Advocate successful breastfeeding without scaring first time moms

Throughout my breastfeeding (BF) journey with my kids, never have I encountered the scariest people who call themselves breastfeeding advocates. They are the badass breastfeeding moms (BaBFM). 

I thought joining a facebook group for BF moms would deepen my knowledge further as I was exclusively feeding my baby with breastmilk. While I am not denying that there are some instances where I learned something new, there are also moments where I was inflamed with anger. 

Quite a number of them kept on and on and on with “feed the baby not the freezer”. Yea yea, I know! Tsk! You want to advocate and be the voice for some cause, you need to be looking in many perspectives. Just by using your own practices to give advice, especially for first time moms (FTM), will not really help them. If you are really equipped with all the knowledge in this world, surely you’ll understand the challenges that FTM are facing. I’ll write a scenario that got me on fire!

FTM: Hi all, my baby is 3 days old and I noticed that no milk is building up. I tried pumping and I only get a few drops. My baby is crying all the time. I’m so helpless. 

BaBFM: No no no! You must not pump. Just keep latching the baby to your breasts! Latch latch latch! 

FTM: But I don’t know how to latch my baby properly and he won’t suck. I have to pump. Is there a way to increase my milk?

BaBF:M Why are you pumping? You shouldn’t be doing that. Go and get a lactation consultant! Babies are the best at stimulating and building up your milk. Watch your baby for feeding cues and not to pump. Establish feeding with your baby. 

FTM: ok โ˜น๏ธ

See? This is not the way to educate new moms on how to breastfeed successfully. Guide them nicely and show them support instead of telling them what they’ve been doing wrongly. What I’ve found out is that, these BaBFMs are stay at home moms who can afford the time to only latch and not pumping. These moms will NEVER understand the pains and struggles of working moms who have to lug around big bags with breastpumps, whose sole intention is to feed their babies with breastmilk. 

And don’t get me started with the Just Enough Moms (JEMs). Yes, this is another lot who are equally annoying. 


Yes, I am one of those moms who “feed the freezer”. Because these frozen milk are my hardwork of maintaining supply for my baby to feed on. I do not want to end up with a shortage of supply. 

At the end of the day, baby is still fed no matter what the method is. So to all FTMs I know, do not let these monsters pull you down. Do what you know is best for yourself and baby. 

And go watch CloudMom on youtube. She is such an inspiration to me. 

Keeping up with the Milk Factory

And for about a month now, I have been taking a few kinds of boosters other than those I’ve tried, just to see if they worked for me. 
I took Taro Milk Tea (a large one, no less) once during lunch time at work and I got engorged a couple of minutes later! This one was unknown to me. I was at ShareTea counter and looking through the drinks, when I finally decided to have Taro Milk Tea because I love yams. I never thought of it to have boosting abilities. And it did! ๐Ÿ˜„

Another surprising-never-happened-before booster was chicken pie. A student’s parent bought 2 pieces for me and I decided to eat them at home. This one took a little longer than Taro Milk Tea to work; half an hour or so and then engorgement came. Hahah! But I wasn’t really a fan of chicken pies so that was the only time I had them. 

And quite recently, a friend of mine suggested that I drink the new Milo NutriG because it contained whole grain, barley, oats, wheat, brown rice… So yesterday, I got myself a bottle. 


Yes! I kid you not! The effect on me was amazing. I couldn’t pump after getting the engorgement because I got no time at work. Once I got home, I had to get them out cos I was already getting so hard. Almost a 10oz of yield, it was crazy! 

Now, knowing that my body seems to get immuned to something so quickly, I do not eat/drink any known boosters long term. I would usually take them once or twice and then not consuming them for several weeks before trying them again. Cos you see, once the body is so used to it, it won’t produce more milk. Instead it maintains the production. That’s me and my body. So that’s why this time around, I’d take boosters once in a blue moon. Like giving my body a surprise ๐Ÿ˜. 

tandem to tend them

At this very moment, I am very annoyed with my body. I have been hit with mastitis, yet again! For the third time already, come on. I don’t know where I’ve gone wrong. I’m still pumping especially when I feel extra heavy after feeding. I even hand-express! 

So last Saturday, I started to get the chills and low grade fever, without any engorgement. I practically curled myself to sleep. I thought all these could be because Shazain’s nursing strike. He was latching for only a mere second on both sides. Plus crying from the top of his lungs (No, he’s not colicky and none of my kids were colicky). 

Last night was the worst! I ached all over my body and feeding him was the most painful thing ever. So what I did was, after he has fed on the sick boob, I massaged the lump and then pumped it out. 

And because I’ve suffered thrice…

…I know how terribly low my supply can get. Thus, I have to do tandem pumping at each feed. And probably swallow a truck load of galagtagogues.

No Bake Baker

I am not a baker and I don’t even have an oven. But I have all the ingredients I need to make lactation cookies or brownies. So I decided to make some that do not require any baking. And this are really easy, money saving and milk boosting delicacies! 

I have been buying Mom’s More Milk lactation brownies and they’re so yummy! But I also wanna make my own. So here goes…  

No Bake Lactation Balls

– 1 cup of oats (rolled or instant)*

– 1/2 cup ground flaxseed*

– 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder*

– 1/2 cup peanut butter

– 1/2 cup butter (I’ll explain why I used butter and sugar)

– 2 tsp sugar 

– 1 tsp vanilla essence

*optional: crushed almonds, chia seeds

Method

1) Put in all the dry ingredients(*) in a bowl and stir to mix them well. 

2) Melt the butter and add in sugar when the butter is 3/4 melted. Stir well and remove from heat. 

3) Add the peanut butter into the bowl of dry ingredients, pour in the melted butter and vanilla.

4) Mix everything well and roll them into balls. Arrange them neatly on a big plate or a tray and let them cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour. The longer you keep, the firmer they get ๐Ÿ˜‰.

Ok! Now the part where I need to explain about the butter sugar thing. I am not a sweet tooth person so I used dark cocoa. You may wanna get sweetened cocoa powder. And the butter is to actually replace honey (too sweet for me), that really can stick them balls together! But since I don’t use honey, I melt some butter. This works, too. The sugar? Well, just to give it a nice taste. HAHAH! If you wanna use honey, you can opt butter sugar out and just use 1/2 cup of honey. Oh yea, the peanut butter is also for making the ingredients sticking together and making the balls thicker. 

If you wanna get more supply, you can also add a teaspoon of ground fenugreek. I don’t put it in because I’m done with smelling like maple syrup. Not that I hate it. The smell makes me crave for pancakes!!!

Alrightey then, I gotta feed my chunky boy. Happy (non)baking!

Public Service

It has been 3 months already. 3 MONTHS!!! Time flies with the speed of lightning when you’re not working. And my little rainbow baby has grown chunky!  

I miss his newborn look. Wish he could stay that way. Hahah! But he is still cute, don’t care what you say. ๐Ÿ˜

Nursing him is a breeze, except for those mastitis episodes. Did I tell you I got a recurrence? It sucks. I had to powerpump all the time to bring the supply back up. But I’m glad that I got to experience all these nasty things (mastitis and hyperemesis). So when someone is in need of an advice, I’m right here! 

Oh anyway, I wanna talk about nursing. In public. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why certain community in some parts of the world find nursing in public (NIP) disgusting. They have gone waaaaay too far with sexualizing these assets. Puh-lease!!! They have 2 purposes; other than making men happy, they FEED babies. And to me, filling up babies’ tummy with so many nutrients and antibodies, is a priority. 

In Singapore, it is HIGHLY encouraged to breastfeed baby (if the mommy is able to). From my experience, I have never gotten any angry looks and stares, or a talk-down aunty asking me to go to the toilet to feed. Yes, I have had onlookers but from their looks, I like to think that they’re proud of me or that they wish they could also nurse ๐Ÿ˜‹. But seriously, all good experience.   I met my girlfriends a couple of weeks ago and we had dinner at an Italian cafe, La Pastificio. This cafe, as what it says on that sign, welcomes breastfeeding moms who need to nurse. I didn’t notice that sign until I was done feeding Shazain. We need more public places like this.

And today…

…nursing in the bus after his immunisation and developmental check up. See how cool, calm and collected he is. Without a care in the world, eating to his heart’s content. No one bat an eyelid and no one was even bothered to see. Why? This is so natural. That’s what mothers do for babies. 

But, of course, moms also gotta play a part by covering up a bit and not showing your boobs. Why? To me, it’s about modesty. Boobs are very private things and I don’t wish others to catch a glimpse of them. There is nothing wrong with NIP but I also believe in not irking the society. There are lots of breathable nursing covers. If baby is not comfortable in it, than moms have to find other ways like pull down your dress a bit just to cover up that part.  

For me, I don’t do nursing covers. I use my babysling to cover up a bit as well as my hijab. I wear them wide enough to be able to hide my twins from public eye. 

I nurse in public with my modesty protected. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Of brownies and puffy cheeks

February 21, 2016 2 comments

Can you tell that he’s been fed well?

Hahah! Look at those cheeks. They sure have become puffier. Wonder if he will beat his second sister to take over her reign as Bambam – a nickname for chubby. Lol! Andย I think I owe it to this.

Not that my supply is dipping low. So far it has been producing at a fairly good amount. But I thought I’d just give it a try, furthermore, brownies are my favourite heaven on earth. The brownies are so decadent; very rich and thick (you can get them here.) They have strong, nice smell of fenugreek and alfalfa but the good thing is they do not cause any body odour to develop. Unlike taking fenugreek in capsules. I remember taking them 3 years ago and ended up smelling like maple syrup. LOL!

Last night, the little guy woke up only twice to feed and that was it. I tried to feed him again but he was too comfy in his swaddle that made it hard for him to open his mouth. Worrying that I might end up with engorgement (and mastitis), I had to pump it out and managed to yield 190 ml in 10 minutes. Loving this!

Ever since I’ve taken the lactation brownies, I’ve been getting this much of supply and sometimes a bit more. On my lefty, that is the amount I can get through just the massage mode on my pump. Cannot imagine if I turn it to expression mode. And on my righty, the supply dipped tremendously since I recovered from mastitis. On good days, I may get about 40-50 ml (which happens only once or twice). If not, I will only get 20 ml. I feel really sad that mastitis has caused the reduction of my supply and size. And I look very lopsided now hahah! Trying my best to latch Shazain and even power pumping more on my righty but there is little to no improvements.

I guess I gotta rely on my left side for more liquid gold. I’m just crazy about keeping my milk stash up as much as I can and then maintaining it. I will definitely get more of the brownies and maybe try their other lactation product – cookies!

Stock Taking

February 14, 2016 Leave a comment

I am taking full advantage of this 16 weeks of maternity leave (not a very impressive number but good enough) to stock up my milk supply. Looking at my frozen stash in our newly bought chest freezer, I feel so delighted. I never know that I can achieve this and if I keep on my hard work, I can get the whole freezer fully loaded. How?

IMG_0967

This is a month’s worth of pumping. Like I’ve mentioned inย The Milk Maid: Episode 3, I usually pump while nursing Shazain, and sometimes after nursing. I can get about 80 ml each time, or sometimes lesser. Much, much lesser. There are also times when I do not get any drop of milk but that is because I have already nursed him and emptied my load. However the pumping will help to tell my body to keep producing.

Sometimes, seeing no milk while pumping can cause unnecessary stress on moms. I, too, get a little stress but I keep telling myself that baby has had his right amount of feed.ย Therefore, it is important to educate ourselves on how our body works in milk production.:)

There are a few moms whom I’ve helped in sharing tips from boosting their supply to pumping their milk and storing it. Those are NOT my own tips because I am still learning. If y’all know me at all, my guru in breastfeeding journey is Cloud Mom. Until now, I am still watching her breastfeeding videos on YouTube. You can click on that link to watch and learn from her. The stash I got up there is all from learning her ways of pumping and storage. Here is a video that I swear by. Go watch it.

But don’t forget. Drink lots of water. Lots of it!!!

 

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