Breastfeeding is a Teamwork

How had your first seven days of August been? The me-before-chlidren would have clocked six hours of sleep, enjoyed a Kaya Butter toast at Killiney, slogged through a typical day at work, lavish in a 5-course dinner and probably sit through a blockbuster at the cinema. What’s better than a fat pay check and a carefree life? To be able to celebrate, promote, support and breastfeed successfully!

Breastfeeding is a teamwork. Not only do mothers and babies form the core of the team, family, friends, and others serve as cheerleaders as well. Mothers have goals for breastfeeding and need the help and support of the whole team to achieve those goals. The 2014 World Breastfeeding Week slogan is “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – For Life!”. It aims to celebrate the team effort needed to make breastfeeding easier.
Every new mother would have gone through books, talks and prenatal classes that harp on Breast being the Best. It became a natural goal to breastfeed for as long as we possibly can. It is campaigned so strongly that we feel a nagging guilt if we were to give in to **formula milk. New mothers are idealistic and positively charged towards an exclusively breastfed baby. Unfortunately, they were (I was) never been told how difficult the journey might be. At the same time, breastfeeding could also be a breeze.

Here are real life experiences from breastfeeding moms to motivate, support and encourage your breastfeeding journey. Whether you are a new mother or an experienced mother, each breastfeeding adventure is different. We latch our babies directly, we express our breast milk for them, we donate and share breast milk when in need. Be comforted that there is always another mom, another story and another inspiration out there you can relate to.

THE MOM-TO-BE
Charlene Chen 25 years old

35 weeks pregnant
In Germany, they encourage us to breastfeed for at least a year. Since I’ve the privilege of a one year maternity leave, that’s what I intend to do. I’ve read and heard from friends that it’s bound to be challenging at the start, but as soon as mum and baby establishes that bond, the pain is worth it. I’m lucky to have breastfeeding classes and midwives here all paid for by my health insurance so I’ll make use of that to give my baby the best.

THE FIRST-TIMER I
Chiam Wenting 29 years old
Mother to Carrie 62 days old

Been breast feeding for 8 weeks now – very blessed as baby Carrie knows how to latch on since week 2 and milk supply have been flowing smoothly. 

Once, we were having coffee and I was carrying Carrie in my arms for a good 2 hours. Just as we stood up to say our goodbyes, I lifted her and felt like something was damp! Peeped downwards and the whole boob area was soaked in milk! Breasts pad didn’t quite work on my over supply of milk. I walked around town in my nursing cover after. Looks like mummy needs extra outfit too when we’re out!

THE FIRST-TIMER II
Natasha Xu 32 years old
Mother to Alexis 4.5 months old

I have been exclusively breastfeeding since birth and I have to admit, there is nothing natural about BF (at least for me). 
In Canada, all the hospitals are pro EBF and huge advocates for skin to skin. In the beginning, it was such a challenge to get the right latch and we have been summoned to lactation clinic for the first few weeks to make sure Alexis is feeding right. During those weeks, I can’t help but feel that all the posters with calm/contented babies being BFed are all staged as there is nothing calming for me… Firstly, poor latch causes lotsa nipple pain and causes Alexis to be taking in a lot of air. An underfed/gassy baby = unhappy baby. In addition, as our tatas don’t come with a transparent milk meter.. I am always second guessing if she had enough. However, we stuck through it and with the help of the lactation consultants and lotsa lanolin cream, we are still BFing today and hoping to make it to the one year mark. 
I am still not very comfortable BF in public so i tend to hide behind a nursing cover even in nursing rooms… The funny thing is, Alexis and I should be pros at this by now but I have such a squirmy one that everytime I try to feed her under the covers in public, I can’t hep but think that people who are observing us are thinking that I am force feeding my baby :/

THE INNOVATOR I
Shue Sng 32 years old

Mother to Shayenne 6 years old
I support breast feeding! It’s a fantastic thing! Shay was breastfed for more than 3 years. The hardest thing is bringing the pump to work on daily basis on public transport. A colleague always joke that she can hear me from far cos the zip on the pump bags makes such a loud clinking sound. I become quite a pro at it, I can bring a book to the toilet and read while pumping. It’s a very fulfilling experience between mummy n baby.

THE INNOVATOR II
Chelsia Chan 35 years old
Mother to Chantelle 2 years old and Vera 3 months old
I was having a 7-course dinner with my team colleagues. After the first dish, my breasts felt full. So I took my pumping gear and headed for the building’s restroom. My colleagues were all aware what i was going to do and they continued with their dinner. In the restroom, I filled up the 150ml bottle and felt that I needed to express more. I was panicking as I did not have any extra empty bottles. So I got dressed and went out to get a mineral water bottle. I emptied it and headed back to the restroom to fill it up!

THE MUSLIM

Anonymous
Mother to 5 months old baby
Fasting month was about to start before I was able to breastfeed 100%. I managed to fast 30 days even during pregnancy! But this year, worries grew as the day drew close. It was also the day I was to start work. So, how to fast and breastfeed and pump at work and and and…. Honestly, I was scared. I was afraid of loosing supply and afraid of not being able to fast. What if there wasn’t any time at work to pump. I worried every single day. Although I can be exempted for fasting, I would really like to do it. I want to pump and definitely continue to breastfeed till my little one turns 1 year old. Also I opted for direct latch whenever I am home. Now that the fasting month is over, all seemed to have went well. I missed only few days of ramadan. My baby has grown so well and enjoys latching at night. I am proud that I manage to pull this through and still going strong on breastfeeding. How did I manage? With the huge support of my husband – without him it would not have been possible. Also, it is very motivational just by looking at my baby as he enjoys his milk.

THE TANDEM BREASTFEEDER I

Lynnette Pek 36 years old
Mother to Anika 2 years old and Anissa 10 months old

The 26 months journey been quite easy for #1 as my family members are supportive. My #2 feels like an “add-on”, another accessory to catch the milk when #1 is nursing! It’s been a challenge to nurse both in public but nothing is impossible with a big napkin. Just put all 3 heads under and we are good. Nursing is natural and foster bonding. Good for mummy and child. When we hold a child, we are his world. I am all for breastfeeding.

THE TANDEM BREASTFEEDER II

Maybelline Tan 32 years old
Mother to Francesca 2 years old and Aldrich 1 month old

When I was pregnant with Francesca, I knew I wanted to breastfeed and set a personal target of giving her total Breastmilk for 1 year. I read up on it, even read up on how to build up / boost my milk supply. With that knowledge and my goal, I had an over supply and my girl breastfeed until now. She was given fm after she turned 1 though but she still latched on at night, even throughout pregnancy. There will always be problems during breastfeeding – lack of supply, not enough support, relatives who give comments, engorgement, blocked duct, no time to express milk. You name it, I have also encountered it. Most importantly is what I wanted for my kids – the best nutrition in Breastmilk. There were instances that I wanted to give up too but with support and the feeling of missing breastfeeding, I made it through those difficult moments. Now looking back and with my boy Al, I am determined to breastfeed at least until one year, and then let them decide when they want to wean. I can say, I don’t look forward to the day they say goodbye to my boobies though.

Tips for breastfeeding mummies – set your own target of how long you want. Seek help and support. Facebook has this awesome breastfeeding mums group where many mummies share their experiences and are totally cool with sharing excellent tips, and replying to questions. Read up on the basics of breastfeeding. Kellymom is a good website. Google is my good friend where I just key in my questions 🙂 happy breastfeeding!

THE PERFECTIONIST I

Liang May 32 years old
Mother to Ewan 2 years old and Faye 3 months old

I was an absolute idealist, a perfectionist. I set my goals to breastfeed exclusively and refused to relent even when the going gets tough. I cried every day from sore nipples, undersupply, fatigue, mastitis and mostly, a very needy baby who suckled the life out of me. The parentcraft telephone numbers for every hospital were on my phone’s Favourites. I’d call and talk to the lactation consultants whenever I felt like I have exhausted everything on the list to stop Ewan from wailing. There wasn’t a moment I felt encouraged from breastfeeding and actually hated it! It was a feat for a new mother like me. The biggest challenge I have ever encountered really. I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel when a lactation consultant came to visit me at home. It only took a few words to transform my angst to acceptance. She said, “It is nature that a baby needs to suckle. I latched my daughter on demand and there was no rest at end. Everyone disagreed with me but this is how I provide love to my child – attending to her needs. Whether your baby wants to suckle for comfort or suckle for hunger, just give it to him. Love him.” From then on, I enjoyed breastfeeding Ewan so much I wished I had never stopped. We breastfed for 13 months.

Then when Faye came along, I became such a pro. I collected my colostrum with a syringe, latched her on perfectly without resulting in sore nipples, loved our mother and child bond and even breastfed in public without feeling a teeny wee bit of shyness. The most encouraging moment must be at PasarBella where I breastfed openly for a photo shoot and no one walked past looking embarrassed. On the contrary, we received a couple of “Aww”s at the endearing sight. A gentleman actually gave us a thumbs-up! Loving how our society are embracing breastfeeding better than before. It will only get better!

THE PERFECTIONIST II
Elizabeth Chew 33 years old
Mother to Kaius 2 years old and Allegra 3 months old
I breastfed my son for 11 months and I must say that the initial month or so was quite an overwhelming challenge – one a hormonal me was completely unprepared for! Kaius was a guzzler and chomper so my poor nipples became chewed up quite quickly and breastfeeding became crazymadpainful torture. Giving birth seemed like a piece of cake compared to this. I started to think that all the people who told me that breastfeeding was some beautiful experience were nuts or masochistic at the very least.

To make matters worse Kaius had to be hospitalised 4 days after he was born because of jaundice and that just made breastfeeding even more difficult. I was wondering how I was going to stick to my initial plan of breastfeeding Kaius for a year since this was clearly not working out. After many tears and discussions with my husband I decided that I would put my son’s wellbeing first and let go off my other expectations of myself and the pressure of doing everything perfectly for my firstborn and decided to express my breastmilk and that worked out very well for us. No more tears and worry. I also learned to use my hand to massage my breasts and express milk (without any hand pump) and it’s been such an invaluable skill since it meant that I didn’t have to bring a breast pump around with me when I went out. Best of all engorgements were close to nil 😉

THE PROUD PROVIDER I
Ashley Yvonne Siew 38 years old
Mother to Brenin Kael Constantine LeCaine 6 weeks old  
I started breastfeeding since Day 5 of giving birth to my boy. He is currently 6 weeks old. During the first week when he had jaundice I was worried he would reject my breasts because the hospital encourages using formula milk to help with his speedy recovery. At that time my breast milk just kicked in with a limited quantity. Thank goodness he didn’t have problems latching and adjusting to the breasts. That really help with increasing the milk. Right now he is alot heavier at 5kg and I’m struggling to have him latch on without annoying him for too long. He does get quite impatient! Still, there’s nothing like nursing my baby at my breasts, seeing how comforted and blissful he looks, and knowing he is getting all the natural nutrients I can provide.

THE PROUD PROVIDER II
Jen Wang 32 years old
Mother to Joshua 9 weeks old  

I’m a professed novice at it. Two months and 3 days into breastfeeding as a new mommy and I’m still figuring it out. And that’s how it is for me. To me, breastfeeding is an activity/skill that requires a constant something. That something being: discipline…desire to persevere…a willingness to learn from others…humility to accept shortcomings…etc, etc…. a.k.a fill in the blanks with what’s applicable to your situation. The list runs long. 
For the record, I’m not an exclusive breast feeding mom. At least not yet. I’m working towards it. Since the day bean was born, and I could not breastfeed him right after delivery due to birth complications and my adverse reactions to the epidural; I’ve been struggling with supply, sore…bleeding and skin peeling off nipples, shooting pains in my boob/s, general ouchiness of the nipple through excessive gnawing and yanking. It’s painful…sometimes so painful I literally grit my teeth through it all. Despite this, it truly is satisfying to breastfeed. Yup…You read it right. LOL….ridiculous isn’t it? Oh the joys of motherhood…it truly is bitter sweet. Mothers are indeed a trip.

All that trouble worth it? Of course. For when bean looks at me when I feed him at breast; and sometimes a shoots me a smile so winning…man… it feels like my heart and the cavity holding it up has caved. I love that we have support groups for new moms like me…and bloggers that shed light on issues as this. Last but not least…It doesn’t hurt to have a wonderful supportive hubby who often tells me not to second-guess my boob’s prowess and to always believe!

THE MOM THAT WILL DO IT AGAIN (WITHOUT A DOUBT)
Iori Chua 36 years old
Mother to Kousuke 2 years old 

Without fail, my eyes will always encounter a pregnant/nursing mother when we’re out. And my eyes would tend to linger just a few seconds longer whether it is to envy the hand on the belly or the little bundle of innocence that the mother is nursing.

Yes. I love Breastfeeding, and I do miss it.

The inner warmth that envelops you when mother makes eye contact and skin-to-skin contact with what essentially came from oneself. Of course, Breastfeeding (actually more so pumping) wasn’t without its challenges. There were moments that I did feel like a ‘cow’ strapped to an annoying pump cos I was afraid my supply was low (in comparison to other mothers that pumped double without a sweat). I stressed over the lack of what the pump would procure me. Then I did away with the pump after a year, and hand-expressed at the recommendation of a friend and that was the best thing I should have done much earlier.

My main challenge was when it came to weaning. Just before 14months, I decided to introduce formula. What a headache it created. Kousuke rejected a total of 3 almost full tins that just went to the bin. So I tried again at 17months. It was a tough period, mainly because I had been his sole milk-bar his whole life and suckling was a mode of comfort for him especially when it came it bedtime every night. But within a month, starting from just night feeds of formula, he slowly increased his intake from 80 to 120ml which I similarly introduced to his mid-aftn feeds, and finally, the morning feeds. By 18+months, he had fully transferred to formula and that sadly ended my Breastfeeding experience. Will I breastfeed again? Most definitely with number 2. It’s the best gift any mother can give to her child.

—–

World’s Breastfeeding Week runs from 1st to 7th August yearly. Even though today marks the end of  the “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – For Life!” campaign, we should take the effort to support our loved ones as they breastfeed their babies every day. The spirit must live more than a week!

** Formula milk – I just want to share that supplementing your babies isn’t a crime. Sometimes post-natal blues, being overwhelmed as a new mother and fatigue can lead to low self-esteem. That will affect a mother’s mental health which can be very dangerous. Do what is best for your baby by not tormenting yourselves with guilt.

A stay at home mum, blogging to widen her social life. 
 We want to echo the sound of love through our lives to inspire other mothers alike.
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