Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Breast Feeding

The Journey

Baby Ariz has now reached 6 months old and at the same time, we both have reached the first milestone. Alhamdulillah, Baby Ariz, we've made it. 

When I delivered, I was, I would say prepared for the delivery but the life after it, I was totally not! Then it clicked, my oh my, sleepless night, the little munchkin's crying, sore nipple etc. Alhamdulillah, Mr. Afif was with me for a week to help me out during night time, my mother helped me out during the day and my father who looked after Baby Ariz while we Mr. Afif and I eat.

I already knew that breastfeeding was going to be a difficult journey. However, I never gave up despite the pressure of making more milk for Baby Ariz. I always stick to the principle of demand vs. supply. The more I increase the demand, the more milk I would be producing. 

Let me share with you my experience.

When Baby Ariz was born, I immediately had him in my arm for skin-to-skin session. The reason being, I wanted him to feel as warm as possible and also, stimulate him to suckle. And yes, Baby Ariz had the hardest time to suckle and my doctor did press on my breast in order for the colostrum to come out. The colostrum was then, smeared on Baby Ariz's lips. 

*Credits to google 

Colostrum is a form of breastmilk produced during the late stage of pregnancy. It is usually yellow in color and it is so important for our babies to take that in. Colostrum contains antibodies to protect the newborn from diseases, low in fat and high in protein. It encourages the passing of baby's first stool, meconium - clearing baby's excess billurubin and lower the chances of having jaundice. 

Baby Ariz did not drink for the next 12++ hours and I was getting so worried. I asked some help from my mom and Sis Nadine Ghows. Remember her? She was my Amani Class birth instructor and she is also breastfeeding advocate. She offered to visit me in the hospital and teach me how to properly feed Ariz. Sis Nadine reminded me in Baby Ariz's system, there was still some food left that was transferred via umbilical cord. This was one of the reason I wanted to delay the cord clamping. 

In the evening of 13th October 2013, Sis Nadine came with a organic bunny soft toy. Thank you Sis Nadine! At first, we talked about my birth story and then, she started teaching me how to hold Baby Ariz in a few positions - cradle position, cross cradle and football hold.

Sis Nadine mentioned how important it is to have skin-to-skin session -  the baby will recognize our smell and he will make his way to the breast for feeding. I have seen a few videos where the babies made their ways to the breast and started to suckle like a champ! I would want to share the video but I think it will be a little inappropriate. Alhamdulillah after this session with Sis Nadine, I had a hang of it and alhamdulillah, Ariz was able to latch and feed properly. 

However, when day 3 came! My breasts were so engorged and Baby Ariz could not even, latch on my nipple. On top of that, my nipple was so sore from the latching! First-time moms you ladies understood this problem, right? I did not what to do and I remembered during Gina Yong's Breast feeding class, I received a breast feeding book. 

"Love Breastfeeding" by Gina Yong 

I was searching for some answers in the book to subside the problem. What I remembered was applying hot pack, ice pack, cold cabbage, breast shells then pump out the milk. 

Why does this happened to me?
Baby Ariz was not latching properly or when he latches, he did not drink enough. Though I thought Baby Ariz was latching well. *sigh*

So, Mr. Afif bought me a pair of a pair of Philips's Avents Breast Shells and Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple. 

Philips Avent Breast Shells 
Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter 

What does a breast shell do? 
As for my case, it makes latching a lot easier as it prepares the nipple for breastfeeding. Since I had cracked and sore nipple, this shell avoid the friction against the nursing bra. 

After wearing the breast shells and putting the ice pack, I was able to pump for the first time. I managed to pump at least 0.5 oz alhamdulillah and the pain has reduced tremendously. After that, I managed to directly breastfeed Baby Ariz.

A friend of mine sent me an image of baby's tummy comparison. With this image engraved in my head, I was not pressured in producing a lot of milk. I know my body will produce more milk when Baby Ariz wants more.

Baby's tummy comparaison *Credits to google 

What did I do from my confinement period up to now?
  • I nurse as frequent as I could whenever I am with Baby Ariz - unrestricted breastfeeding.
  • Drink lots of plain water during and after nursing. I can feel whenever Baby Ariz suckles for milk, I would feel my throat and lips were drying up. I bring a large water bottle to wherever to work, in the car or just being lazy in front of the TV and I would drink up whenever I feel like to. 
  • Stimulate the breast after each nursing. Before I started working, I would do this right after Baby Ariz drank. Yes, being doing this, I created demand so that, I would produce more milk. I would pump up to 20 minutes. I should be doing it again now though it's tiring.
  • During confinement, direct feed you baby at night time. That is what I did. I was informed that prolactin (the hormone that is responsible to produce milk) is at its highest and if we feed our babies, it will definitely produce more milk.
  • After resuming my work, I started pumping before going to work. Around this time, I would get a lot of milk. Before pumping, I usually feed Ariz first who wakes up at around 6.30pm
  • Relax, eat right and look after ourselves.
  • Be surrounded by positive people who encourage you to breastfeed - your husband, friends, Facebook groups who advocate breastfeeding.
  • Mr. Afif and I co-sleep with Baby Ariz when he reached 3 months old and I learned to nurse him by sleeping position. I love this position so much! Whenever he wakes up, it was so easy to put him back to sleep.
What do I do to increase my supply?

  • Supplements :
    • Fenugreek
    • Longan & red dates water
    • Habbatus Sauda
  • Powerpump
    • I pump for 10 minutes and rest for 3 minutes. Then, I continue 10 minutes pumping and rest for 3 minutes. This session always take me approximately 30 minutes.
    • There were times, I pump for 10 minutes then rest for 10 minutes. I continue this routine for an hour usually after dinner. 
Another thing that I am proud of my baby Ariz is that Ariz does not approve pacifier. He hates it! I even tried putting it into his mouth last  night but he spitted it out. He'd rather have the REAL thing.

My goal is now to breastfeed Ariz up until he is 2 years old. But in between, I will have my personal small milestones to achieve In sya Allah. Though, I do face lots of hurdles in reaching it. 

If you have any tips and tricks in increasing the supply, feel free to share. I am always open for it.