I’m almost near my due date and trust me, my nesting instinct (the urge to clean and organize the house) is nowhere as of the moment. My mind is busy thinking of my situation once my second baby is finally here in my arms – will I be able to successfully breastfeed her? For some mothers, this might not be a big deal but for me, this is starting to stress me out already. I had a bad beginning when I breastfed Louise. Due to some problems, I ended up with mix breastfeeding and I don’t want the same problems to happen again this time, hopefully. I lasted only 4 months before, this time, I’m praying for at least 1 year as much as possible.
My experience is very common so I’m sharing in this post my mistakes and the things I’m doing right now or what I’m planning to do towards a successful EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding (crossing my fingers).
- Mistake no. 1 – Lack of information
During my first pregnancy, I was too confident that I would be able to breastfeed easily thinking that I don’t have inverted nipples (although I know there are successful breastfeeding mothers with inverted nipples) and that milk will come out naturally, just like my mother. Yes, I read articles but I did not focus on the possible issues that a new mother might encounter. I didn’t expect that for the first few days, it’s possible that no enough milk will come out from mother’s breasts. I kept track of my baby’s urine and poop but still ended up having her dehydrated. I listened to the nurses and consultants in the hospital regarding the perfect latch, feeding schedule, etc. but I should have insisted for second options, like to start pumping milk or give her formula milk temporarily after every sucking while waiting for my milk supply to come in. I know they won’t agree with me but if only I knew of these options, I should have fight for it as I’m the mother anyway and I was willing to breastfeed. With that, I wouldn’t end up feeling discouraged and relied much on the formula milk because of the trauma brought by dehydration issue.
What I’m doing right now:
I am continuously reading relevant articles focusing on the milk supply. I also attended early breastfeeding seminar at Chong Hua Hospital from where I realized that my breastfeeding position was wrong because of the pain I felt minutes after nursing. That must have been the cause why Louise wasn’t able to get enough milk from me even though she had a very good latch.
I know a support from other mothers is a great help so I recently joined a closed Facebook group of breastfeeding mommies here in Cebu called Latch Moms Cebu. Hopefully, I can join to their future seminars.
- Mistake no. 2 – Lack of Plan to Breastfeed
Confident as I was, I did not bother buying breastfeeding essentials. I was so dumb to think that my breasts are enough. As a result, I wasn’t able to buy the most cost-effective breast pump. My husband bought an expensive manual pump 3 days after I delivered our baby but I’m sure I could have bought a better brand myself if I did my researching and buying it early.
What I’m doing right now:
Currently, I am 36 weeks pregnant and I’m already imagining myself breastfeeding my baby. I think of my possible routine after delivery and refreshing my memory of how tiring it will be during the first few weeks. My breast pump is inside our hospital bag, ready to be used just in case my milk will not come out naturally during the first few days. I also bought a nursing bib so I can have the needed privacy when breastfeeding in public. All these for me to condition my mind and my body, to be strong in the midst of discouragement and stress that I might feel along the way.
Image Source: http://enabledkids.ca/
- Mistake no. 3 – Accepting Visitors Right After Delivery
It’s exciting to see relatives and friends who are as excited as the parents to meet the newly arrived baby. As first-time parents, Fred and I were of course, more than happy to see visitors. I did not listen to my body during my first two days as a mother. The moment I arrived in my room, Louise was room in minutes after. I forgot how sleepy and tired I was when I saw her. I just sit there and did nothing but to stare and to nurse her. Then hours later, friends started coming over. I haven’t slept for hours but there I was, smiling in front of them. I wasn’t able to sleep at night and yet, during the day, I still tried to look normal for the visitors. I was too confident that I can rest at home but no luck on this one. Even when there were no longer visitors, I still couldn’t afford to rest. As a result, I wasn’t able to sleep for 4 days. I ended up feeling stressful which had affected my milk supply.
Image Source: www.whattoexpect.com
What I’m planning to do:
This time around, we’ll be posting birth announcement by the time I had enough sleep. Only closest relatives and friends will be informed about my delivery and if they’re going to visit, it will be best to have them at home where everybody’s comfortable. I know having a newborn baby will leave every parent sleepless and tired but still, we need to try to rest once in a while so we can fully do our duties, right?
- Mistake no. 4 – Trying to be the Perfect Wife
Two weeks after I gave birth, my mother went home to our province. And there I was, scared and feeling left alone with all the new responsibilities. We had no nanny yet so I had to do all the washing and ironing of baby clothes, cleaning the house and more. Of course, my hubby and mother-in-law were there but they were working and I had that feeling that I should be the one doing those chores. So in the end, when my baby was sleeping, I refused to rest and worked around the house instead. The result? Stress, stress, stress, lots of it!
Image Source: www.motherright.net
What I’m planning to do:
I’ll take care of myself even more and I’ll ignore major household chores for the first few weeks (4-6 weeks ideally). That’s it! I’ll just focus on our new baby and her needs, my 3-year old Louise and myself. Sorry hubby, you deal with cleaning the house and all. By the way, I still need a massage every night, haha! I might sound a spoiled wife here but hell no! After 9 months of pregnancy struggles, pain during labor and childbirth and oh include that ongoing sleepless nights, all new mothers deserve to be pampered anyway!
- Mistake no. 5 – Getting Frustrated Easily
One of the comments I received was that I have small breasts so it’s expected that I wouldn’t be able to produce sufficient milk supply. And silly me, I believed that comment and I got frustrated. This was one of the top reasons why I chose to continue offering Louise formula milk.
What I’m planning to do:
Ignore negative comments, I know this is easier said than done but this time, I’ll just stick to the important things I learned in increasing my milk supply (see list below). The size of my breasts has nothing to do with my capability to breastfeed and I am more determined now to succeed.
- Practice perfect positioning and latching, remember that there shouldn’t be pain when these are done perfectly.
- Feed on demand, ideally 8-12 times per day.
- If there’s a need to supplement formula milk (due to infection or dehydration), then do so for a few days but still continue the direct sucking. Ask your doctor about the brand of milk that is not very sweet. I used NAN milk before and Louise had no problem taking both formula and my milk because of their similar taste. And then once baby is already feeling OK, gradually stop giving formula milk and focus on nursing.
- If there’s a need to pump your milk early, don’t be hesitant. Do anything for you to convince yourself that you are indeed producing milk.
- In breastfeeding, there are lots of do’s and don’ts but don’t forget that you’re the mother, you’re still the boss. In my case, I know some consultants and experts will not agree with me on the no. 3 and 4 above but I don’t want to end up dehydrating my baby again.
- Eat healthy, drink lots of water, try to get some sleep and practice power nap!
Me and baby Louise