When I was pregnant with Nicole, I had many (Read: MANY) friends who gave me many (Read: MANY again) advices on breastfeeding. They were those who were hell bent on converting me to fully breastfeed. And they were those who listed out the pros and cons and let me decide. And in the end, I made a decision… I will listen to the official voice of World Health Organisation (WHO):
…exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants
So that’s how that magic 6 MONTHS figure got stucked in my mind. I told myself, that’s the least I have to do for my kids (if possible!)
Here’s my stats: Nicole – 6 months of breast milk, Nathan – 7 months of breast milk, Nadine – 9 months of breast milk. Yeah!!!
But I was a unconventional breastfeeder. I didn’t believe in latching. With Nicole, I latched for 1 month. Each time before I latched, my body would tense up. As I see that goldfish mouth coming closer and closer to the nipple, I’ve to shut my eyes in anticipation for the ‘OUCH’. I was probably doing it wrong, but it was really something I don’t look forward to.
An angel introduced me to the Avent Manual pump on Day 2. I started expressing for the night feeds. It was a breeze!! I know how much Nicole was drinking AND I could sleep while the husband or the confinement lady or the grandma fed her. Thus it wasn’t difficult to make the decision to convert to full express.
For Nathan, it was easy. At week 2, I started expressing. By the time it was Nadine, she never seen a nipple! I just moved on from an Avent Manual Pump to Ameda and to Medela Dual Pump to the final best (in our generation) the Medela Pump In Style. I was full-time cow.
So why didn’t I continue till that wonderful 1 year old mark?
One word: Ill Disciplined. I went back to work. I couldn’t bring myself to stop my work every three hours to express. I mean, I was allowed to, but it was so challenging. So the schedule became once every 6 hours. Eventually, it became once a day at work. And then it became once the entire day. And then the supply stopped.
At the back of my mind, I felt I already achieved WHO’s stamp of approval… it’s time to stop.
You may ask, what kept me going for 6 months then? Why didn’t I just ignore WHO and go with formula? You see, there’s this factor that’s very real in our lives: C.O.S.T. We were very mindful how much formula milk costs, and that was a huge deterrent! So enters my ever enthusiastic husband who cheers me on when I want to give up. He came up with one line that he would repeat whenever I feel like giving up, whenever I wanted to stop being a cow.. , “Baby don’t stop, think of the savings!”
I thank God I had a good supply. Look at what we accumulated in the FREEZER one month after Nadine was born. (don’t forget there’s still more in the fridge!) In fact, in my 2nd month, I used my neighbour’s freezer (she had an extra) for more storage!
My last words for new mummies? Do try breastfeeding. But if you can’t, it’s ok. It really doesn’t make you lesser of a mummy. Forget about WHO and their suggestion, ignore those who go on and on about the virtues of breastfeeding, shut out those who swear by their weight loss cos of breastfeeding. The savings is a factor only if you have established a good supply. There are seriously more important things to settle about you and your little one than persisting and getting depressed over bad supply or painful nipples.
Erm… but don’t give up without trying. It’s a rite of passage. Those nipples gotta be bitten at least once!
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Tomorrow Waiwai will be sharing her 7 months breastfeeding experience. Hop over to find out more!
Waiwai blogs at PeiPei.HaoHao. A mother of two children whose age gap is 14 months, her two breastfeeding journeys are very different. Read about her breastfeeding story tomorrow at http://www.peipeihaohao.com!
This post is part of a Blog Train hosted by Madeline at MadPsychMum. Head on over to read the other breastfeeding stories by Singapore Mom Bloggers!