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My Breast Friend Forever.

Happy turning 1, my boy.

BF1

My breastfeeding journey with Shakeel has been a rather emotional one.

BF4

No matter how well you prepare yourself for it by reading online, nothing can honestly prepare you for the depth of truth behind all those words.

Before I go any further, let me share with you the following quote.

“Whether you’re for breastfeeding or a “breast is best” type of Mama, we as Moms should offer grace to others no matter their choice or reason to not breastfeed and never, EVER make a Mom feel guilty that they don’t or didn’t breastfeed” 

I am not pro-breast. I am not pro-bottle.

I am pro-mom.

One of the decisions I made when pregnant with Shakeel was to breastfeed him for at least a year. It was not easy but I wanted to at least try because I believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of breastfeeding. I had persevered through multiple hurdles and challenges with my daughters just to breastfeed them. That said, I wanted to also try my best for Shakeel and see how far I can go!

I am sure fellow mummies who breastfeed or have breastfed will understand some of the challenges of breastfeeding. As for me, I had to cope with namely:

  • Engorgement
  • Latching problems
  • Cracked or bleeding nipples
  • Mastitis

 

BEEN THERE. DONE THAT.

 BF2

 

There were occasions when I felt like giving up. The worst was when I had cracked and bleeding nipples but Shakeel wanted to constantly nurse. It was worse when he was unwell. That was a nightmare! I remember crying each time he latched on because it was just too painful!

Good family support is essential. In my case, I am glad to have my husband who understands how challenging breastfeeding can get. For instance, when I had my cracked and bleeding nipples, he told me to take time off in the morning while he fed Shakeel direct from the bottle. I clearly remember what he said – “If your nipples do not heal, how can you breastfeed Shakeel with ease? It will get worse and you will end up hating breastfeeding.”

So I was given time off for about three consecutive days from about 9 am till 1 pm. And on days when my husband was not working, he told me to take a longer break so that I could spend my time expressing my milk while Shakeel drank from the bottle. It was not easy – Shakeel refused the bottle initially. He did not drink much from the bottle. And at times, he even cried endlessly because he only wanted to latch on. Again, thanks to the strong support at home, I managed to go through the ordeal. I almost felt like giving up. But when I thought about those precious breastfeeding moments with Shakeel, I told myself to persevere. My nipples healed and I could breastfeed without complications from thereon.

Motherhood is funny that way. Just when you think you have reached your limit and you cannot possibly find it in yourself to give anymore, you find a way to give just a little bit more each day.

He is one year old now and I have stopped having bleeding or cracked nipples no matter what position he is in. But it’s crazy how he likes to perform ‘nursing gymnastics’ these days.

BF3

Having cracked and bleeding nipples during the first few months of breastfeeding is normal. You just need to persevere and get all the support you can get so that you can continue your breastfeeding journey with your baby at ease.

A baby friendly hospital can help you get on the track to successful breastfeeding. Staffs at BFHI (Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative) hospitals like KKH are trained to provide breastfeeding support to new mothers and also provide a conducive environment for breastfeeding.

I am glad I made the choice to give birth at KKH. The moment Shakeel was out, the midwife ensured that Shakeel had skin-to-skin contact with me.

I was also shown how to properly breastfeed and maintain lactation, even when separated from Shakeel.

I clearly remember how it was like when Shakeel was hospitalized for jaundice. He was not able to latch on 24/7 because it was crucial for him to undergo phototherapy without constant interruption.

At the hospital, I was also given the breast pump to express and maintain my milk supply before passing bottles of my expressed milk to the nurse while I was there during the daytime. Whenever they brought Shakeel out for his feeding, they would ask me to latch him on for a while to maintain my breast milk supply.

And whenever I latched Shakeel on for a while during his feeding time, the nurse would always be next to me to ensure that I was doing it right. Mothers who are experiencing difficulty breastfeeding are encouraged to always consult a lactation consultant, doctor or nurse for advice, especially during the first six months of breastfeeding. This also helps to determine whether there is a need to introduce formula milk.

Here’s the thing about infant formula milk.

Although the overall composition is not the same as breastmilk, infant formula milk is enough to meet the normal nutritional needs of non-breastfed infants. Regardless of the price, all infant formula milk brands in Singapore contain the AVA approved essential nutrients for the So there is really no such thing as “certain milk formula brands are better for the child’s development than others.”

Breastmilk is always best for babies, but if breastfeeding is not possible, formula feeding is the next best alternative to breast milk. And that’s perfectly okay!

Both breastfeeding and formula have their places in society, and as the mother, it does not matter which way we plan to nourish our babies as long as they get all the necessary nutrients. People can only talk so much, but ultimately, we know we only want what’s best for our child.

bf7

As of now, I do not want to stop breastfeeding Shakeel as yet because I truly treasure the special bonding experience that comes with it, and for any urgent feeding moments I can just latch him on and soothe him. I can even go out without the need for the diaper bag on days when I feel lazy. I do not want to be too dependent on the bottle or formula milk for now. (The diaper bag can get pretty heavy with the bottles and all, I think.)

On several occasions when I felt like stopping breastfeeding, I would remember how he looks at me and smile while nursing. I would also remember how he snuggles in close to me every single night. And then I told myself, “Keep doing this!”

bf6

One day he will no longer need me as much and I will have to let him go. But for now I still nourish him as much as he still needs me.

BF5

Mummies, do not give up easily if you are breastfeeding or intend to breastfeed your baby. Should you need information on breastfeeding, , visit www.healthhub.sg/earlynutrition

To end of the post, I’ll like to share a cute video to celebrate motherhood:

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