Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Breastfeeding And Me

Today, 2nd Nov, Jeev turns 3 months old, and it also marks the 3rd month of my breastfeeding journey. I cannot say my baby has been fully breastfed in this period of 3 months, but it is more like 3 months of my struggle, determination, hard work, blood and sweat (and breastmilk), sleepless nights and tonnes of research.

Right after Jeev was born, I suddenly remembered I needed to inform the nurses that he is to be fully breastfed, and no formula. They were cooperative in bringing baby to me during feedings, but Jeev was a sleepy baby, would not latch much, just sleep till kingdom comes. There were times when he would be awake, but cannot latch. We got worried, rather hubby did, and got the nurses to feed him formula whenever can.

Once home, it was the same problem. Sleepy baby, hardly latching, and would immediately sleep off if he did indeed latch. I remember he would hardly feed two or three times per day, just be sleeping away. I tried many methods in getting him up, to no avail. My impatient half insisted in giving the bottle of formula to ensure he is feeding well. Overwhelming emotions were all over me, and I did not want to make things worse for my newborn at least.

By 3rd day, baby preferred the bottle and refused to latch at all, and I was frantically sms-ing my support network to get some help and advice. In fact I was even feeling awkward to call out for SOS, but they reached out to me knowing I was indeed facing problems.

Kit, Denise and Yvonne from LYN forum really supported and gave me the strength to be determined and continue latching and latching. And that is what I did, tried and tried latching like every time my baby showed slight signs of being awake. And on the 6th day it happened! He latched! I finally felt complete! There I started latching constantly to build supply and soothe baby. Formula babies are fed every 3 hours, but breastfed babies latch like every single second.

While breastfeeding we don't really get to see or gauge how much is baby taking. I would worry and wonder if baby is drinking enough. I tried monitoring the disposable diapers, and I was convinced that he had not peed in his diaper in the last 4 hrs at all. Even got my mom worried over this. But upon closer examination, the diaper was soiled, it was just too absorbant and waterproof that I could not feel any wetness. Good job there, diaper!

Fully determined further, I bought a manual pump to stimulate and increase supply, because baby was still being sleepy most of the time. He was latching directly most of the time, EBMs (expressed breast milk) ocassionally.

Things were indeed going fine, but somewhere around 2 month onwards, baby started being very fussy while direct latching. I got worried, wondering if my supply is not enough Even tried pumping to see if the supply volume is fine, but it only made me more upset because it seemed to be so little, then I began to wonder if my pump was working fine. And due to the fussy baby, I started topping up with formula milk like up to 3 feedings per day! I was frantically searching online, I began to wonder if my baby was indeed latching properly. So many uncertainties in my mind especially after reading the information online.

I sought help and ideas through the breastfeeding advocates FB group, and reached out to Lactation Consultant, Gina Yong. It was the best thing I ever did for my breastfeeding journey. Gina confirmed that my baby has a classic latching, and my supply is fine. It was such a relief to know that, and I just had to be strong and continue just latching baby otherwise he would prefer the bottle forever, and I would have to forever pump and feed EBMs, which was not convenient for me. As advised by her, I now drink water of 3 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds daily, and eat the seeds too. The water is bearable, but the seeds are really bitter. By now my tongue has lost its taste buds, so they are pretty tasteless. I would prefer taking barley water and seeds any day, but it seemed to have less effect on my supply.

As for the manual pump, I decided to have a closer look. After some meddling here and there, I noticed that the stem beneath the diaphragm was slightly tilted, losing suction when using the pump. I suspect this is the result of my engineer half's vacuum pump knowledge brushing off on me. Thanks to all those interesting (yawn) work related discussions.

Looking back to my breastfeeding experience, I could now give an advice or two. I may not be an expert, but one thing is true, never stop, never give up. Another thing that Gina told me I always keep in my mind when breastfeeding. When we are stressed, our shoulder muscles are tensed and baby can sense this. It not just increases baby's fussing, but also affects the supply. So I always remember to relax my shoulders whenever latching.

I never thought something so natural can be so difficult. Seriously. Isn't it made to be convenient for both mother and baby? Or have we humans just lost touch with our natural side and prefer something easier (like formula milk)? I want to talk more about my take on breast feeding, hopefully in an upcoming new post, if Jeev allows me to.


Darren said...

scarry.... good luck !

Jasmine said...

Managed to bump into your blog whilst googling about CD's. I'm pregnant with baby no.3, and desperately want to start CD'ing. Currently thinking of QQ Minky for daytime use, and Bamboolite for nights... planning to start for my 1 year old daughter and also the baby who's arriving after Xmas. Whadaya think? Any suggestions?

QarezmaV said...

Congrats on the coming baby. QQ cd is def a good investment. Bamboolite shd also work fine, if bb is heavy wetter u can add a booster. During confinement these one size diapers might not fit yr baby though, unless u use nb sized diapers

Jasmine said...

Hi again,thanks for your reply!
Booster? Hmmm Qarezma, I'm a newbie.Booster I expect is another layer of insert, is it?
And for the new baby, I'm planning to stick to flat nappies at least till he's 2-3 months old.I have a whole binch of em' and I don't want then to go to waste la.
Regarding the QQ Minky Bamboo, have you tried it? I've heard that the inserts don't absorb as well.

QarezmaV said...

Jasmine, yes,booster is an extra layer of hemp or bamboo in nature to add on to the absorbing factor. For NB, flat nappies work the best since they poo/pee often and also if NB is very small. I have not tried the qq bamboo type, but i heard good reviews abt it. Personally if i could choose between microfiber and bamboo, i would take the latter becos of less build up and smell problems.

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