Congratulations, you are expecting or have just delivered your baby and decided that you prefer to exclusively breastfeed your baby. I am not going to share why I choose to breastfeed here, because I already posted about my passion for nursing at
I get asked many times by mommy friends on how to breastfeed successfully. I am not a breastfeeding guru nor a lactation consultant, so I am just going to share about getting breastfeeding on to the right start from day one based on my own breastfeeding experience with my 3 kids, all of whom were and one is still being nursed for a minimum of 24 months. For more information, do check on websites like breastfeeding.com or babycentre.com.my or breastfeeding books such as The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or Nursing Mother, Working Mother.
To starts off, let’s debunk some myths about breastfeeding that I get asked by some friends all these years:
1) The size of your milk factory does NOT matter. Human milk is produced in tiny milk sacs called Alveoli and stored in tiny network of Milk Ducts. So it doesn’t matter if you are an A cup or a D cup, you can breastfeed on either size.
2) Breastfeeding may not come naturally for some. For me, nursing the first baby was a whole lot of tears for a good six weeks with engorgement, wrong latching position and cracked nipple (ouch). I thought I would fare better with baby no. 2 but I had the same excruciating pain for a good five weeks. And with baby no.3, I am glad that though I experienced the same discomfort and pain, it was for only 4.5 weeks. So it may not be poster-bliss for some, but the key to successful nursing is to make sure the latch on is correct, find your most comfortable nursing position, persevere and also try to work on the issues with a lot of reading and TLC support from family and husband.
3) The early bird gets the worms. It means the earlier you start nursing the more successful your nursing journey will be. Tell the midwives or your doctor that you intend to breastfeed your newborn right after birth or within the first few hours of birth. Yes it does feel awkward like your newborn is not sucking anything off your breast that has not become full yet but during the first few days after birth, your baby will be consuming tiny amount of yellowish, creamy and rich substance that is super good for them called Colostrum.
4) Colostrum is not the tsunami of a milk supply. I have not tried to pump colostrum to see how little there is but most websites and books will tell you that it comes in very tiny precious amount per feed, about a teaspoon at most. So you are going “what, my newborn is going to starve, holy cow!’ which is a perfectly normal reaction but calm down, your newborn has a stomach diameter the size of a teaspoons too so it is definitely enough for her.
5) Breast Milk is somewhat like fashion designers —- they won’t show up until the grand-finale. Anytime between day three to within a week after birth, this precious golden essence will turn into whitish human milk whence you will experience fuller breasts (which is still rich with colostrum substance) for the baby (and all moms say with a sigh of relief, “finally!”) and some of you may experience temporary discomfort called breast engorgement.
6) Breastfeeding works on demand and supply principle, like simple economy. So to get the supply established, there must be a healthy demand. This means that to mentally and physically prepare yourself to exclusively nurse your baby, don’t go out and get the can of formula yet, as you need to feed on demand especially during the first 6 months of your baby’s life. Go Google more but the research will tell you that the act of nursing frequently to ‘empty’ your breasts sort of send brain signals to get these good (hormone) guys called Prolactin and FIL (no, it’s not father in law) to produce more milk for the baby.
7) You will feel like you don’t have enough milk because your newborn keeps on crying and demanding to be breastfed. Come on mama, your baby will not be able to communicate by talking so he will be crying a lot (and I mean, really a lot) to tell you that he is sleepy, hungry, or just pooped and will also cry to tell you also that he is unfamiliar with all these external stimulations (such as all those noises and lights that can feels a bit overwhelming to a newborn as compared to when he was in your cosy womb). As for him constantly demanding to breastfeed is a beautiful instinct to help regulate and bring up your milk supply over the next few months. Personally, I was breastfeeding every one to two hourly during the first two months (so yes, it is NORMAL during the newborn phase to feel like you are ALWAYS nursing though I thought I was so sleep deprived I must have turned ABNORMAL to imagine myself as a milk machine in a pink pyjamas).
8) Mix feeding with formula. Let me stress that I am not anti-formula –feeding due to whatever reasons, personally or medically because I firmly believe love comes from the heart, and feeding is only one of the nurturing acts that a mom encompasses. It’s proven, however, that if you are a die-hard fan of breastfeeding then let’s not give in to the temptation of mixed feeding from day one. You may want to start that only if you have established your milk supply and need to get back to work after maternity leave and your new work place is not mom-friendly. Perhaps you have supply issues and after consulting your doctor or lactation consultant and taken some remedies, your supply just isn’t sufficient for your baby. It could also be considered when your baby have started solid and you plan to scale down breastfeeding to prepare for gradual weaning. In normal healthy breastfeeding, once you start mixed feeding, your breasts may have mixed feelings about not being able to produce as much milk as before (Oh love my rhyming!)
By the way, happy mother’s day to all you great moms out there. To my own Mom who means the world to me and who inspires me in every way and stood by my decision to breastfeed all of my kids, I just want to say, you are awesome, Mom.
More posts coming in the near future about pumping. Happy breastfeeding, peeps!