by my LC to keep up my milk supply. That same night, I received a call from the hospital that my baby girl did not want to drink or even have a sip of the formula milk the hospital was providing, not even through a syringe or a cup. However, the nurses told me to give it some time and that she would provide me with an update the following day.

Fortunately, she was discharged the next day in the morning at 8am with no fever. She was very hungry as she had drank very little the night before. I immediately latched her and, lo and behold, she latched like a champ for an hour. I wanted to cry because I knew deep down that she must have been extremely hungry.

A baby undergoing UV light therapy for treatment of jaundice. Azrin’s baby had to go through a similar treatment at the NICU.

We brought her home subsequently but her jaundice levels rose again on her third day at home, resulting in another episode of high fever. We rushed back to the hospital and the doctors said my baby girl and I had different blood types and that this was a case of breastmilk jaundice; it was suggested that I supplement with formula again to quickly bring her levels down. Knowing that my daughter was thriving on her breastmilk, judging from her healthy diaper output and very good latch as assessed by the LCs, I informed the doctor that I would like to continue to provide baby with breastmilk on demand. However, should her fever persists or gets worse, I will bring her back to the hospital and provide a supply of expressed breastmilk during her stay.

This time round, her fever did not subside as quickly as the first time and it took about three to four days before her fever went away. I latched her as much as possible and as much as she wanted to. I also carried her a lot so there was ample skin-to-skin contact between us. I did not feed her based on any sort of schedule but just waited for my daughter’s cues. I also noticed that her fever went down bit by bit after longer latching sessions so I picked up on that and latched a lot. However, I was extremely tired from it.

It was all good though because there was a follow up after a week from the second visit and by then her fever was completely gone. Although her jaundice level was still high, it was no longer in the danger zone and she didn’t need to be warded. We had follow-ups at the hospital once a month and by the third month, she was completely cleared of any signs of jaundice and was a perfectly healthy baby.

With God’s blessings, my baby girl has just turned a year old and has been purely on my breastmilk with direct latching. We’ve had no issues so far other than the fact that I was on oversupply. My goal is to continue breastfeeding her until she turns two. With my strong faith in my ability to breastfeed, I believe I can manage this. Because I fell in love with breastfeeding my daughter, I may just go beyond two years old.

I hope to inspire and create awareness to all mothers who are struggling or having issues to breastfeed. Don’t stop until your child wants to and is ready to. Believe in yourself and your ability to provide breastmilk for your child, especially if you are obviously making enough milk for your baby. If your baby is thriving on your milk, stand up for your right to breastfeed and trust that you are providing enough for your baby.