It’s been 1 year now since I exclusively breastfeed Martina and yes, I consider myself successful (proud me!). Honestly, I don’t think I would last my breastfeeding journey this long because of my experience before with my firstborn Louise. That time, I had no choice but to mix breastfeeding and formula milk because of the mistakes I made.
I know that compared with other breastfeeding moms, I still have lots of things to learn. But right now, I’m one proud mother who has already learned quite few things, enough for me to have something to say to other moms. As per Martina, I’m doing the perfect job for her (chuckle).
“HELP! I have LOW milk supply!” – this is the most common concern every mother who just gave birth will encounter at least once in their life. This is also the reason why some moms resort to formula milk. If you have this problem currently then you’re on the right page.
Low milk supply is one of my biggest problems after giving birth, TWICE. If you’re worried that you can only get 1 oz per breast during a pumping session, you should feel lucky because in my case, 1 oz is already from both of my breasts! But here are the only things I did that right now, I’m still able to breastfeed exclusively my 15-month old daughter:
1. AIM for PERFECT LATCH-On
I hear new moms saying breastfeeding is painful, etc. I’ve been there during my first baby, 2 days after delivery I already asked my OB for an ointment for my sore nipples. All along I thought I was nursing Louise perfectly but I was wrong. Remember Mommies, if the latch-on is wrong, you’ll end up with sore irritating nipples and ineffective milk transfer resulting to hungry, fussy or worst, a dehydrated baby.
As long as the latch-on is perfect, you’ll feel no pain. I let Martina latch similar to the image shown below and I can say it’s effective! I can’t remember encountering sore nipples with her even though I’ve been nursing her for quite long.
2. Breastfeed on Demand
In the hospital, you’ll hear doctors and nurses telling you to breastfeed newborn baby every two hours, that breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. Trust me mommies, babies demand feedings more frequent than you can imagine. I ditched scheduling, to be honest. I relied everything on my baby’s hunger cues like smacking on lips and hands. I nursed even if it was just 30 minutes that have passed since the last feeding and even if that last feeding already lasted for 45 minutes or so.
3. Start Pumping Early
Some might not agree on this but for moms who really need to increase their milk supply, pumping early can help. Direct latching yields more milk than even the most expensive breast pump in the world. But sometimes, babies are too sleepy to nurse especially during the first few weeks of life. If the demand is low, this will also result to low supply of milk. I was worried before of my sleepy Martina so I decided to start pumping early while nursing, that was 5 days after my delivery. Yes, it’s doable. I pumped from one of my breasts while my baby’s latching on the other. It was tiring but I have to. And if you have no plans of going back to work anytime soon, there’s really no need to buy expensive breast pumps. An affordable yet high-quality one would do.
4. Use Bottles Only When Needed Badly
Martina had jaundice when she was 2 days old and it lasted for almost a month. Her doctor recommended early morning sunlight exposure and frequent feeding. Jaundice made Martina unusually sleepy so I had no choice but to give her 2 oz of formula milk and 4 oz of my expressed milk each day through bottles just to support her body flush out bilirubin. When she wasn’t looking yellow anymore, I stopped giving formula milk but still used bottles for my expressed milk. By the time she turned 2 months, suddenly she didn’t know how to use bottles! She was just licking the nipples, no feeding happened.
I tried several brands of nipples but no luck, I just accepted the fact that she developed what we call “bottle aversion”. Just imagine if it was the other way around. If Martina preferred bottles over my nipples, I don’t think I would even last 6 months in this journey. So if I were you, if breastfeeding exclusively is your goal then forget introducing bottles.
5. Hydrate, Eat Healthy and Take Galactagogues
Galactagogue is a substance that increases a mother’s milk. Here in the Philippines, Malunggay, also known as moringa, is the easily available galactagogue. So aside from eating healthy and staying hydrated, it is best to always have malunggay soup on your table everyday. In my case, preparing this soup on a daily basis is not possible that’s why I started taking malunggay capsules even at present.
There you have it mommies. You only need to do five, or only four if you’re one of the moms who don’t need to pump. Also, don’t forget to RELAX. Breastfeeding moms or not, we all need to rest.
I’m not saying breastfeeding journey is easy because believe me, I’ve been through a lot before reaching this stage. But trust me, the result is priceless which would be my next topic on my breastfeeding journey. Stay tuned!
Let’s stay connected, please follow Iway Diaries on: