August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month and I apologize for barely making it to the party with this post.
I’m often cautious about sharing my views on breastfeeding because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or clash with other people’s opinions. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone and I know many frustrated women who’ve tried their hardest to make it work for them with little success. Bottom line, no one should ever make you feel bad about your mothering choices. If breastfeeding isn’t for you, then that’s alright. Your little person will still continue to flourish and be just as wonderful.
Yes, it has been scientifically established that breastfeeding is a great gift you can bestow upon your new child, but anyone who tells you that it’s effortless is either really blessed or a very good liar.
For those curious, I’ve been breastfeeding Fin exclusively for a little over ten months and I plan to continue till he turns one. I didn’t think we would make it this far, but seeing him thrive and stay healthy is all the encouragement I need to make it to his first birthday — where I plan to reward myself with the biggest alcoholic beverage I can find. (I half kid.)
If you’d like to give breastfeeding a try or know someone who is expecting, here are some tips that helped me. Granted, the opinions on breastfeeding are as numerous as ants on a cupcake and everything listed here might not work for you. It’s also always good to seek the approval of a certified health expert before exploring different techniques.
If you’re a breastfeeding mama, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. I’m sure my other readers would love to learn from you.
1. Be patient when it comes to building your supply: Not everyone is fortunate enough to flow like Iguazu from the get-go. It often takes a bit of time to get your milk production up to what your baby needs. if you feel that your little human isn’t gaining as much as he/she should, ask your pediatrician about topping up a feed with some formula till your supply increases. In Sydney, our pedia suggested we do the triple feeding method for two weeks (BFing + pumped milk + supplementing with formula) till we saw my supply reach what my son required. It was tiring, but worth it.
2. Invest in a good pump: When I say a good, I mean a double electric pump that won’t conk out on you. Ever. A helpful tip I got from the ladies I met at the Pump Station is to purchase the pump before your baby arrives but don’t open the box. You may or may not need it, but at least it’ll be there if you do. I put a good chunk of change into buying the Ameda Purely Yours Ultra and I highly recommend it. It has everything you need including different breast shield sizes (many brands sell these separately), a little cooler, and even a car charger for when you’re stuck in traffic — hilarious yes, but in our country, you just never know. Other friends have told me that Medela Pumps are equally good.
3. A hands-free bra will be your saviour: I honestly don’t know how I survived without this item in my arsenal during my first few months, they are so worth their weight in gold. Yes, you will look like a milking cow but they’re practicality makes up for it. I purchased mine here.
4. Find a good cover-up: One of the best things about breastfeeding is its convenience. You can do it anywhere and it doesn’t cost a cent. I’ve tried all sorts of cover-ups and my favorite would have to be Indigo Baby’s Boncho. It is super soft and versatile (doubles as the perfect blanket on the plane). Perfect gift for a baby shower.
5. Try some natural galactagogues: What you eat matters more than ever when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Aside from taking a prenatal vitamin, it’s recommended to look into different types of food that have been noted to cause an increase in supply. For instance, malunggay (in the photo above) has become the new darling of superfoods in the US. You can take it in fresh or capsule form, I even have a friend who turns it into a pesto. It’s recommended you start taking it around your last month of pregnancy to build your supply ahead of time.
Here are other milk-making meals I take on a regular basis:
5. Do your research: I really recommend reading up on breastfeeding just a little bit before your little one is born. Here are some websites that are filled with info:
6. Receive support from others: Motherhood isn’t a journey one should do alone and I feel my success in the realm of breastfeeding comes from the team of friends and people who’ve helped me: the midwives in Sydney who told me to patiently wait for my supply, my cousins who showed me that a year of breastfeeding was possible, my husband who never once made me feel like an inconvenience for having to nurse or pump, even though we were already late for an event. If you’d like some additional support or help, it’s suggested that you talk to a lactation consultant. LATCH is a good place to start for people in the Philippines.
I hope these help. Please feel free to share your tips below!