'Breastfeeding is easy, how difficult can it be?' - Well, I find this very untrue based on my own experience.
When I found out I was pregnant, I already made up my mind to breastfeed my baby. I read up and learnt a lot on breastfeeding.
I read many books, googled, read other mum's blogs, and I even went to breastfeeding support group meeting.
I wanted to be prepared physically and mentally.
When Yiu-Shern was born, the nurse brought him for me to breastfeed him. I tried to put what I've learnt to practical - Shern's stomach facing my stomach, Shern's whole mouth should cover up my whole nipple and part of my areola, etc.
However, Shern did not really latch on. It was merely just a short suckle on and off. He was asleep most of the time. I was like 'Well, it's OK. Will try again another time'.
On the 2nd day, he started suckling and I guessed he took his first milk of colostrum, which should be providing him with all the nutrients and my antibodies to kick-start his immune system.
I was ecstatic!
On the 3rd day, the milk came. My breasts suddenly became so engorged and painful that I wanted to scream and cry in pain.
To make things worse, Shern then had jaundice and he became sleepy and lethargic until he did not really want to suckle on my breasts.
I got so worried then.
On the 4th day, Shern's jaundice did not improve and thus was asked to stay in the hospital for another 2 days to be under the photolight therapy. I also stayed on as a lodger as I wanted to breastfeed Shern.
Breasts continued to be engorged although I breastfed Shern every 2-3 hours.
I became frustrated as even though I continued to breastfed Shern, my breasts still remained engorged and so painful.
This continued even after I went home on the 6th day.
My breasts continued to be engorged until after a week.
Usually breasts engorgement only last for 24-48 hours. But for me, it lasted for more than a week.
Besides that, my nipple became sore and cracked. I had blood oozing out at one of my pumping session.
This was the most challenging time for me.
Luckily, Su Li from Baby Paradise Breastfeeding Support Group came to visit me every once in a while. Thanks also to Lay Ean who continued to support me through the phone & sms.
Without them, I guess I would have given up by then.
It got better on the 3rd week onwards. My nipples got hardened and can withstand Shern's vigorous suckling.
Usually my breastfeeding sessions last for nearly and hour, and my pumping sessions last for half an hour to 45 minutes.
I was frustrated that I can only produce around 1 oz of breastmilk in the 2nd week. Some people commented that I may not have enough milk for Shern, but I did not care and I insisted on breastfeeding him exclusively.
I tried several methods (as advised by friends/books/internet) to increase my milk supply:
- Drank Milk Maid Tea
- Took fenugreek seeds
- Drank Raw Papaya Soup
- Sesame Powder
I find all the methods above CANNOT work for me.
All I drink now is Anmum Lacta milk powder. This is to boost the quality of my breastmilk.
One thing is that I know I need to drink lots of water in order for me to pump out adequate milk.
In the first week, I had about 1/2 ounce of breastmilk.
In the 2nd week, I had about 1 ounce of breastmilk.
At the end of the first month, I had about 2 ounces of breastmilk.
Now, at 1 1/2 months (7th week), I pump about 4 ounces of breastmilk every 3-4 hourly.
So is this a lot? I am not sure.
I hope my milk supply will increase as time goes by.
I wish to breastfeed for 6 months if I can survive further breastfeeding ordeals.