I have 4 nieces and 1 nephew that I got the chance to take care of or look after. I can say, I pretty know almost everything about the basics, how to carry a baby, feed the baby with bottles, change diapers, how to put a baby to sleep and so on. I took note of those learnings and told my self that I will do the same to my own child. One of which is that I want Avent feeding bottles and pacifiers for my future baby. As per experience, Avent bottles lessens the chances of colic because minimum to no air was present when the baby sucks its teats. As for the milk, I opt to give my future baby, Enfalac for newborn as well. My nieces were all smart and advanced in development compared to other babies with different formula milk. Until one day while I was still pregnant, while searching the web for cloth diapers, I stumbled upon an FB group named Breastfeeding Pinays. I was intrigue because it is very popular in the cloth diapering group that I joined, Cloth Diaper Addicts PH. I’ve learned many benefits of exclusively (meaning no water, no formula, no bottles pacifiers) breastfeeding not just for babies but also for the mommies. Below are what I learned:
- Healthier baby – breastmilk contains vitamins and nutriets that your baby needs. It contains antibodies that will help protect baby from illnesses. It also protects baby fro developing allergies.
- Smarter baby – Experts explains that the emotional bonding during breastfeeding sessions probably contributes to the brainpower benefits.
- Fitter baby – Breastfeeding protects the child from being overweight and obese when they grow older. Breastfed babies tend to have more control in feeding when they are already full. They will automatically refuse the breast once their tummy is full. Breastmilk also contains less sugar that the sugarry formula.
- Safer baby – Breastfeeding lowers the chances of risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- Reduces the stress level and risk of postpartum depression. Oxytocin aka the happy hormone was released during BF sessions. Making you more relaxed.
- Reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Helps you return in your pre-pregnancy body faster. The breastfeeding body burns 500 calories per day.
Knowing all these things helps me decide to ditch the formula milk. I was convinced that breastmilk is really best for babies up to two years and beyond. However, when I already gave birth and finally came the time to nurse my baby for the first time, stress hit me really hard. Below is my breastfeeding story.
I thought you will just offer the boob then the baby will suck to it easily. Dream on! That’s not going to happen for a newborn baby. They still don’t know how to suck. Stupid me! Of course! He’s been in my tummy for 37 weeks. How will he learn how to suck? He can’t practice while he’s inside, you fool! So what happened was, my baby cried and cried because he can’t find the nipple (I have small nips). Having a small mouth and feeding in these gigantic boobies really stressed out my baby and I too. I kept offering even though he cried for minutes then finally finds and sucks the nips. And it wasn’t that good to feel. It hurts! Why does nobody told me that it would be this hard to breastfeed. Why does it feels like he’s biting me even with just his gums? On the 3rd and 4th day, wow! It really do hurts! With cracks, wound and blood on my nips. Every BF session is like torturing my own body. While my baby is crying having trouble finding the nips, I was also crying due to severe pain. All I do is clenched my teeth and shut my eyes hard. I often read from Breastfeeding Pinays about others’ experiences and questions then checked out the comments for possible answer or solution. It was indeed helpful. I’ve learned that you can actually apply nipple cream on the affected area to heal the wounds and cracks. However, if it wasn’t available, you can just let it air dry after a BF session. They say, your own milk plus your baby’s saliva is the most effective cure to it. And that’s just what I did and it worked. After the bloody nips for about a week, another challenge occurred to me, the great ‘Let Down’. It is the overstreaming milk from your boobies. Ending with wet and sticky clothes. I ended up changing clothes 3x because of the over flowing milk. What I did was put “lampin” under my shirt to prevent the leaking but it didn’t help. I was still left with milk-soaked shirt on. From that moment, I thought of hand expressing my milk so that I won’t waste any liquid gold. Of course you’ll need storage bottles ang bags where you can peacefully store your milk. Don’t worry because you can store them in the freezer and won’t be spoiled for 3-6 months. So I bought storage bottles from Bebeta at Waltermart for P199.00 pack of 4 4oz bottles. Initially, I thought 4 was enough but I ended up buying another 4 because having a newborn, I can’t wash the bottles as much as I wanted to. At that moment, I thought I would be fine, but no! There is also a ‘let down’ from the other breast while JD was latching on the other which I can’t hand express during nursing because I only have two hands (one for holding the baby and the other for holding my boob for support). Whenever Jek is available, I asked him to catch the milk using the bottle but when he’s not around, I just let the milk ‘down’. Since it hurts to see my liquid gold being wasted, I resorted to posting a question in Breastfeeding Pinays. One mommy advised to use Haakaa silicone breast pump. I immedietly looked for it in Shopee. To my dismay, we don’t have a budget to get one. I tried searching for silicone pump and yes! I found a much affordable version that costs P375.00 only. I bought it at YouhaPH (in Shopee). I also bought from them storage milk bags for P135.00 for 20pcs (There are sellers that offered it for just P100.00. I just chose YouhaPh because of the silicone pump.) Once I received it, I washed it with Enfant Nipple and Bottle Liquid Cleanser then sterilized it. On our next feeding, I used it and it was a game changer, life saver and my holy grail. I was able to collect as much as 4oz of breastmilk while my baby is latching on the other, it is a hands-free device, btw. This lasted until our 5th week. Since JD is latching directly on me, to my surprise, I already have lots of milk stash in the freezer. I don’t know what to do with them so I posted in another FB group called Breastfeeding Bulakenyas. I looked for someone who’s in need of our stash until I contacted Mommy Nica (hi mommy) who happened to undergone surgery due to Mastitis. She was left with one breast to feed her cutie baby Naya (hello cutie cutie Naya) until the other one is fully healed and the milk comes back in. If I remembered it correctly, we were donating breastmilk to them since December 2016. We are very happy to help them even in this little way. They are very friendly, easy to talk to and generous. Aside from the pasalubongs that Mommy Nica gave to us, she also gave me a bottle on M2 Malunggay Tea which is unbelievably yummy. I took it with hot water and added a little honey in it. Also, she shared with me her pre-mixed of oats, flax seed and I forgot what the other ingredients are but it is also delish. I added Smackers Chocolate Syrup in it for better taste. These are milk boosters to the point that after a few minutes of taking them, you’ll feel hardening in the breast which means they are full with milk. On the 6th week, my body finally knows how much milk to produce that JD (and Naya) needs. Milk supply was already stablished although there are still let-downs but not that overflowing than before. I can now discard the lampin to avoid wet shirts. I used washable nursing pads (P90/pair) that i bought from KMC Baby Stuff in Shopee. We are almost fine with our set-up at home but going out is a different story. Almost every FTMs who breastfeed their baby knows how challenging it is to breastfeed in public. I am guilty to bring a feeding bottle and some of my expressed milk when going to feed JD. In my thinking, using Avent bottle won’t give JD nipple confusion between the bottle and my breasts. But after few weeks of guilt, I finally ditch the thought of using feeding bottles. JD was not nipple confused, however, he doesn’t want feeding bottles at all. He just cried and pushed the teats with his tongue. That was good but not when I was about to go out, poor me. Jek’s rest day from work is every Friday. So we always go out to buy errands or just to eat out. Often times, I nurse JD in the car before we go out but when we were in malls, I always look for their Breastfeeding Station. We were once in SM Marilao and we were eating at Tokyo Tokyo when JD cried out loud from sleep. I knew what that means, it’s boobie time! So we hurried to find the breastfeeding station which was very clean and well-maintained. Another incident was when we were at Jollibee Lolomboy, as usual, when I was about to eat, JD will automatically cry. Good thing I was babywearing (another post for babywearing) that time using my ringsling (P550) which I bought from Eribiellascloset from Instagram. It served as a nursing cover (which I don’t have and still contemplating if I should get one) so that my breast won’t be exposed to Jollibee’s customers. Often times, we just hurried in whatever we were doing and waited until we get to the car for JD to latch. I am still kind of shy in breastfeeding in public. That’s why I salute the other breastfeeding moms who have the guts and courage to do what is right and not to be ashamed of it. I’m hoping that someday, breastfeeding will be a normal act in public places. Our babies have the right to eat freely whenever and wherever he’s hungry. Hopefully, I can also breastfeed my baby in public and not be ashamed of it. Is eating in public illegal? I guess not. Next time, I’ll try to gather some courage to do so. As of writing, we are 12 weeks of exclusively breastfeeding (EBF). I’m happy that on JD’s last check-up last February 3 (2months old), he weighed 6.2kgs. I wonder how heavy he is now because I’m really having a hard time carrying him, haha! I’m looking forward for more months or years of breastfeeding for JD. I won’t stop him until the very last drop of milk from my boobies. Or if baby #2 will be present at that time.
Here are some more tips in breastfeeding as per my experience:
- Be prepared and dedicated.
- Formula milk is not an option unless prescribed by a breastfeeding advocate pedia.
- Do not think that you’re not making enough milk for your baby.
- Breastmilk can help in nipple wound, insect bites, cradle cap and scratches.
- Always bring extra clothes when going out. I suggest to use printed/patterned tops so that leakage won’t be that obvious.
- Eat whatever you want but make sure to always eat soupy foods and foods that are milk booster such as Malunggay, oats, green leafy vegetables, etc.
- Join the groups mentioned above.
- Do some research in breastfeeding.
- Do not believe all those breastfeeding myths.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps.
- Stay away from stress. It will lower your milk supply.
- Always ask support from your husband/partner, family and friends.
- Your baby, your rule.
- Do not buy formula milk, feeding bottles and pacifiers unless otherwise needed.
- You may use nursing bra, nursing clothes, nursing pads, nursing cover to help you with your breastfeeding journey.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Always tie your hair.
- You may drink alcohol, yes! But in moderation and stay away from hard ones. Beer is enough!
- Enjoy every breastfeeding session. 😁
Bebeta milk storage bottles. (With spoiled milk which you can use in baby’s bath for softer skin.)