OK, before I begin with my blog post, I'd like to give thanks to God Almighty as I'm one of the lucky mums around to have no problems on pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, baby care and so on.
Sometimes when everyone was asleep, I lie awake thinking how lucky I was:
- to have a supportive and understanding hubby who goes thru' all the stages of my pregnancy, accompanies me in attending the antenatal classes, gynae check-ups, delivery, baby care etc with me all the way
- not to experience any morning sickness (no vomit, no dizziness, no weird appetites for weird stuff unless you call eating double McD McChicken value meal sets as weird food appetites... :P)
- not to have gone through induced labour (which I was supposed to on my final gynae checkup when the gynae said I had low amniotic fluid and recommended it or go for C-sect in 1 weeks time)
- to be able to experience the labor pains (hubby would not believe I was such a strong woman and respected the fact I had gone thru' the childbirth without pain medications etc)
- to deliver Ben in 4.5 hours time (1cm to 10cm in 4.5hours time) and it takes only 3 pushes (1 not counted in cos wasted when I screamed away my breath and energy :P) to deliver Ben out naturally!
- not to experience any problems when breastfeeding Ben (he latched on successfully in the 1st attempt) and made no fuss at all
- not to experience any episodes of colic (which was one of the top fears for new parents)
- not to experience any nappy rash problems (we took great care from day 1 so no chance for any rash to appear!)
- that Ben is not sensitive at all towards any brands of diapers (I have friends who changed few brands in order to find the suitable ones for their baby due to the sensitive skin or nappy rash that their babies had)
- not having to worry about baby care when I go to work since I already quit my job
- that Ben takes his solid well! No episodes of vomiting or diarrhea at all!
I know there are many more things to be thankful of but this are the ones that comes right off my mind at the moment. I mean, simple things that we take for granted such as being blessed with a perfect and healthy baby... that calls for a lot of thanks to give for!
So back to my blog topic how do I make my breastfeeding works (FYI, I am at my 7.5mths of exclusive breastfeeding now and started solids twice a day for Ben since early Sept):
#1 - Start with the thought of breastfeeding from day 1
You know, it's the same as having your goals and ambitions. You dream and fix your aim towards it from day 1. Then you only have 1 goal to achieve for and focus all your concentration to it. If you are yoyo-ing from bottle to breast to bottle to breast, then when the baby comes, you'd be lost and ppl around you could easily influence your decision making.
Real Life Example: From day 1, hubby and I decided we must go for breastfeeding. Nothing and no one (except God of course!) can come between our decisions. Unless I really cannot produce even a single drop of milk, then I can't say anything about it. But as long as I can produce even a droplet of milk, we will stand still and be firm on this decision and try, try, try! We even go to the extend by not buying any formula milk, no pacifier, no milk bottles, nothing. The 3 bottles we have later on are baby gift hampers we received from Ben's full moon party.When MIL mentioned Ben seems hungry, we said no. We'll make the breastfeeding works.
#2 - Remember the 3 Rs!
This come out of the blue, but I decided to call it the 3 Rs! (I wonder whether I can copyright this just in case this appears at other ppl's blog one fine day hahahah!)
So the 3 Rs are: Research, Read up and Rehearse!
Research all you can find about breastfeeding (why do it, benefits, myths, techniques, how to avoid any problems, what to do if there's any problems etc)
Read up all you can, be it from books, hospital/clinic leaflets on breastfeeding etc. The reason why I don't lump this into Research is because you can research all you want but if you don't read it, then no use right? And thank God I love to read!!!
Rehearse - go for antenatal class where they actually teach you how to breastfeed and different methods to do it. If you don't attend the classes (please please do!), then look it up in the Net, Youtube or anything that shows you pictures or videos on how to breastfeed correctly.
# 3 - Choose your birth hospital correctly!
Now, you may wonder what the heck the place I'm going to give birth at gotta do with breastfeeding? Well, it has everything to do with breastfeeding! You can research, read, rehearse all you want but if you deliver at a place where they immediately introduce your baby to bottle-feeding then no use right?
Sadly, most of the private hospitals and some government hospitals are all for bottle-feeding. I'm thankful one of our close friends were 2 months pregnant ahead of me, so we pestered her to let us know her feedback and she recommended Putrajaya hospital to us when she delivered a day before Christmas last year (I was 7 mths pregnant then and switched my gyane from SJMC to Putrajaya hospital).
Now, what is great about Putrajaya hospital is that they are a semi-private hospital. Service, staff, environment, equipment are excellent (partly cos they are located near the gov HQ). I registered at the hospital during my 7th month pregnancy and signed up under the Full Paying Patient (FPP) scheme - meaning, we still have to pay instead of getting FOC treatment but it is still way cheaper than private hospital.
Don't believe? My friend delivered via C-sect and it cost her RM2.8K. I delivered mine naturally and paid RM1.4K. And we're both under the FPP scheme. This hospital is pro-natural delivery and pro-breastfeeding. You see brochures and posters on breastfeeding everywhere.
In fact, the nurse actually pass your baby back to you right after they clean him up (and after I was ready) and stand next to you and check your techniques in breastfeeding. The nurse and doctor make sure you try to breastfeeding when you settled down back in your room after delivery by checking every few hours and they fill up your medical book after they are satisfied with your 'performance'.
So choosing the right birth hospital helps in making my breastfeeding works!
# 4 - Get encouragement and support from other ppl
OK, we don't have a confinement lady. We did our own DIY confinement. So, there may be things we did wrongly. So, what we did was asked around from other in-laws and friends who have kids already to check whether we are doing the right thing and compared our methods with theirs.
Hubby and I also get the postnatal home visits from Jenlia Maternal Services - which also conducts the antenatal classes we attended 2 mths before I delivered. They will come in 3 times (depends on your schedule and their availability) each visit lasting for 1 hour and they will check your baby and your progress and conditions. They will also observe and advice on your baby care methods, breastfeeding, and everything you wanted to find out on.
For us, we know we are doing the right thing, just that we need some other ppl to acknowledge and confirm our thoughts. And when you hear from the mouth of experts like them telling you that you are doing a great job and your baby is progressing very well, that sure does a lot of help with your motivation level! :D
# 5 - Quitting my job
One of the reason I quit my job is so that I am able to continue breastfeeding my baby since I am not able to extend my maternity leave. On the 1 month I'm serving my notice (and paid off the other 2 months), I had to force myself to express my breastmilk at office every 3 hours - reason why I said force is because, if I didn't do that, I could be sitting at my cubicle and doing work non-stop, not even going to toilet (until lunch time). And there are times when I only remembered I had to go express when I felt my breasts swollen hard and painful.
On my last week at the office, my supply dwindled down to 2 oz per day... from the beginnng when I returned back to work and start expressing at office I could express about 12 oz per day... down to 2 oz per day... the pressure and busy-ness of the work took its toll on me of course (I could even remember one time I didn't express from 12pm-8pm... total 8 hours...the reason? I was stuck in meetings after meetings and after office hour ended at 6pm, I was again stuck in conference call with vendors and bosses until 8pm) So the decision to quit my job really helps alot with making my breastfeeding works.
# 6 - Pray!
Pray for God's will on whatever you have put your mind to. If it is His will, He will settle the bill :) Meaning, if its meant for you to breastfeed, no matter how hard it is, must persevere.
The first few days when the breastmilk has not come in - those times are critical. It will make or break a new mummy. Old folks and ppl who do not know better will tell you that your baby needs to feed, he cries because he is hungry, you don't have enough breast milk so must give formula already... Pray for strength and patience and comfort in times of pain and stress like this. The breast milk will come! Babies do not need to feed for the first few days of their life! (This is because they still have storage in their bodies)
And when the breast milk comes, still there will be ppl telling you its not enough. Do not give up! The more you breastfeed, the more milk your body will produce. During the first 2 weeks after delivery, I will keep on breastfeeding Ben every 2 hours. Even the wee hours of the morning, I'd wake up and just latch him on. Suffer now, and reap the benefits later.
Of course, some of you may disagree with what I said above as different mums have different reasons on why their breastfeeding couldn't work and so on. Hence, like I mentioned earlier, this post is on how I make mine works. I do understand and feel that every mother would've wanted the best for their babies :D
For those of you who are in the midst of your pregnancy stage now, please, please, consider breastfeeding. Even if you can just breastfeed for the 2 months during maternity leave, it is better than none at all. At least give it a try rather than not doing anything at all.
The benefits of breastfeeding is so much more greater and advantageous both for you and your baby (not to mention your hubby's wallet too! :P Think of how much you saved by not needing to buy formula milk, bottles, steriliser, etc etc)
Happy breastfeeding! :D