|February 28, 2013||Posted by Mabel under Breastfeeding, Just Noah, Parenthood|
As of this week, I said goodbye to breastfeeding my son.
It has been a journey that spanned nearly 18 months and one that wasn’t smooth too. I had my fair share of blocked ducts, engorgements, milk blebs, oversupply (undersupply wasn’t an issue this time as I was pumping in the early days and Noah didn’t need much of my milk) and all the “joys” that come with breastfeeding.
Noah was already down to two feeds – my kids drink “straight from the tap” since I am a stay-at-home mum – for the past few months and sometime late December/early January, I decided to try cutting back on boob-time before naps – experience told me that the night feeds are hardest to drop so I saved that for last instead. He accepted it and went to bed on his own with some shoulder patting. The weaning came by accident, to be honest, as sometime last week, I started to notice that he was playing more than nursing and when my period came earlier this week, I told my hubs that maybe it is time to stop completely. I let my hubby put him to bed instead of me – Eva was with my mother-in-law for the week since it’s the school holidays – and I reckon that if my hubby is the one to get him to sleep, he wouldn’t want to nurse or think of nursing.
It went smoother than I had expected. Of course I haven’t tried putting him to bed at night…not yet. I think I’ll wait for next week to try it out.
Now many people asked about my feelings on this, if I was sad about him self-weaning. To be honest, I am not. I think what made this time different from my previous weaning experience – my daughter self-weaned at 11 mths old – is that the both of us are ready to move on and I was not under pressure to build up a milk bank or make sure that he was still on milk as was the case when Eva went off breast milk. I am not working now and Noah is doing very well on solids – sometimes, we joke that he’s a bottomless pit – and more importantly, he is still on a balanced diet despite his food allergies.
I must say tho – I am happy to have my breasts back! Kakakakaka!
|October 7, 2011||Posted by Mabel under Breastfeeding, Parenthood|
Yes, I am breastfeeding again.
But unlike the first time where I was latching on Eva, this time I have been pumping out my milk as Noah was too young to latch on at birth. Every three hours, for twenty minutes per breast – that’s how long and frequent my pump sessions were. Over time, as my milk came in, the time was cut short but the frequency was still the same. Around the clock, mind you. This means waking up in the wee hours of the morning while everyone is fast and sound asleep.
This journey of mine, I’ll be honest, is harder than before. My journey with Eva spoilt me royally. With exclusive pumping, I have to wake up every three hours, sterilize pump parts and well, sit in front of a pump for ten to fifteen minutes – thankgoodness for double breast pumps! It is depressing, to say the least, and hard to stay motivated especially when breastfeeding friends around me are breastfeeding their babies. In my case, I’m breastfeeding my pump. *sigh*
At the moment, my biggest concern is not so much my milk supply. My supply is doing fine as I’m hitting 850 to 900 ml, which is more than enough for Noah as he only drinks 30 ml every three hours. You see, prior to this week, Noah has been getting most of his feeds via a gavage tube. The nurses only started bottle feeding seriously this week. While I have been trying to make myself clear – I hate the fact that no one here speaks or understands English – I keep getting reassured that it’s normal for preemies to suckle weakly at the breast and that for now, latching on is more to get him used to the breast.
Today, when I latched him on and watch him suckle for a couple of minutes, I began to realize that the suckling motion he adopted was a mix of the right suckle for breastfeeding (for breasts, one suckles with their jaw going up and down) and the wrong kind (for bottles, one suckles as if they are sucking from a straw – cheeks are depressed). And that got me to thinking – what if he gets nipple confusion? Am I going to be stuck with bottle feeds? The constant pumping, sterilizing, warming bottles and so forth?
A Malaysian lactation consultant suggested that I leave a note somewhere in Noah’s room telling the nurses to stop the bottle feeds and just stick to cup feeding. That would help minimise the possibility of nipple confusion. Trouble is that I don’t know how things work here and while I have mentioned to many people that I really want to do only direct feed, the shift changes make it really hard for the message to stick. I got Nil to speak to his sister as she gave birth to both her two children prematurely and I know she breastfed them.
Perhaps my emotions and postpartum blues are making things more problematic than it really is. Maybe I am just being paranoid over nothing. I do hope that I’ll be able to latch him on more successfully so now the goal is to try and me there for at least one feed a day and then increase the frequency. What doesn’t help is that the bus to the hospital comes once every hour, I have to spend some time with Eva, cook dinner and I am car-less. *sigh*
Still, I’m determined to breastfeed him…and directly too…no matter what it takes! Even if it means re-training him again. Do pray for the both of us as we tackle this rough road ahead, ya?
|August 12, 2010||Posted by Mabel under Breastfeeding, Parenthood|
Yes you read that right. I’m weaning officially – I have started since Eva went on solids but as of last Saturday, I’m actually going to stop breastfeeding. It’s more of baby-led weaning than anything else.
For the past couple of weeks, Eva has made no attempts to hide the fact that she doesn’t want to nurse when it’s time to nurse – doesn’t matter if it’s day or night. I used to be able to get away with dream feeding her but even now, in her sleep, she has the ability to know if it’s boob time or not. As long as there is milk flowing, she just refuses to nurse, preferring instead the comfort of her good old thumb. Thus, I find my supply dwindling more and more on the weekends and decided to relook at weaning her off since my Aunty Flo is due any time. (It makes it easier to wean as menses-related hormones will cause a dip in milk production.)
So I have gone from pumping or latching on around the clock (every four hours) to now only pumping once in the morning, one in the evening and reserving the night feed for her to latch on in case – most of the time, it’s just one boob and if I try to get her to nurse from the other, she’d protest in her sleep. Haiz.
In a way, it’s good – at least these days, I can opt to sleep earlier and well, I can go back to trying to lose all that post-pregnancy weight (yes, I’m a vain mummy). In a way, it’s sort of sad to say goodbye to her nursing. Still, I’m going to take this all in stride – it isn’t called baby-led weaning for nothing!
So yes, the journey was for 12.5 months, far longer than I had planned for and well, it was fun, milk blebs, blocked ducts and all.
|May 31, 2010||Posted by Mabel under Breastfeeding, Parenthood|
When I first got pregnant, I had decided that I’d breastfeed my child and do whatever I can to continue breastfeeding for at least six months. That’s the minimum set by WHO and I was determined to meet the mark. The fact that I was a SAHM then helped a lot as I was relaxed and well, the journey was relatively pleasant despite the occasional hiccup in the form of blocked ducts and milk blebs plus one very distractable baby. After the six month mark, everything else, I told myself, is a bonus. Of course, then, I hadn’t realized that I was putting more emotion into it. But that wasn’t a problem; after all, I wasn’t working.
And then work started.
At first, everything was alright. I was getting the same amount of milk I had been pumping out a month before I started work but the moment I got off training mode, my supply began to drop and suddenly my boobs are more temperamental than usual. It didn’t help that I’m easily stressed out, things are very busy at the office and this is evident from the fact that my Aunty Flow is late.
Now before you jump on the “lets give her some suggestions”, note that I’ve tried just about everything. I’ve been taking nursing teas, drinking nearly 4-5 liters of water, eating like a horse, breast massages, switching from manual to electric pumps, trying relaxation techniques and so forth. I got even more stressed out at the sight of my dwindling milk supply whenever I pump – at work and at home. Of course along the way, I encountered more external pressure than internal. My internal, I mean Eva and external would be…well, other breastfeeding mums.
So I faced with the choice of supplementing with formula for her day feeds and I finally caved…with mixed emotions. I started feeling quite down, depressed and stressed out. I snapped a lot at Nil because I felt that I wouldn’t have to face this problem if I was a SAHM. It took me a while – well, it’s still taking me some time – to adjust to the idea that it’s perfectly alright for me to supplement some feeds with formula. I was losing sight of what mattered and I’m glad I was reminded of it. What counts is my daughter and there is no point in me holding onto breastfeeding if she’s hungry, grumpy and crying all the time because of it.
Breastfeeding is hard be it pumping or just direct feeding and mothers who have been doing it for months deserve applause and praise. And so do the mothers who desire to breastfeed exclusively but can’t despite all they have done because it is not easy to give up what you know to be the best for your child, to be unable to provide that very best. It’s heartbreaking and the last thing these mothers need to feel is guilt and shame.
I told many mums that if they have tried their best and nothing (and I mean NOTHING) works, then by all means, supplement with formula. There is no need for you to feel as if you’re a bad mother. You’d be a bad mother if you let your child starve in order to prove a point. Since I decided to supplement with formula, I’ve had to grapple with these negative thoughts and I finally told myself that I did it for 10 months and am still doing it. That is in no way something people should use to judge if a person is a good mother or not – their ability to breastfeed and how long they can breastfeed for.
Perhaps some people may say that it’s a case of sour grapes. I guess I just want people, especially those who are very into breastfeeding to understand that the decision to stop and/or supplement with formula isn’t always an easy one.
|May 12, 2010||Posted by Mabel under Breastfeeding, Parenthood|
It’s been two weeks since I started work and I’m still breastfeeding. It’s not really anything spectacular in terms of a set-up or planning. Every morning, I sterilise my breastpump parts – am using my Avent ISIS IQ Uno (the manual version coz the electric one doesn’t work well for me) – together with three bottles. The pump parts go into a ziplock bag and the bottles in a cooler bag (Avent Thinsulate is what I’m using) with an ice pack. Although it’s not that bulky, I’m thinking of leaving a set of parts at the office since I’m still pumping at night but making the trip to the showroom just to get the parts is quite troublesome so I’ll just KIV the plan.
At the office, I have my Medela microwave steriliser bags which I use twice a day since I pump three times – once before I start work, another time during lunch and once again in the late afternoon (before the end of the day). The bottles go into the fridge for chilling and I’ll pack them in with the ice pack when I leave the office. Of course at the moment, with the training schedule, it’s a bit of a mad rush to make sure that I use up only 15 minutes for pumping but otherwise, everyone is quite okay with the idea of me taking a break to express milk – from the trainers to the team leaders and my other colleagues.
There is no nursing room but I’m on the floor where there is a server room and a while ago, some of the other nursing mums then converted it into a pump room. It’s quite bare but serves its purpose well. At least I can pump in peace plus it’s right next to the pantry! I know how some mums think it can be quite troublesome to pump at the office, finding the time and so forth but I do believe in striking a balance between the workplace and your personal commitments. It is a question of trust between the employer and the employee so I like to think that as long as I continue to do my job well and not abuse this privilege, expressing at the office shouldn’t be an issue.
My next challenge now is how to go about the final pump session this Friday as the company has organized a little do outdoors that features presentations from all the teams, mine included. O’well, we’ll worry about it when the time comes. If all else fails, I’ll just pump on site or not at all. No biggie since it’s a Friday and Friday’s stash gets frozen for Monday. Kekekeke.
|April 18, 2010||Posted by Mabel under Breastfeeding, Parenthood|
…or in my case, a nearly good nine months. I’ve been luckier than most women as my breastfeeding journey has been somewhat uneventful with an occasional blocked duct or milk bleb here and there. So I have never thought of weaning Eva off breastmilk until recently.
It was always a given that I breastfeed her for at least six months and after that, I’ll see how it goes. If I can reach a year, that would be great. I never really though about the “if-not” part though. But for the past few days, I found myself wondering if I should start weaning her. Reason being I was getting tired and stressed out from running around, doing the housechores, keeping up the late nights (either for pumping or feeding) and not getting enough of sleep (I only have about 5 hours of sleep a day now) on top of the daily one hour to 45 minutes I take to pick Eva up from the sitter’s, walk a good 20 minutes back from the MRT to our place (I can’t wait till we move to the new place!).
When my Aunty Flo came yesterday and after Eva accidentally bit me during a night feed, I became very sorely tempted. I was so lethargic and tired that I fell asleep once in the morning and nearly knocked out twice after that – all in the span of three hours! It didn’t help that my milk supply always dips a little during these visits so I can only imagine what it would be like when I start work.
Still, although I’m tempted to, part of me is still holding back and trying to do the best I can in terms of breastfeeding. I’m still pumping like crazy, drinking nursing tea at least once a day now and hoping that I can make it till the 10th or 11th month before I start weaning. My reasons are purely simple – I save money and I still have milk so why stop? But I can’t say that the drive to continue is as strong as it was when I first started.
Was it like that with you mums who have weaned your little ones already? Or what about those who are still breastfeeding – what are your goals and reasons?