This is a post I wrote on one of my social media accounts and would like to share here. For those who think breastfeeding is a breeze, you may want to read this. For mommies, I’m sure you agree with the below points! For those who are about to become moms, read this!
Then again, this is only the writer’s submission. 🙂
What breastfeeding entails:
IDENTIFYING BABY’S FEEDING PATTERN
As the baby grows, his/her feeding needs and pattern will change in terms of volume and frequency. As my baby gets older, it seems to be getting more predictable and less frequent. It’s either that, or I’m getting better at this mom thing. (Self-praise much? LOL) Nursing becomes a smoother and less stressful process when you are able to identify the baby’s feeding pattern as it changes from time to time.
BREASTFEEDING TIME IS BABY’S TIME
Say goodbye to those carefree days when you were able to do anything, any time at your whim and fancy. Now, a huge chunk of your time is dedicated to breastfeeding (especially for the first couple months). Personally, I think it’s fine to be scrolling through your phone or talking while nursing. There are some quarters however who are against this practice – coined as ‘brexting’ – because it can negate and hinder the bond between mother and baby. I find that this does disrupt my baby’s focus on certain occasions, so I have made it a point that at times, I must resist all technological temptations or human contact with anyone besides my baby in order to be able to give her my undivided attention. But ultimately, breastfeeding time is baby’s time!
Although I have resumed reading the news, I have not gone back to my full-time corporate gig. I am only coming closer to that day. Pumping/expressing milk is a daily ritual now and will be, for a very long time. In shaa Allah. Expressing milk is another huge task. This sub-heading deserves a sub-list:
(i) the volume of expressed breast milk (EBM) produced at each pumping session will vary, depending on the last time you fed your baby;
(ii) finding the time to pump can get challenging when your baby won’t let you go or when you have other chores;
(iii) the disappointment of producing low milk supply brings you down;
(iv) you open yourself to the risk of spilling/contaminating EBM while in the process as opposed to direct breastfeeding;
(v) all gear must be cleaned and sterilised before each use (not only that, but the breast pump comes in many parts and sterilising takes time too); and
(vi) you can add an extra bag to your luggage checklist when travelling to pack your breast pump in.
On a related note, I’ll soon find out the challenge of pumping at work!
STOCKING UP MILK
For working moms, this is essential and requires the art of good planning. Planning takes into consideration the following:
(i) amount of EBM/packets produced on a daily basis and how much is needed for the weeks/months to come; and
(ii) how the milk is stored (whether in normal fridge temperature or in the freezer) will determine its lifespan.
Adding to this, the art of being efficient is also key. Before an outing or before going to work, EBM must be taken out from the fridge for it to thaw prior to being warmed in a bottle, which must also be sterilised beforehand.
BOTTLE vs BREAST
If after some time not being bottle-fed, the baby will either forget how to suck from a bottle or simply chooses not to. The real thing is always better. Hehe. Having the baby trained to be bottle-fed is vital, especially if you’ll be away and working. Not only that, finding the right bottle could be challenging too. Certain brands may not work for your baby.
So far, Alhamdulillah I’ve been able to rely solely on breast milk for my baby’s feeds. To moms who are not able to breastfeed exclusively and have babies who are also formula-fed, don’t feel guilty. I understand the pressure. You are trying your best!
THE CONSTANT WORRY
I practically had nightmares the night before I needed to leave my baby for several hours for the first time to read the news. Is there enough milk? What if I don’t get to pump more milk before I leave? What if my baby rejects the bottle? The worrying will never stop…
Lastly, the time for me to get ready for an outing has now doubled (not that it wasn’t already long enough to begin with!) because I need to think twice before putting on an outfit. Is this nursing-friendly? Is this convenient? Although I may be using a nursing cover when I’m out, it’s always so much more convenient to be wearing nursing-friendly attire. The fasting month is approaching – which means joining the race to get your Raya dress tailored in time – and I now have an additional request to the tailor i.e. to insert nursing zips on either side of my top. Dah pakai fancy2, kena lah convenient jugak kan. Hehe.
I almost forgot this one! Breastfeeding can be painful at times due to breast engorgement for example. Sang suami, kalau tak faham, look it up. 😉
Mommies, let’s continue to support each other and breastfeed in solidarity!