August- Breastfeeding Month

August 2013

Hello hello! It is August, the breastfeeding month! So I thought maybe I should blog some stuff about breastfeeding. They are in no order of importance- just blogging whatever about breastfeeding that pops up in my head!

Breastfeeding is not easy but fulfilling.
I am no milk maven. When I first started breastfeeding, I was caught by surprise. It was not as easy as how I imagined it to be. In my naive mind, all the images that I conjured then were of mothers looking really happy and relaxed, breastfeeding their lovely babies.  I did not know that I had to sacrifice so much of my sleep time to get the babies to latch on so that I could establish a certain form of milk supply. Over time, breastfeeding did get easier. By the time I got better at nursing, breastfeeding became a bonding time for me and my babies. And it is a truly enjoyable and fulfilling experience- carrying the baby close to my heart, having his/her eyes just focused on me. In fact, when I was quite sad when I finally stopped nursing Ryan. Now, I will just treasure every breastfeeding session with Baby Gillian.

Support from partner makes the journey much smoother.
E is a huge advocate for breastfeeding. Well, I think he is a big fan because it is really easy on the wallet. He insists otherwise- claiming that he believes in mother’s milk because it is the best for the child. In any case, it is advantageous having a partner who is enthusiastic about breastfeeding. Even when family members(and even myself included) were doubtful of my milk supply, he will confidently brush all these concerns aside. There were so many occasions of me faltering but E is my biggest cheerleader, telling me that my worries are unwarranted and the kids are doing perfectly well! Attending a breastfeeding workshop before the birth of Ryan helped us to some extent- E knew what to expect and how he could support me in breastfeeding. So, thank you lao gong, for always cheering me on!

Breast milk is the best but formula milk is not the devil.
There is just so much in the news on how breast milk is the best- it contains antibodies, how breastfeeding boost intellect and those along the lines. I am not a breastfed baby and I did not turn out to have 13 toes. Dr Henry Cheng, my gynecologist also said that he never had a drop of breast milk in his life and he turned out to be a doctor! So, no matter whether it is breast milk or formula milk, mother should do anything that makes us comfortable. In fact, during my confinement month, there were times when I just gave Baby Gillian one feed of formula milk so that I get to sleep through the night. I feel that if I get sufficient rest and feel good, I will be able to produce more breast milk.

Breast milk is free!
Ever since Ryan went on full formula milk diet in his 15th month(because I became pregnant with Baby Gillian), we were shocked by the monthly expenditure on formula milk. At this point in time, a 1.8kg tin of Stage 3 Engrow costs $70 odd at the supermarkets. This is pricey, isn’t it? There was a period of time when Ryan was guzzling the formula milk like nobody’s business. He could finish a 1.8kg tin of milk in 10 days. So, that is pretty much an arm and a leg(around $200 per month!) on just his formula milk every month! Thank God that he has since stopped his incessant need for milk and has progressed to solids. The formula milk for the younger babies- infants to 1 year is even more steep. So, I am intending to breastfeed Baby Gillian for as long as possible. At least for a year- the savings from not buying formula milk are certainly substantial enough for me to buy one more bag to add to my collection.

Getting a good breastfeeding pillow. It makes a difference.

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I cannot re-iterate how much I love my breastfeeding pillow! Especially for mummies who are suffering from back problems, a breastfeeding pillow is like a haven for our backs. I was so hesitant in getting one when I was nursing Ryan. Because of my reluctance, I ended up having really terrible backache and had to see a physiotherapist for weeks. This time round, I smartened up and got a breastfeeding pillow. I really cannot tell you how much I regret on not getting one earlier. While a good breastfeeding pillow is usually not cheap, it is definitely a worthwhile investment! Breastfeeding, like what I mention is not as easy. However, with the right help, it will make all the difference!

Joining a support group.
For this pregnancy with Baby Gillian, I joined a group of ladies whose babies were also due in April. In that forum/Facebook group, so many nuggets of precious information were being exchanged daily on breastfeeding, especially during the initial month when everyone started popping. There were advice on how to increase milk supply, what to do and who to consult about blocked milk ducts, how long can expressed breast milk be stored and so on. Thanks to all these positive and encouraging mummies in the group, it made my breastfeeding journey much more delightful.

Shopping for nursing clothes!

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Wearing suitable nursing clothes when you are out with your baby is awesome! It just makes everything so much more convenient for a baby who latches on. These days, the nursing clothes are just as fashionable as our normal stuff from Mango, Zara and Forever 21. They are trendy and they come with nursing access. This way, nursing mummies can also look chic! No more frumpy mummy!

Breastfeeding helps to lose weight. 
I think it does help to lose weight. After my first childbirth, I went back to almost my pre-pregnancy weight after 6 months. It is much harder this time round. But, I still think it helps to some extent because I am still snacking like usual. I am back to my one box of Pocky a day and one slice of chocolate cake every other day. I know. I know. But I love my chocolate cakes and Pocky so much! Currently, my weight is still stagnant at 53.5kg. At least it is not going up, considering the amount of junk food I consume. In this light, I think breastfeeding does help in burning those extra calories!

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So far, I have not encountered much difficulties about breastfeeding except for supply establishment in the beginning. Sometimes, the older folks will be worried if my babies are getting enough nutrition. I do understand that they are concerned for their grandchildren, so I will let them feed my babies formula milk after nursing them. If the babies reject the formula milk, it is an indication that the babies are full. The grandparents will get the signal after pouring away bottles of  wasted formula milk down the sink a few times.

I feel that Singapore is becoming quite a breastfeeding friendly place. Most malls are equipped with nursing rooms even though we could do with more rooms. However, I hope that workplaces can be more supportive of breastfeeding mothers. I heard from some mothers who have to pump milk in toilet cubicles as there are no breastfeeding room in their offices. E’s workplace has an impressive breastfeeding room. The nursing room is huge and there are several cubicles, each having a Medela machine installed. So mothers just need to bring their personal accessories and bottles! How awesome is that! Employees really appreciate such consideration from their workplaces!

Singaporeans are also quite cool with nursing mothers. Most of the time when we are out, I will just nurse Baby Gillian under a nursing apron. So far, no one have given me a dirty look. Basically, I have not experienced any weird looks or stares. In fact, people just go about doing their stuff.

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(Here’s me, nursing Baby Gillian after lunch at Din Tai Fung. No weird looks. Everyone was more into their xiao long baos!)

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August is breastfeeding month. During this month, there are several activities and workshops on breastfeeding being held. These events enlighten the public(that breastfeeding in public is not pornography!) and also create awareness for breastfeeding. If all goes well, I think I will be attending one as well. If you have a friend, a sister, a wife who is breastfeeding or intending to breastfeed, do be a pillar of support for them and also encourage them when they are worried or depressed about the milk supply.

So, to all breastfeeding mummies, HAPPY BREASTFEEDING MONTH!
ILU!

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Breastfeeding products for this post are kindly sponsored by Spring Maternity.

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