Monday 26 May 2014

My Breastfeeding Diary: 5 Months

We travelled to Sydney in the middle of May so I was under a lot of pressure in the first 2 weeks of May to pump enough milk to store for the baby as he would not be travelling with us (he's still too young).

After calculating the 27 packets of milk that I had in the fridge (thank God that I started storing up from the beginning), I realised that I needed another 10-12 packets to meet the 38 (ideally 40) packets of milk that he would need for the length of our trip. I used to have a lot more but most of it got thrown away because Baby Boy refused to drink milk that was older than 1 month.

Since there were still 15 days away from our Sydney trip, I thought, "well one more packet of milk a day should be no problem right?"


Baby Boy experienced a growth spurt during these 15 days and drank every 2-3 hours instead of the usual 4-5 hours! As a result, I only had enough milk to feed him and nothing left over to pump out. I tried and tried to pump as often as I could but all I could produce was a miserable (alright maybe not very miserable to you but it is to me..) 80ml!

For the first time in weeks, this was all I could pump out from both sides!

I was devastated! I began to understand what it felt like to not have enough milk for your baby! =(

At the end of the 5th day, I decided to seek counsel from a friend who had struggled with low milk supply. She advised me to try Fenugreek, which was well-known among mothers to be good for boosting milk supply. I had never taken Fenugreek before but I was willing to give it a try. Anything to produce more milk!!

Bought my first bottle of Fenugreek, which happened to have 20% discount

The ingredients were from plant origins so it seemed ok to consume. Initially I took 2 pills twice a day (the recommended was 2 pills three times a day) just in case my breasts got too engorged. When my milk production only managed to increase slightly, I followed my friend's advice and took 3 pills twice a day instead of 2. She said her OBGYN advised her that as long as we don't exceed 6 pills a day, we were fine.

Following her advice, I managed to hit my target of storing 37 packets of milk for my baby! =)

I was still worried that he might not have enough milk though and instructed my mum-in-law to feed him some bananas or baby food in case it wasn't enough (thank goodness that he was old enough to start on solids). You might wonder why I didn't consider buying formula. Well, I did consider it but decided against it because he won't even drink milk that is older than 1 month so I was 90% sure that he won't drink formula (and we would have wasted a whole can).

When we were in Sydney, I pumped religiously every 4 hours except at night, where I pumped every 6-8 hours as I was too tired to get up to pump. Our apartment freezer started piling up with packets and packets of milk!

The hubby advised me to transport all 30 something packets of milk back in a thick Styrofoam ice box. He was 99% sure they will survive the 8-hour flight plus 2 hours before and after the flight (total 12-13 hours) but I remained skeptical. "Are you sure we don't need to pack it with dry ice?" I questioned. "No need lah.. this is good enough, trust me."

What's a marriage without trust right?

Big styrofoam ice box to transport my milk with a few ice packs

I tried very hard to squeeze all my packets of milk inside the box but didn't manage to! We had to bring a few packets with me in my carry on luggage and as usual I had to convince the customs people to let me bring it on board because they were breast milk. Thankfully I had my girl with me and she looked like she was still drinking breast milk so they allowed me to bring my milk with me on the plane, thinking that the milk was for her (they did force me to throw out a couple of ice packs though). *whew*

When we arrived in Singapore, well, what do you know? Every single packet of milk was still fully frozen like it was kept in a freezer! I was really impressed!

Expressing mums who want to travel without your baby, you know what to do =)

And my mum-in-law informed me that the packets of milk that I had diligently stored was more than enough for my baby (there were two packets left!). I was ecstatic! =)

Unfortunately it was not all happiness and beautiful rainbows. Having drunk from a bottle for almost 8 days, Baby Boy simply refused to latch no matter how hard I tried to!

Drinking my expressed milk from his Pigeon bottle

We struggled. There were screams, there were kicks, there was rocking and shaking up and down, all in a bid to get him to suck! And finally he did, albeit very reluctantly =(

I was so insistent on latching that I forgot to pump and ended up with very bad engorgement / mastitis / fever! I had such a bad fever one night that I stumbled out of the bedroom to my mum-in-law's room, almost unable to walk because I was so sick *sob*

Thankfully I got better and continued to pump and/or forced encouraged him to latch. Call me a Breastfeeding Nazi or whatever but I really prefer to latch my baby rather than pump! Day by day, things got a little better for us. Sometimes he's feeling cranky and will refuse to latch no matter how much I try (had no choice but to pump and bottle-feed) but at other times he'll latch with no problems (my boy is seriously unpredictable *hmph*).

Breastfeeding struggles do not end after the first month apparently. Let's hope weaning will go a bit more smoothly.

Continue to >> My Breastfeeding Diary: 6 Months
<< Back to My Breastfeeding Diary: 4 Months

This post is part of my series on My Breastfeeding Journey.
Follow me as I battle the perils of milk production and boob-related pain all over again.

My Breastfeeding Diary
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