Monday, August 27, 2012

My Breastfeeding Story (Part 2)

Some time ago I wrote about my breastfeeding story from DC's birth till 6 months. Just when I thought things will be a little easier now that my supply is established and I have sufficient stock in the freezer, life throws you a curve ball.

My frozen EBM stock as of mid-August on DC's birthday. Only left 5 bottles (the bags are all expired milk)

DC's milk consumption has been slowly increasing from 5oz to 6oz. My output has been 4oz - 5oz on average. Although demand exceeds supply I am still not too worried as I have lots of EBM in the freezer. I still give her 1/3 EBM, 2/3 chilled milk every feeding. That way I am also slowly utilising my stock, and whenever I have extra I can also keep as new stock.

DC was already 6 months old, hence ready to begin her solids. Much to my frustration (and sometimes dismay), she rejected her solids and still prefer her milk! I was expecting her milk consumption will reduce as she will have 1 - 2 solid meals hence she do not need to drink milk. This means I have to keep pumping to ensure supply is still there.

Just when she started to accept solids around 8 months, Aunty Flo decided to came back for a visit. I enjoyed Aunty Flo's absence and wasn't too pleased when she's back, make me all grumpy and PMS again. One thing I didn't prepare myself for is this - Aunty Flo may reduce supply! Boy, I got hit real bad in my first month. Imagine pumping for half an hour on one side to only get 1oz, at most also 2oz. Worse is that this goes on for each session the next 3 - 4 days! Thank goodness for my EBM stock, I was still able to provide 100% breastmilk to her while I try to get back my supply. However, it was the time my stock depleted the fastest too :(

I asked the ladies in the TBAN forum, what should I do? Turns out that I need to take calcium magnesium supplements together with fenugreek to ensure my supply remains constant even during my menses. I bought Amway's calcium magnesium supplements straight away and started taking them on a daily basis. The 2nd time around when Aunty Flo came, my supply only dropped by 1oz per session. Thank goodness for that!

The second challenge I faced was when DC fell sick. For the longest time ever between May to July, she keep on falling sick, mostly due to the cold virus. She also had very bad phlegm which resulted in her vomiting after her feed. In June she had Roseola, of which part of the symptoms was high fever. During this time, I was advised by the pediatrician to stop her solids and give her more breastmilk till she recovers. I had to pump extra hard to ensure I keep up the supply (I prefer to give her fresh EBM when she is sick). It would have been easier if I didn't fall sick as well. Those were tiring days as I have to be careful with my medicine intake (make sure it is safe for breastfeeding), and to ensure I maintain a good diet so ensure supply is good and still nutritious.

The last four weeks were perhaps the most stressful of all. I have been pumping 4 times a day and my supply had been quite consistent (unless I'm having my menses or I'm sick). For some reason my supply became erratic. I am not sure what is wrong, maybe it could be due to stress (I was busy preparing for her birthday party and managing some other matters as well). Imagine you are able to see the finishing line ahead of you, yet you keep on stumbling and falling.Nevertheless, I told myself it is definitely NOT the time to give up, not especially I have done this for the last 12 months!

My perseverance finally paid off.  When she turned one, I have 3 bottles in the fridge and 5 more in the freezer. My second milestone achieved, and I am happy she loves mummy's milk too! Now, I will continue to pump and feed her EBM until my taps run dry, doesn't matter if it is 1 month, 3 months or 6 months time. We have just introduced fresh milk to her so no more pressure of  "not enough milk" during times of low supply.

Throughout this journey, perseverance is really key to successful breastfeeding (or in my case, exclusive pumping) for one year or more. Most of the challenges are usually faced during the first 3 months. Once supply is established and no more problems like engorgement or plugged ducts, I need to constantly remind myself to pump on time, eat the right food and to get enough rest. I admit there were times I was just lazy to pump and suffered the consequence of reduced supply. I also believe direct latch is the best way to go for convenience but too bad DC already chosen the bottle since 4 months old.

Whenever I feel down or lazy, I just look at this poster to motivate myself. I hope it will work for you as well :)


Lilium said...

I am a bad mummy..could not persevere :(.

n i l e e y said...

no la, don't say that...doesn't make you a bad mummy if you didn't manage to bf for 1 year...