Thursday, December 31, 2020

My Breastfeeding Journey

As a first time mom, I was clueless about so many things despite reading a ton of articles on raising a newborn. It was painful to see your child crying and not knowing what's wrong. I doubted myself and questioned if I was producing enough milk during the first few weeks postpartum. The sleepless nights didn't matter. What was more important was seeing Sam satisfied and full. And it was a struggle at first. But it's true what most moms say; it gets better. So hang in there, momma. 

I felt like a baby bird who got kicked out of the nest after getting discharged. With the aid of nurses and lactation consultants abruptly gone, I was back to being unsure about my every move. 

They all say that babies do not eat a lot during the first few days as their tummies are still very tiny. What they need most is warmth from their mommies. This was the reason why I had Sam on me almost the whole day and night during our first week. 

Then I noticed Sam's growing appetite, and I couldn't seem to satisfy it no matter what I do. She barely soiled or wet her diapers too. This was on top of her diapers having "brick dust" which is a sign of dehydration (or her pee being too concentrated). I documented each diaper and kept asking her pedia if this or that is normal. Each time, I was assured that everything was fine. 

When two days had passed and still no sign of poop, I had to ask for formula. It was heartbreaking for me as I felt like a failure and couldn't provide for my child. I also immediately booked for a lactation massage to help stimulate breastmilk production. 

I was so glad that I got hold of Estela Rivera-Perona, a well-loved lactation consultant, to visit me on the same day I messaged her. She came with full PPE and was very patient with all my questions. She even assured me that I have enough milk for Sam. I just needed a few tricks to help me. 

For one, those silicone milk pumps stimulate increase milk when you use it while your baby latches on the other boob. Using these also helps you build your milk stash or "sleep credit" when someone else takes care of your little one. 

Massage. Massage. Massage. This is very important to avoid clogged ducts and mastitis. Though it doesn't guarantee that you won't have one with daily massage, I noticed that it did help increase letdown, especially past midnight. (Note: I use Naturali VCO to massage my boobs. Not only does it do the job, I'm also not worried for Sam to get a taste of it as it is safe for babies to ingest.)

Pumping too early is said to be a big no-no as it could cause mastitis or oversupply. But I realized that it's not a rule everyone should follow. I started pumping after four weeks, and I'm still producing just enough to help me get at least 4-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Also, make sure that you get the right flange as sizes too big or too small can hinder you from getting the most from your pump. (I got Medela Freestyle double breast pump and bought Maymom 15mm flanges.)

Supplements do not work the same for everyone. It takes time to find out which supplements or milk boosters work for you. So far, the ones I religiously take are Mega-Malunggay and Brewer's Yeast. I also take Herbilogy Fenugreek and Sweet Leaf that I mix in some of my drinks. I even added Sweet Leaf to a batch of brownies I made a couple of weeks back. 

Feasting on galactagogues helps too. It even motivates you to eat cleaner and healthier. Papaya and avocado are staples in my diet until now. I also snacked on cereal and shifted from cow's milk to almond milk. Oh, and Made by Maxine's Almond Butter is so good!

Do also try Brookies by Margaret. This was recommended to me by my lactation consultant. It is one of the more affordable lactation treats on the market. And it is so good! I already ordered thrice from this seller.

Malunggay-infused beverages such as M2 Malunggay, Lactablend, and Mother Nurture are excellent too! Not only do these taste great, but I noticed an increase in milk output too! Also, water and coconut juice are great in boosting milk supply.

But at the end of the day, all these would be a waste if you don't rest and get enough sleep. We all have to be kind to ourselves and learn to ask for help when needed. I am so glad that R has been so supportive and helpful since day 1.

Do consult with your pedia too if there is a need to top up. Remember, FED IS BEST. I am no expert with breastfeeding as I'm still learning and continuously looking for ways to boost my milk production. But what works best for me is having at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

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