Blog-on-BREAST

A blog created by Breastfeeding Mothers' Support Group (Singapore) where nursing mummies (and daddies) get to share their breastfeeding experiences. Email your stories to bmsgblog@gmail.com to get them published here!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My journey into motherhood & breastfeeding... by Elaine Chan

I’m a breastfed baby but am born to be weak. So, quite prone to common ailments like cough & flu. I saw my mum breastfed my sister. I decided to be a breastfeeding mum when I become a mother myself.

While preparing for our wedding, hubby’s sis-in-law was about to give birth. I chatted with my future mum-in-law & discovered she’s anti-breastfeeding. She didn’t allow her daughter & daughter-in-law to breastfeed. When they had engorgement, she instructed them to pump out & throw away! From then, I know I wont approach her when I’m doing my confinement.

During my first trimester, hubby’s brother told us they’ll be giving us hand down clothes. I was so happy. He reminded us that we have to buy our own milk bottles. I just told him nicely that I may not need them so early because I’ll be giving breastfeeding. The ‘bomb’ exploded. The whole family bombarded me, telling me I must be crazy to even think about giving breastfeeding, blah, blah, blah………………….I scanned through the hand downs & realize they were so old(at least 13 years since their eldest son is already 13). The breastfeeding issue & engaging confinement issue soured my relationship with my in-laws. They were just strongly object to them. But I chose to be rebellious because I know what I’m doing is right. They didn’t give up. Throughout my pregnancy, even until the day before I deliver, my mum-in-law was still telling me to get 3 different types of formula to let baby try. I repeat my story all over again. When she realize she failed to convince me, she walked away with a face as black as soot.

I didn’t encounter problems like sore/crack nipples. But I’m not sure about blocked ducts. The first night after I delivered, my in-laws visited me in the hospital. The moment I saw them, I felt so stressful. To make things worse, the first thing my mum-in-law told me the moment she saw my baby was “I think give formula better.” I didn’t respond. I just gave her a very weak smile & let them admire my baby. More family & relatives poured into my room. My neighbor has gone to delivery suite. Soon after, the nurse came to ask if I’ve nurse my baby, she wants to push him back into the nursery because he had jaundice. I told her I didn’t because he didn’t make noise. My mum-in-law quickly told the nurse “I think it’s alright, just give him formula”. I was so upset & disappointed. The nurse was sensible enough to ask me if I’m sure I’m giving him formula. I told her “No, I’m breastfeeding”. My mum-in-law quickly rebuked me “Impossible so fast got milk lah! Why don’t you just give him formula?” Luckily my mum was there for me. The nurse drew the curtains. Most of the visitors waited outside while my mum stayed to teach & guide me to latch him on. My mum-in-law walked in & out umpteen times. One was guiding me lovingly while the other keep telling me not to breastfeed. My mum ignored her too. She actually raised her voice to tell me, everyone in the room could hear her say “your left nipple so short how to breastfeed? Give formula lah!” Well, it just don’t get into my head.

Heard from my dad that my in-laws were very unhappy that I insisted to breastfeed, especially my mum-in-law. She keep asking hubby’s sister “Why she so stubborn? Breast milk not filling enough for baby one lah!”

Just before I was discharge, my mum advised me to feed him before leaving. I heed. My mum-in-law looked at my baby & “asked” him indirectly “Breast milk so nice meh? You drink so ………..”

Back home(I’m lucky I don’t stay with my in-laws), everytime I nurse, she’ll find all kinds & all sorts of stupid reasons & excuses & tell me not to breastfeed. I do have a CL with me. My CL is not very pro-breastfeeding but she’s not anti to my mum-in-law extent.

I cried a lot during the first 2 weeks of confinement. I feel very stressed up whenever my mum-in-law come over because I worried I don’t have enough milk for my baby. I’m very upset with my mum-in-law but I don’t dare to tell my hubby.

In-laws suspected I could have post natal blues unknowingly because I’m so stubborn where breastfeeding is concerned.

Now I let negative words fall on deaf ears. I think I successfully breastfed & hope to continue for as long as possible.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

More stories, please!

The World Breastfeeding Week 2006 may be over, but keep those entries coming in! Who knows, your stories may inspire more mums to Never Ever Give up... :)

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Boob Job... by Zalina Gazali

You must breastfeed your baby, they said. Breast milk is chockfull of nutrients your baby needs, they enthused. It’s what nature intended, they chorused. Sure, there could be difficulties, they whispered, with a dismissive wave of the hand. But for most it’s as easy as ABC, they assured. It saves you time and money, they roared as if to clinch the deal.

Whether it was books I read, people I spoke to, medical experts I encountered, they all echoed the same rah-rah sentiments and gave me the thumbs up at my decision to breastfeed. Encouraged, I read up all I could on the benefits of nursing, bought items that could enhance the breastfeeding experience (and there are puh-lenty of such items in the market…I even bought myself a breast shield; a glorified apron meant to give modest covering to the breastfeeding mom) and waited in excitement at the special and exclusive role I was going to play when the baby came.

When the miracle called childbirth finally graced me with its presence, I fully expected my mammaries to overflow with the milk that was to be the sole sustenance for my baby in its immediate young life. I expected her to latch on as natural as could be (I watched enough TV to know newborns had an instinctive urge to nurse as soon as they came into the world). I expected to look every bit the calm mom, cuddling a baby wrapped in soft blanket, smiling down as the baby nursed quietly…the very picture of serenity you often saw in baby books.

What I did not expect was my baby to have a crying fit and seem almost alarmed at the sight of my breasts…I could practically see the panic in her eyes that she was expected to latch on a body part that was bigger than her head. And I most certainly was not prepared for the appendages on my chest to swell to a size usually associated with men’s sporting events and involving a large field. And the PAIN. Oh gosh, the PAIN. The books somehow glossed over the part about engorged breasts feeling like three dozen antelopes were trampling on them. And no one let on that your breasts could turn delinquent and not necessarily adhere to the theories spewed on how they were supposed to behave. I didn’t realise words used in breastfeeding literature like “discomfort” and “problems” actually meant “mind-numbing soreness that hurt like heck” and were actually code for intense throbbing and smarting that had no real remedy. And I never thought I could shed so many tears (not of joy) during the breastfeeding journey.

But I was adamant at giving my daughter the best only a mother could provide. The difficulties I encountered notwithstanding, I had full faith in the benefits of breast milk and the nutritional and emotional advantages it could bring to my baby. And I believed in the bonding and closeness that it would bring between my baby and her mama.

So I persevered. Whatever was thrown at me, I tried to bear as well as I could. Sore nipples. Aching hands at expressing breast milk for what seemed like every hour. Engorged breasts. Mastitis (breast infection) and the accompanying fever and chills; four times in two months. Worry at not producing enough milk for my baby. Distress at having to supplement my baby’s breast milk intake with formula. Visits to the hospital to seek help from the nursing experts and having my swollen breasts manually pressed to help the milk flow. It was like having to go to military Boob Camp. But I persisted and in the end...

I cuddled, I fed, I conquered.

In turns out that to breastfeed my daughter was the best decision I ever made in my maternal life. After the initial two to three months of toughing it out, my body decided to co-operate and it was pretty much smooth flowing (pun intended) after that. After all the drama, I soon derived much joy in the breastfeeding experience. I loved the special mom-baby time it allowed us. I enjoyed the warm hugs I exchanged with my daughter as I nursed. I liked the convenience of not having to pack hot water and bottles on outings. I appreciated the ease of being able to comfort her or lull her to sleep just by nursing. I was thankful for the healthy effects breast milk provided: fewer allergies and less days of sickness. And I adored feeling like a bona fide mum who could give my child sustenance no modern technology could properly duplicate.

I continued to breast feed (whenever I could and at nights and on weekends) after I went back to work. And the task of expressing and storing milk in the office was relatively uneventful and surprisingly fuss-free. I reluctantly weaned her off as she approached four, as I knew she no longer relied on breast milk for nutrition and there were other ways for me to bond with her. Plus it would have seemed pretty awkward, not to mention embarrassing, for a five-year old child, clueless to the rules of social etiquette, to grab hold of my breast during MRT rides and start feeding. So I figured the time when she could properly chew a steak was as good a time as any to end my stint as a breastfeeding mum.

I do miss it. And if I had to do it all over again, I would do so in a heartbeat.

~ By Zalina Gazali
Mother of Irdina Iman.

"What's so hard about it?"... by Nadirah P.

Breastfeeding? 'What's so hard about it?' I thought.

That was before I gave birth.

After I gave birth by emergency C-section to a lovely baby girl who weighed a grand total of 1.136kg at birth (that's another story altogether), I thought I'd never be able to sit up and breastfeed. As my baby was in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), I did not have to worry about getting up. I knew that all I had to do was to get this newfangled machine to attach itself to my breasts and milk would start pouring out. Wrong. I still had to get up for the milk to flow out of the funnel and into the bottle. So, I struggled to get up and sit up. It wasn't easy but I kept on telling myself that thousands and thousands of women had gone through Caesarean sections and managed to breastfeed their babies and so, I can too.

So I did. My maiden attempt at expressing my milk got me a respectable 50ml of what looked suspiciously like mango juice. Ooh. I was proud of myself. And thus begun my pumping career. After I was discharged, I continued expressing every three hours and I was rewarded with a good amount each time. The amount of milk I expressed three-hourly was more than what my daughter was given in a day. My daughter, who was still in NICU and later Special Care Nursery (SCN) was being fed small amounts every two hours through a feeding tube. How small an amount? On the second day of her life, she was given 1ml every two hours. That slowly increased as the days passed.

By the end of the first week, I noticed that she was making sucking motions with her mouth but the nurses told me that bottle-feeding normally starts when the child hits the 1.5kg mark. So, my petite one still had to be fed through the tube.

Throughout her entire time at the hospital, I diligently pumped and pumped. As weeks passed, she started bottle feeding twice daily and once she was completely off the feeding tube, nurses at the hospital encouraged me to breastfeed her.

The teat of the bottle is very different from the human nipple and my daughter refused me. It was emotionally challenging but I was prepared for the rejection as I had been reading up quite a bit on babies like my daughter. At the hospital, I tried to breastfeed her about five times (only!) and out of the five times, only the second one was successful. The rest of the time, my baby would just wail non-stop and I had to give in and give her the bottle.

The time eventually came when she was ready to be discharged. It was a very exciting time for both my husband and I.

I was determined for her to latch on but I was not ready to face her screams that evening so I gave her expressed milk in the evening. For the night feeds, I decided that I would try to latch her on – come what may. I warned my family members to be ready for the screams and I did not thaw any expressed milk.

That night, she woke up only about 428 times (that's what it felt like). I knew she was very hungry and all she was getting was the foremilk that was dripping from my engorged breasts. She still could not latch on. The next day, was still the same. I gave in a couple of times and gave her expressed milk. I tried to make her latch on and drink milk straight from the source but she refused. My sister tried to help by pushing her head towards my breast. That worked once but it didn't work again after that.

It was a truly frustrating time but knowing that the problem was not a unique problem helped. I refused to label it as 'nipple confusion'. All I know is that I absolutely must persist.

I cannot remember when exactly she started taking to the breast but it was about 4 to 5 days after she was discharged. Even so, she preferred the left side to the right side.

Two weeks after she was discharged, I decided that she must learn to take to both sides. So, once again, I had to apply the same tactics – persistence. Having had the experience before, I knew it could be done. For one entire day, I expressed the milk from the left side and just feed her exclusively from the right side. Within a day, she could feed from both sides with no problems.

Everything was fine and dandy for a while – even when I went back to work because my senior and middle management as well as my colleagues were supportive of mothers expressing milk at work.

Then, a stubborn lump which refused to go away necessitated a biopsy. My right breast would be out of commission for a few days. Still I had to express milk out (to maintain supply) and discard the milk as it contained blood. Yes, blood. It was really quite distressing seeing blood – instead of milk - coming out from the nipple. At one point, it became so bad that I couldn't even look at the funnel. My milk looked like a bandung drink. My husband had to hold the funnel, discard the milk and clean up everything so that I would not see anything.

Eventually, the strawberry milk stopped flowing and normal breastfeeding resumed.

It's been almost 5 months since I started breastfeeding. Has it been easy? Far from it. I am grateful for every day that I get to supply milk to my baby. I give myself small targets so as to avoid any big disappointments. Presently, my target is 6 months – the minimum standard set by WHO. If I reach that, my next target is 7 and half months of breastfeeding, which is when my baby is actually 6 months old based on her corrected age. My eventual target is to breastfeed for at least 2 years but I shall not think about that now.

For now, I am thankful for each day that milk flows.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The bond between my daughter & I... by Suhaila Ahmad

One of the main reasons that I decided to breasfeed my child was because of the benefits for the baby. Knowing that breastmilk was better for digestion, prevent colic and other health-related benefits was what motivated me. I also knew that babies on formula could develop severe constipation, and what was a mother to do if her young baby had diarrhoea (and cannot have formula)? And for me I just thought that breastfeeding is the most natural thing to do.

I read as much as I could about breastfeeding, but it was only when I actually breastfed, I learnt a lot through my own experience. There were challenges, the first few weeks was the toughest... engorgement and cracked nipples were the worst, but every problem has a solution, believe me. To expectant mothers who would like to breastfeed, ally yourself with a fellow BFM and I am sure she would be more than happy to offer advice anytime, anyday :) For me, I was very encouraged by my sister, cousin and 4 colleagues (that's a lot considering BFMs are a rare breed, I think ;) ) who all managed to breastfeed for at least a year and a half for each baby they had.

The bonuses that came as truly nice "surprise' was the bonding - my daughter and I shared a lot of precious, lovely moments that I think only other mothers who breastfeed are privileged to know. I did not know that I would be blessed by this feeling of real closeness to my daughter, feeling really special and amazed to see my daughter grow for the first 6 months only from my breastmilk, and growing really well too! We have our funny and special moments too, like when she puts her hand inside my shirt (in public) and we would both break out into silly grins, like when she gets really excited just before milktime, gathering her pillows and bears in anticipation, and when I get to comfort her really fast when she is upset or ill with good, quiet, peaceful and private breastfeeding.

The first time I gave my daughter formula milk, she turned red like a lobster. As such I decided that I would allow her to breastfeed as much as she wanted. Now that my daughter has turned two, I am constantly thinking of weaning, but it is a real challenge because she does not like formula or the bottle.

I will go with the flow (pun intended) and I know she will wean naturally when she is ready.

For now, I am cherishing every moment I have breastfeeding her, and try to be really present when I am with her.

I wish all expectant mums successful breastfeeding, and all BFMs Happy Bonding!

Love,
Suhaila (my name means smooth and flowing, how apt huh ;)
and Sakinah (daughter's name means peaceful, calm and tranquil, dats how she is after mummy's milk :)

Breast shells... by Yati

Having inverted nipples never did bother me before I became pregnant because there were some advantages to it. For instance, you never have to worry about them protruding when the weather's cold & you are wearing a thin bra. Heck, you can even get away without wearing one!

When i decided on breastfeeding early in my pregnancy, I scoured the Internet & raided the library for information on the topic. I learned that having "minus" nipples is rather bad news. I began to worry. Then one day, I chanced upon "breast shells" from a well-known breastcare brand. Well, basically the shells are meant to be placed over your nipples to "encourage" them to protrude hence making latching easier during breastfeeding. I made a mental note to purchase them closer to my due date. They became no. 2 on my "must-buy" pre-birth shopping list, no. 1 being the breast pumps of course!

In my 37th week of pregnancy, I bought the breast shells. I remember this like it was yesterday. It was a monday night & since the husband's out for a well-deserved guys' nite out, I decided to fiddle around with the breast shells. The instructions leaflet recommends the user (me!) to practise wearing the shells during pregnancy to draw out the nipples to increase elasticity & prime them for breastfeeding later. So I did and felt like Xena, the Warrior Princess, heh. I decided to wear them under my bra and went to bed.

The next morning, I removed the shells and hey presto, inverted nipples no more! I set the breast shells aside and felt rather pleased with myself. To cut the story short, my contractions started later in the afternoon & I gave birth on Wednesday morning, a minute to 11am. During labour, it suddenly occured to me that my "breast exercise" could have brought on the contractions early! I remember my girlfriend warning me not to over-stimulate my nipples as it could induce labour. I also remember myself going "Bah! Why would i want to be fondling my nipples?".

Thankfully, it was a rather smooth labour & delivery & most importantly the baby arrived safely.

The breast shells really turned out to be a huge help for me during the 4 months I managed to breastfeed my baby. I was so ridiculously happy when I brought her back for her then check-ups & jabs to hear the doctor going "Hmmm, this must be a breastfed baby! See how much she's grown from being a mere 2.75kg at birth!". So for those flatties & inverts like me, fret not, there is hope for us! But do be careful when first trying out them breast shells though!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Crying over spilt milk... by Heriati Jaiz

Crying over spilt milk…was exactly what I did.

Whoever invented the idiom "No use crying over spilt milk" was obviously not a breastfeeding mother.

Back home after work, it was my usual routine of nursing him on one side and expressing milk on the other. After 10 minutes of latching on, he decided that he was full and that his toys were more interesting than mummy’s silly gurgling. So I put him down beside me, while I continued expressing. I was particularly happy that the let down reflex was not a let down (pun fully intended). The milk was flowing out through the funnel at top speed! Within that span of 15 minutes, I had been able to express out 140ml.

Now here's what got me wailing next…

Out of sheer exhaustion or perhaps plain carelessness, I had toppled the bottle over when I was about to put it down. In that split second, more than half of the contents spilled all over the table and down the floor quickly forming a milky puddle.

For a brief moment, I just froze and stared at the puddle in shock. And then I started crying. Really loudly. I felt such an immense anger at my own stupidity & carelessness. All that was left was barely enough for 1 feeding. I felt my efforts literally washed down the drain (except in my case, it was down the table and onto the floor).

Was I being too hard on myself?

Perhaps.

But only a mother in the same situation as me would have understood. It's no easy feat being a working AND a nursing mother. Despite our busy schedule at work, we have to somehow squeeze in time to express milk at least twice a day. Coming home is also not the end of our duties. In order to keep my supply up, I feed him directly whenever I'm with him. It's less pressure since I don't have to reach a “quota” for the feeds. This and the rest of the stuff I have to do when I get home – bathe, pray, dinner, laundry and the list go on.

So excuse me for being highly emotional over spilt milk.

The Husband was taking a bath when this happened. By the time he got out, all he saw was a sobbing me, desperately soaking up the milk puddle with a towel. I thank the Heavens for blessing me with a supportive Significant Other. All it took was a hug from him to comfort me. He knew how strongly I felt about this whole breastfeeding issue.

I had made this commitment to give him only the best - full breast milk. And I will do it for as long as I can. I'm not setting any target dates to stop. Each day that I continue to breastfeed my son, it is a milestone for me. I am glad that I’ve managed to overcome all the initial odds – Poor latch on, Engorgement and Mastitis. Some days, I even experience a dip in supply but that has not deterred me at all.

The fact that I am still breastfeeding my son up to his 9 months of age and hopefully beyond, is testimony to the strong & supportive network that encourages me to carry on – my parents, husband, fellow breastfeeding mummies and understanding bosses and colleagues have helped to contribute to this success.

I pray that the milk spillage episode will never repeat itself. I just got to wipe off the last milk stains and carry on…

Still going on strong... by Alderline Wong Hui Lin

The start of breastfeeding experience was swamped with lots of difficulties, discouragements and wrong instructions.

Even before my baby Joel was born, my ob-gyn asked me this innocent question:

He: so are you going to breastfeed?

Me: yes, if possible.

He: but what if your milk doesn’t come in when you’ve delivered? Is it ok to give formula?

Me: ok, I don’t want to starve the baby.

I did not know that it’s ok not to feed the baby as soon as he’s born. I didn’t know that I can also produce this wonderful liquid gold called colostrum.

After my caesarean delivery (3pm), I was unconscious for about 3 hours. Thinking back, I was feeling quite cheated because it is not necessary for me to be unconscious for my delivery. But I trusted the doctor too much. I wasn’t even dilated and it’s not necessary for me to even have a caesarean but I was somehow convinced by his words that the caesarean was necessary.

Upon waking up at 6pm, I can’t sit up and hence didn’t feed my baby. (but of course, no nurse was helpful enough to advise me to breastfeed lying down) My husband and mum took turns to bottle feed the baby formula.

The next morning at 5am, I woke up feeling engorged and walked out to the nursery to find my baby to breastfeed. However, the nurses told me that the doctor will be making his rounds and required the baby to be in the nursery. It was only about 10am that the nurses wheeled my baby in.

The nurse tried to help me hold my baby to breastfeed but after a few torturous minutes, we both gave up and then my husband bottle fed him formula again. But thank God, in the afternoon, without the clumsy nurse’s help and having gain more confidence in holding my baby, I managed to breastfeed him. He was latching beautiful and drinking wonderfully.

Back at home, where my mum was doing my confinement, I was faced with lots of her discouragement, such as:

1) my milk being diluted

2) I was exhausted and should not be wasting my strength to breastfeed

3) I cannot take too much ginger or wine if I breastfeed and hence my health will suffer later

4) it’s not good to give baby chilled milk that was warmed up

5) baby is drinking so much, maybe I don’t have enough milk.

And a few times while I was asleep, my mum did feed baby formula behind my back!

But later on, I manage to get back control.

Back to work at a property company, I pumped 3 times in the office. I’ve my colleague telling me to shut my noisy medela pump off but I persist. Even though initially I pumped my milk at my desk with no privacy at all, I still continue. Thank God, my receptionist was quite supportive to my breastfeeding and allowed me to use the meeting room when it’s not occupied. Though the glass door and walls are merely translucent, using meeting rooms did provide me with more privacy and less noise to my collegues. It was really a great blessing that later on, I manage to find a little PABX room to do my pumping.

Then, I switched job to Creative technology where there’s 2 wonderful nursing rooms to choose from. The difficulties I faced there is the lack of time as I was absolutely swamped at work. My commitment to pump 3 time at work was sometimes not fulfilled. Still, I have enough breastmilk for my son, so I don’t have to supplement myself.

But no matter what I do, I cannot change my mother’s mindset. She insisted that all babies need formula, so when feeding solids, she will put in a scoop of formula. But thank God, my Joel rejects all formula given via the bottle for him to drink. He only drinks breastmilk and preferably directly from the breast.

It’s such a joy breastfeeding my Joel that even though he’s coming 26months now, I am still going strong. I thank God for creating breasts in me, so that I can nurture my son and enjoy the bonding.

My breastfeeding experience... by Cheng Swee Chin

I’m a mother of two wonderful girls, Isabel who’s turning 3 in August and Hannah, a two-month-old baby. I breastfed Isabel for 30 months and is breastfeeding Hannah totally at present.

Isabel’s a fussy baby and demands to be fed every 2 hours for the first three months. My confinement month was stressful and breastfeeding for the first time isn’t easy even though I’ve done some readings. I called the breastfeeding hotline a couple of times for the first three weeks and the counselor who helped me gave me a lot of emotional support by encouraging me to press on despite my very sore nipples n bad engorgement. At that point of time, I had only few friends who could share their breastfeeding experience with me.

I turned part time for half a year and managed to succeed in breastfeeding Isabel exclusively for 6 months before supplementing with solids. After going back to work full-time when she was 6 months, milk powder was supplemented only when I didn’t have enough EBM supply.

When she was around 7 months, I had a bad flu that required me to take antibiotics Augmentin. The doctor dissuaded me from breastfeeding her during this period of consuming the antibiotics. For the first day, I had to pump out the milk and dispose it! I felt so sad that I couldn’t nurse her directly. She kept crying when she wants to nurse and I had to push her to my mum who’ll feed her EBM through the bottle. The night was unbearable as she’s so used to breastfeeding directly and sleeping with me. She cried so much and simply refused the bottle. On the next day, I called the pediatrician. I was so thankful when he assured me that it was absolutely safe for me to nurse her as he also prescribe Augmentin to babies too. After this bad experience, I was even more determined to continue breastfeeding Isabel for as long as I want to.

Some close relatives from my husband’s side kept asking me to wean her off after she turned 1 year-old. I find it especially difficult to continue breastfeeding when people around you aren’t supportive but I am thankful that at least my mother, who’s the caregiver, is supportive. When I became pregnant when she’s 22 months-old, I was again pressured to wean her off. Thank God I wrote to the hotline again and the counselor encouraged me to carry on. The gynae I chose due to proximity of clinic from my place also asked me to decrease my feeds, so I switched to another gynae who was supportive of breastfeeding during pregnancy. I suffered from very sore nipples and managed to wean Isabel off night feeds eventually and subsequently during my eighth month of pregnancy, when she was 30 months, she self-weaned.

Now that the second baby arrived, I thought I could tandem nurse, but Isabel simply refused to latch on again. Hannah, the younger girl is equally demanding, but I encounter much less problems in breastfeeding her. I’ve had a wonderful breastfeeding experience with Isabel and I hope to breastfeed Hannah for as long as I can. Of the friends I know of with two or more children, most weaned the younger child earlier than the eldest one.

I was blessed to have breastfed Isabel for over two years and I really admire those who can breastfeed up to even four or five years! I strongly believe in the unique bond created between mother and child through breastfeeding. Thus, I hope to render others emotional support in their breastfeeding attempts. I am interested in gaining more knowledge in breastfeeding so that I can help others in making their breastfeeding experience a memorable one rather than a painful one, just like the counselors who helped me in my first breastfeeding encounter.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Got milk?... by Nurhana Ismail

i had geared myself up mentally to the point of delivery, but beyond that, i had no idea what was to take place.

i have to say that the hardest part for me in the whole postnatal experience was: breastfeeding.

i'd already steeled my will to breastfeed no matter what, and nothing was gonna stop me.

the first day, the nurse got the baby to latch on me, and i knew nothing was coming out, but the baby suckled beautifully, so i prayed something will come out soon.

the feeling at first was very strange. it was like... being in labour again! *gasp* when he suckled, i felt contractions. and it was tingly down there. very strange indeed.

he suckled and suckled and suckled, and i was soon convinced i'll never have any milk come out of me.

the first day wasn't too bad, because he slept a lot. but by night time, he'd grown hungry and was sucking even more voraciously for what seemed like hours. also, by night time, i'd lost my adrenaline rush from the birth, the baby and the visitors. but he kept on sucking and crying and getting windy from sucking air instead of milk. needless to say, in the wee hours of our second day together, baby and i were extremely exhausted and frustrated.

the nurse offered to give the baby either glucose water or formula. i was torn. and gave in to glucose water.

the next morning we tried again, and still the baby was crying. it MUST be tiring, all that sucking and not being sufficiently rewarded for such hard work. this time, i gave in to formula.

and i cried.

the doctor came to visit the day after, and asked how i was feeling. i replied with a meek "overwhelmed", so he tempted me to stay one more night at the hospital. i hesitated at the sweet thought of all those nice nurses at my beck and call, all their help with the baby, and all that nice food which kept appearing at my bed... and said ok.

i'm glad i decided to stay. not only did i recover by leaps and bounds with that one extra day at the hospital, it gave me a LOT of confidence in handling my newborn. i gathered tips from observing the nurses, and asking questions in the nursery. little things like swaddling the baby, cleaning him up, burping him, and most importantly, discovering that - I HAD MILK.

one of the nurses checked to see if i was lactating by squeeeezing my areola... and LO AND BEHOLD! clear liquid secreted out of me, followed by a drop of dilute white stuff. amazing, i tell ya!

seeing that one tiny drop of milk was enough for me to keep persevering in my breastfeeding endeavours. of course, the discomforts of engorgement and sore nipples made me cringe when it was time to feed. but never once did i think of giving up.

my masseuse came to my house the afternoon i got back from hospital, and from her, i gathered more tips on breastfeeding, things i didn't read up on prior to delivery, thinking naively then that it'll all come naturally (boy, was i oh-so-wrong!).

by my fourth day as a mother, i was happy to announce that i was the owner of two FULLY functional boobs.

i have been totally breastfeeding since the day i brought my baby home, and the experience is indeed wonderful. even now, i still feel amazed at the thought of providing sustenance for my child from my own body. simply... miraculous.

and my little one loves his happy hours. :)

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Husband, My Bosom Buddy... by Nasyita Wee

My husband, Brian, is always better at gift wrapping than I am. So naturally, he was also better at 'wrapping' cold cabbage leaves around my breasts during those difficult confinement nights.He said he enjoyed doing it. It was like making a paper mache.

Brian is able to create humour from the most unpleasant circumstances. Without his support, I don't think I could have lasted even 2 weeks of fully breastfeeding our baby boy. For some reason, the manual pump that we bought a few weeks before I delivered didn't work well for me at all. It was my Brian who would assemble the parts for me each time while I sat sobbing in bed due to the all-over bodily pain. Each time, he would then religiously place the 20ml or maybe less of breastmilk in the fridge. It took me almost half an hour to express that out!!

Our baby is 6 months and 1 week old now. Thanks to my Brian, our baby has never been on formula( Yup, the unopened tin is still sitting on the kitchen cabinet shelf and yes, yes, I was one of those mummies who would buy it JUST IN CASE) I have also sold off my manual pump ( I still do not know how to assemble it) and purchased a dual electric one. I am a teacher who handles teenagers with raging hormones at least 6 hours per day. I missed those times when I needed cold cabbages. With the nature of my job, I'm frankly struggling to keep up with sufficient milk supply for our baby. While most other people have maids or relatives to help out, Brian and I only have each other and the infant care. But we are doing well. I have to admit I am exhausted most of the time. But my Brian is always there to help set up the breastpump in the early morning. I sit by my electric pump preparing baby's school lunchbox and he changes baby's diaper.

To my Brian Baby, thank you so much for all your support! Couldnt have done it without you!

By the way, babe...Happy Father's Day in advance! I love you!

PS : When IS Fathers' Day?? :p

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Welcome!

Hello mummies and daddies! Welcome to the first BMSG blog site where you get to share your breastfeeding experiences. We all know that successful breastfeeding needs a lot of commitment and perseverance on the part of both parents. If you have any interesting experiences to share, be it inspiring or even humorous, we would love to hear from you. You can email your stories to us at bmsgblog@gmail.com and we'll feature your stories here. And yes, don't forget those pictures of your little cuties too!! :)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

World Breastfeeding Week 2006

In conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week 2006, BMSG will be holding a competition for the best breastfeeding experience posted here on the blog. A carnival will be held on 13 Aug 2006 at Tampines West CC. We are giving away prizes to the top 3 stories. Result of this competition will be announced at the carnival. So keep those entries coming in!

Rules and Regulations:

1. The competition is open to all Singaporeans except EXCO members of BMSG
2. Do not mention any formula brands in your stories.
3. Decisions made by the judges are final.
4. Closing date : 10 Aug 2006