Thursday 27 June 2013

The Gift of Mother's Milk: Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

Recently I read with interest the news of thousands of mothers in China desperately trying to buy formula milk from overseas because they do not trust the local brands of formula. To me the solution was simple: breast milk! The supply is endless and best of all, it's free!

And then I read the last part of the article, which stated that only a small percentage of them actually breastfeed as a result of poor support for working mothers going back to work and intensive advertisements on formula.

Recently I was packing some of my girl's old baby stuff in preparation for the arrival of Number 2 when I stumbled onto my breast pump I packed away safely 1.5 years ago when I stopped breastfeeding.

My Philips Avent Breast Pump

It was like meeting a dear old friend! A friend that stood by me through thick and thin; in nursing rooms and toilets (yes toilets, because nursing rooms are not available everywhere!), on airplanes and buses (yes buses, because it was a long journey and I needed to express.. under a nursing cover of course.. requires some level of skill!), in hotel rooms and at home... my friend was there for me.

So I felt a tinge of sadness when I no longer have a use for it. Breastfeeding, difficult and inconvenient as it was, is also one of the most fulfilling aspects of my journey as a mother! Everyone else can help you with the care-giving of your child but only you and YOU alone can breastfeed him/her! It is a very unique experience only you have the privilege to have! =)

Having breastfed for 18 months, here are some tips I found useful. Hope that it will be of use to you too =)


1) Kick-Ass Preparation

Part of my success stemmed from reading and reading and reading! Positions, latch on, let down reflex, typical length of feedings & amount of milk, how do you know if your baby gets enough milk, breast engorgement and its problems, mastitis, what not to eat, what to eat... there's so much to know!

Read books/blogs, talk to people, ask your doctor. Feel free to email me if you need some help. I don't have all the answers but hey, if you need someone to sympathize with you on how hard it is, I'm here for you! =)

From experience, you are most likely doomed to fail if you lack the necessary knowledge!

2) Hard Core Determination

In the beginning, it really felt like everyone was questioning me!

"Are you sure your girl is receiving enough milk? She looks so small!"
"So difficult just give up lah, you guys grew up on formula and survived what!"
"Are you sure the breast milk can keep? Won't spoil meh?"

This is when you need to dive deep into your encyclopedia of information (see point #1) and educate them that you KNOW what you are doing. And yes it's hard. So is studying for 'O' or 'A' levels, but we are not telling our kids not to study are we? We're not telling them not to learn swimming even though they swallowed large amounts of water are we? It takes practice and we will get there eventually.

And when you yourself have doubts on your own capability, you need to dive deep into the part of you that will never give up no matter what! Trust your body! If your baby needs it, your boobs will produce it!

Have faith, press on, it will get easier!

3) Pom-Pom-Cheering Supporters

Surround yourself with people who support your decision to breastfeed. People who can cheer you on, encourage you not to give up, praise you for your sacrifice!

Honestly, 2 weeks into my breastfeeding journey and I nearly wanted to give up my plan of total breastfeeding because I thought I didn't have enough milk for my girl. But my fellow mummy friend who was also breastfeeding encouraged me that this was normal as it happened to her too but now she is producing more than enough for her girl. It really encouraged me and true enough, not long after I was also producing so much milk I had to store leftovers in the fridge for emergencies! =)

4) Superpower Tools

Good breast pumps are sent from God! When my baby is not with me, I pump. When I'm tired and need to sleep, I pump extra and tell my mum-in-law to feed that for the next feeding while I sleep. When my nipples are too sore, I pump. Awesome! =)

Nipple creams and protectors have super powers too.

Nipple Protectors

They allow you to protect your nipples while your baby goes all pacman on them. Especially if yours is a ravenous piranha like mine (hello, I just fed you 1.5 hours ago!).

And if you need help finding a place to breastfeed or pump while on the go, check out my painfully-put-together-but-super-awesome review of more than 100 nursing rooms in Singapore. I do the hard work so that you don't have to ^_^

With this in mind, go forth and I wish you all the best in your efforts to give your child the gift of mother's milk!

Philips AVENT strongly advocates breastfeeding and provides parents with the tools to give their babies the best start in life. Look out for more to come at Philips AVENT.

Disclosure: This is Part 2 of a series of sponsored stories on behalf of Phillips AVENT Singapore. All opinions and text are my own.
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