Why I breastfed for Six Months and Stopped
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!
Wah! Cant believe you tried all the pumps! Haha. I'm so tempted to sell my single and upgrade to double but so far pumping is relatively fast for me lah so ok. And you are right about the goldfish bite! Hahahaha. What a description!
And latching is not so bad lah 😛
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That reminds me of my own bf experience.. goldfish bite! haha.. i also had that fear though i managed to overcome with the help of lactation consultant.. You're lucky to have so much milk even without latching. I had to latch "full-time" for 2 months before my milk supply was established. I'm still bf-ing my 2nd baby.. exclusive pumping, 9 months now and still counting..
your kids are lucky that WHO recommended 6 months.. Otherwise they won't have any LIQUID GOLD at all.
First 6 months worth of pure organic colostrum, DHA, prebiotics. Before you decided you needed your life back.
Speaking from a FTWM who's still pumping at work as I'm typing – 22 months down the road.
Lol@ those nipples gotta be bitten at least once! The things we do for motherhood…
When I first started breastfeeding, I would tense up too. I can't believe the pain! And what a great neighbour you have for giving you her fridge space!
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Agree with "Those nipples gotta be bitten at least once"!
I think every mother should at least try to breastfeed. After all, formula tries so hard to emulate breastmilk yet fails. It's life's perfect food for babies.
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I breastfed 2 of my 3 kids, but only because it ended up being the cheaper, easier choice for my family. Seeing both sides of the situation, though, my view is that as long as your kid is fed however you can and loved. That's really all that matters.
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I breastfed both of my girls but don't judge those that don't or can't. It's a personal decision and doesn't work for everyone.
I tensed up at the thought of a latch too. After visiting the Lactation Consultant that changed. I did pump too and had a storage similar to yours.
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I wish I could have pumped and maintained. It would honestly make life a little bit simplier and maybe would make the weaning process at 21 months a little easier.
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I breastfed both kids, but really preferred the pump too. However, I couldn't produce enough so I had to supplement 1-2 feedings a day with formula. It all worked out in the end and both are healthy babies. 🙂
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I couldn't pump a drop so I gave up on the idea of pumping early on. I was fortunate enough to have zero difficulties (a rarity, I guess) with nursing so I nursed until they self-weaned, so that was a combined 5 1/2 years for my two youngest. I didn't know how to wean!!!
I was never able to pump at all, I hated it! It is great you were able to breast feed so long
I didn't nurse my kids. I had hoped to but it didn't really work out the way I had planned.
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I had a goal to make it 6 months also. I was able to, I actually made it 8 months full time without having to use formula – but I did pump quite a bit to bottle feed her. We finished breast feeding completely at 15 months but at that point she was only getting it first thing in the morning.
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I ~tried~ breastfeeding in the past, but unfortunately it wasn't for me. 🙁
Hello there.. I have been feel so guilty about not latching my 4 months old on ever since birth. And now that maternity leave is over and that I’m back to work I can understand how hard it is to express at work and this again made me oh so guilty. I’m just glad to have chanced upon your post and feel encouraged knowing that I’m not alone even though your post is almost a year ago. But still very very relevant! 🙂