When I started to breastfeed it was like learning a whole new language! There were so many “terms” that I needed to study and look up to be able to articulate what I need and what I mean.
What is a let down? What is exclusive pumping? Websites like kellymom.com, instagram account of legendairy milk, and fb group Breastfeeding Pinays helped a lot!
Also I didn’t know there were different types of breastfeeding. I didn’t have a plan because I initially thought breastfeeding was just baby feeding from the breast. But pumping your milk and having baby feed through the bottle of expressed milk is also considered breastfeeding. 😱 Anyway… it was my goal to breastfeed my child not only because of the bonding but also the benefits. I feel that this is the design of our body to be able to nurture our child.
I was not able to prepare for breastfeeding and only learned as I went along with the help of friends and breastfeeding groups. This was what I understood and have read so far and sharing with you the basics should you decide to embark on this beautiful journey.
Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong:)
As you begin the journey of breastfeeding you have to decide if you will directly breastfeed / bottle feed / cup feed / mix feed.
1. Direct breastfeeding – when baby will latch on to your breast and feed from there
2. Bottle feed – when baby will take your milk from the bottle.
3. Cup feed – when baby will take your milk from a cup.
4. Mix feed – when baby will drink breastmilk and formula milk. It may also mean drinking from the breast and bottle.
Of course when you decide to bottle feed you’d be needing either an electric or manual pump, sterilizer, milk bags (Orange and Peach has breastfeeding essentials like milk storage bags, nipple balm, nipple puller), a freezer to store the milk bags and a bottle / cup. This is usually an option for working moms or even SAHM’s who would want a break from the breast at times / for whatever reason. I couldn’t get the hang of this since my son was hungry all the time and latched all the time that I could barely pump milk. When I did I could only produce 0.5 oz!! Rare are the times I could produce max of 2.5oz. I found it pointless to keep collecting a measly amount and had to keep washing, and sterilizing big and small pump parts that I gave up altogether.
The basic rule: The more you empty / drain your breasts efficiently, the more milk you will produce.
For around 2-3 weeks we mixed fed baby G, then opted to directly breastfeed eventually. It is more convenient.
Some breastfeeding positions we tried:
Got this image from youbabyandi.com
At the hospital they usually teach the football hold and it is so difficult to be honest. It needs a lot of practice! This is recommended for CS moms as it does not put pressure to the abdominal area.
Cross cradle – I use this when outside when baby can’t support his head yet.
Side lying – is the most comfortable and I can also rest while doing this. A friend taught me how to do this and it has saved me a lot from sleepless nights.
Now that baby can stand up with support at 10 months, forget these positions! he nurses in different positions as he pleases 😂
The battle of directly breastfeeding though are common breastfeeding problems
1. Clogged ducts – which happens when baby does not drain milk from your breast. Needs to be drained asap or else may lead to mastitis.
2. Milk blebs – blisters in your nipples caused by poor latching. Has happened to me several times and I wish I could get the hang of how to treat it but it’s different at times. There are times I could handle it myself, but recently I needed the help of a lactation consultant.
3. Sore nipples – usually just happens the first two weeks / when baby is teething
4. Mastitis – the worst possible to have. Thank God this has not happened to me.. and I hope it won’t ever during this journey but it could have if I am not able to release milk from my clogged ducts. An indication of this is usually sore breasts and fever. Ouch!!
When those problems happened, it felt like holding my breath because I didn’t know if it would resolve like the last time. I held my breath for I anticipated another sleepless night as I keep hand expressing and keep urging Grey to latch and suck the clog out – he is usually the solution but it’s challenging for him because they say that the milk tastes different when we have clogged ducts. When all that’s done it was like a big whoosh! and a sigh of relief as the pain would disappear and Grey and I would go back to our breastfeeding symbiosis.
When you breastfeed you would usually have several let downs (when milk would gush) I was only aware of this on Grey’s third month when I would see long and drawn swallows, then it would be back to his usual short sucks. It would usually make you feel drowsy. 🤪
Breastfeeding must haves for me:
1. Nursing pillow! I used one from Bloom given as a gift. This was essential during the first 3 months as baby could not support his head yet and he would usually drink long and seemingly endlesssssssss hours. 😳
2. Nipple cream – I used one from Medela and Lansinoh. This was so important during the first few weeks to heal my breasts. I also had to bring it out again from my drawer when baby started teething and I developed blisters. I had to keep moisturizing it.
3. Nursing cover – At first the ones that you hung over your head – the apron type worked. But when Grey was getting more mobile I used one that’s like a poncho for more coverage as he would kick and pull down the top part.
4. Nursing bra – You will need around 3 or 4! There are lots in department stores, and for tops that are off shoulder I use Bench’s bandeau. Be careful though not to wear this for long periods as to not restrict the milk flow and to avoid clogged ducts.
5. Breastfeeding friendly tops / dresses – button down or those with cut outs underneath. Try searching in Shoppee, Valiannes Trends, Elin. There are actually a lot of online shops offering these. I prefer to use my old clothes, sadly some don’t fit anymore 🥴. But for those that do, a friend recommended Uniqlo’s airism top that you can wear underneath any dress or top. Just pull up your top, pull down Uniqlo and nurse anywhere!
6. A support system 😂 I wouldn’t have continued this journey if it weren’t for the moral support of my husband and friends whom I can ask and share my burdens with.
If you decide to pump, there are more things that you need to bring like a cooler, milk bags, bottles, pump etc. Exclusive pumpers are those who just pump and wouldn’t let baby latch. But since I directly breastfeed I would just need a cover and that’s it.
10 months in and it has been a wonderful journey of bonding with my son. I initially planned at least 6 months but I am currently pushing to a year and I thank God for providing me with ample milk for my little one. Not too much and not too little, just enough for his appetite. This is one of the memories I wouldn’t forget and I hope Grey doesn’t too! :,) Seeing him satisfied the first time, his first smile as he paused momentarily from feeding, our little game of nose-nose-mouth as he looks up at me and I would hold his hand and point it to my nose and mouth as he feeds, when he would teeth / have his first cold and he would be comforted by latching, when he would be in a new place and hide under the nursing cover. I hope he would remember our bonding! This journey is just beautiful with its hills and valleys, I hope I don’t have to wean him and he would just wean on his own. For now enjoying this time while it lasts