As of today, I realised that my decision to fully breastfeed my baby did not come from a strong basis. Rather, it was because breastfeeding being one of the in-thing among the akak–akak at the office where I worked at.
At the prayer room, my colleagues would spare some time for the job. By this, I mean expressed breast milk (EBM). As a future young mother, (I was 22, pregnant. And among them were at least 28) they constantly reminded me to try my best to breastfeed my baby because it’s way better than formula milk (FM), less cost and suits baby best.
My mistake for not doing enough research, for not being mentally and emotionally equipped, that I find this job, pretty tough. Hence, a sharing on 20 things moms and dads need to know about breastfeeding. This is not another rant but it is meant to widen your horizon about life as a breastfeeding mother especially for the first time.
1. Breasts will begin to engorge on the first few days of postpartum, as early as on the second night. It means pain and nothing else.
2. Hence, I strongly advise mothers to prepare your tools beforehand. Get them sterilised, assembled, and try them out even on your 8th month of pregnancy. Before things start to get out of hand, you definitely wanna master those pumps because the excruciatingly engorged breasts might lead to fever if it’s not well handled.
*intermission: this is not to scare. I’m just mentally preparing you*
3. A simple way to explain milk supply is using the demand and supply concept. The higher the demand for milk, the larger the production (supply) is. Meaning, the more you express, the frequent the “tank” got emptied, the frequent it gets refilled. The key to maintain EBM supply is to have consistent expressing time such as 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 9pm every single day.
4. Also, a breastfeeding mother needs enough sleep (rest) and healthy eating because the secretion of oxytocin and prolactin hormones are at their best under these two conditions. Right doctors?
5. Accordingly, little did I know about lethargy and being hungry all the time, I spend at least RM10 per day at campus, just on food.
6. If you don’t wash your breastfeeding tools thoroughly, it will create stains and that’s very annoying to get rid of. So use streriliser or simply bring them to a boil to kill the germs
7. You are prone to hypoglacemia (hypo) if you are fasting. Hypo is feeling dehydrated + dizziness + shivering. It happens because your body is having very low sugar level. Right doctors?
8. You don’t get to eat with both hands, unless you babywear your little one + NIP (nursing in public), because he/she’ll be wanting to nenen, and nenen, and nenen and that means he/she wants to be physically close to you.
9. That also means your work is being disturbed and interrupted, for the lack of better words.
10. Alternatively, express your milk prior to outing but you may sometimes not be producing enough milk so you still gotta direct BF (breastfeed) your baby.
11. And expressing for milk every time before outing is pretty messy to handle. You gotta wash and rinse the tools or else stains will get in your way.
12. The good thing about EBM is you get to pass the feeding job to someone else while you enjoy eating.
13. Wake up early morning for work/class and you need to spend ~20 minutes to express milk which may sometimes confuse you because your baby just woke up and he/she demands her breakfast rightaway. Which one to handle first? Feeding your baby or expressing? Some opt for both, tandem nursing, which I have no skills of handling.
14. Calculate every single ounce (oz) available for tomorrow’s stock before you ferry them to the babysitter. Prepare extra oz, for emergencies. All these mean, expressing and expressing and expressing.
15.If you don’t produce enough , you’ll tend be worrying the whole world.
16. Label them with date and time. Freezer can last for 3 months, fridge works with them up to 48 hours, fresh EBM valids for 4 hours under room temperature. You gotta master the timing!
18. You’ll see them milk having 2 layers of different texture. It’s the different density of water n fat.
19. 70-80% of mom’s milk is water. As you express, the water part will come out first and followed by the thickened one. As they say, susu ibu lebih cair dari susu formula, that’s why breastfeeding babies drink more.
20. This is a pretty messy journey, with midnight pumping and baby constantly wanting to latch. You might develop back pain if don’t practice healthy body posture while feeding your baby
[amended 2017] There you have it, 20 must-knows about the life as a breastfeeding mother. May all breastfeeding mothers out there be blessed with abundance of patience and love from this tiring job. I know it’s tiring. Been there twice. And all I want to say is that, hang in there moms. Hang in there. I might not know when will your journey end but I know you’re doing the best you could.