Friday, November 01, 2013

Breast or Bottle?

I always felt a tinge of regret and guilt when I recalled how I didn't manage to breastfeed Kaiser successfully and gave up after pumping out my breastmilk on and off for around 2 months, before throwing in the towel, as I could only manage to pump out at most 60ml after a month or so.

This time round, I decided that I want to breastfeed Rayes as long as possible.  So before I gave birth, I started reading up on how to latch on properly, watch video clips on breastfeeding, bought fenugreek pills, nursing tea, nipple cream etc to prepare for this.  I thought that I should be able to do it properly this time round, since I am so 'prepared' for this.

Sigh... I was so wrong.  In the hospital before I went into the operating theatre, I specifically told the nurse to bring Rayes to me after they washed him up so that I can breastfeed him and never feed him with formula milk at all.

So after an hour or so, the nurse pushed Rayes into my room and she suggested the lying on the side position for Rayes to latch on.  I thought I managed to latch Rayes properly cos I didn't really feel much pain, but after breastfeeding him, my nipples felt sore.  The nurses pushed him in every 3 hours to be breastfed and after many tries, I started to feel the pain and I realised I was repeating my mistake once again... WRONG LATCH!

I requested for the lactation consultant and she came to visit the next day.  She explained how to do it and helped me and I still couldn't do it properly after she left and I tolerated the pain to latch Rayes for 4 days in the hospital.  I thought the pain would go away naturally after a while so I refused to buy any formula milk powder.

However, on the very 1st night when Rayes came back home, I tried to breastfeed him directly but no matter how I tried, he couldn't latch on properly and ended up crying for 2 hours until I use the lying on the side position to latch him on.  It was still a wrong latch but it was the only way to calm him down.  I didn't manage to sleep the whole night and the next day, when I changed his diapers, his urine showed a bit of red crystalised colour.  Exactly what happened to Kaiser and according to my pediatrician, this means the baby is dehydrated.  I had no choice but to get my hubby to buy formula milk powder to feed Rayes first.

I was tearing when I made the formula milk for Rayes.  My heart sank and I felt depressed for not being able to breastfeed Rayes exclusively.  I turned to my Medela Swing Single Pump for help.  But sadly I could only manage to pump out only 20ml even though I pump for 1 hr!  This continued for at least 3-4 days and I was getting frustrated.

When I went back to see my gynae, Dr Lee and asked him if he could prescribe those pills which I can take to increase my milk supply.  He prescribed Motilium(domperidone) and said that if after taking 3 days, the milk supply doesn't come in, it means I can't produce much milk.

The magical pills... or not so magical for me after all...

I took 2 pills on the 1st day and at night, I started to itch everywhere and developed hives.  I suspected that I am allergic to the pills but in order to prove it, I took 1 pill in the morning.  This time round, more hives appeared and my eyes swelled up and after a while, my joints felt funny.  My whole body itched like mad as the hives spread.  Luckily, I need to bring Rayes back for jaundice review and managed to see Dr Lee.  Told him my situation and he gave me another pills to counteract hives and said I have to stop taking Motilium.  He was so nice to give me the pills FOC!  But I felt sad that I can't take Motilium and can only take fenugreek.

I asked my friend Rose for advice and she recommended dual pumps instead and mentioned that her friend is using Medela Freestyle currently.  It made sense as I was spending too much time pumping out milk and yielding such a small amount everytime.  My hubby went to buy Medela Freestyle from Isetan and I was so happy that it cut down my pumping time and I could move around with the pump as it runs via rechargeable battery.  Thanks Daddy!

Nice packaging

The cooler bag with 4 milk bottles

The cute dual pump with rechargeable battery

The not so nice carrier bag.  The previous design 3 years ago looked much better.

The special milk bottle teat that mimic breast feeding

The first time I used Freestyle, I noticed that the pump is stronger.  The good thing is that it is dual pump so I can cut down on the time considerably.  Also, the rechargeable battery allows me to pump anywhere and convenient!

Also, the name of the pump says it all... "Freestyle" means that I can go hands free (dn't need to hold on to the bottles) if I buy the hands-free bustier.  It is good for me as I can do my work and pump at the same time.

I used the pump and my milk supply increased to 40ml.  It is still very disappointing cos it is one week after I have given birth.  Then on 27 Oct, I felt sharp pain on my left chest.  It was so painful that I had to go and rest on my bed and I felt very miserable cos I couldn't even stand up straight.  At first I thought I had pumped too hard till my nipple was very sore.  During the next pump, I felt some hardened area and I decided to press really hard on it and surprisingly, the milk started to flow faster and I could get slightly more milk now.  After that pump, I felt a sense of relief and I didn't get the heaviness that I was feeling for the last few days.

My initial 40 ml liquid gold

Increased to 50ml liquid gold

Sometimes, it drops by 5ml to 45 ml...

At times, I can get a good yield of 70 ml... Super happy!

My best record so far is 80 ml... Jia you!!

For me, my breastfeeding journey is never smooth but I am glad I have supportive people around me, like my hubby.  Even though he kept saying I'm a mum with no milk, he is purposely saying this cos he think I will be stubborn enough to prove him wrong.  My cousin, Cynthia, who is a maternal and lactation consultant, who advised me on nutrition and how to resolve sore nipple problems.  Celestia, who is pro-breastfeeding and her 3 kids were on total breastmilk.  Rose, a mother of 1 boy and a pair of twins, with enough milk supply to breastfeed the twins.

I am still wondering why my milk supply is so low compared to other mummies...sigh.  I ask Dr Ronda Watt what I can do and she was so nice to share her experience with me.  She said that she didn't even latch on her kids but she pumped the milk out.  She said that her milk supply was even lower than mine at the start... only 10ml.  But she pump every 2 hours and slowly the milk supply increased to 60ml and later to 120ml and she was able to feed her 3 kids on breastmilk.  

Now Rayes is on breastmilk and formula powder milk.  Hopefully, I can have more in the next few weeks time.  

How did I increase my milk supply?  

My secret.....

I had to pump and press hard on my breast to unblock my milk ducts everytime.  I swear it works!

Hopefully when I go for my post natal massages next week, the massage lady can help me to unblock my ducts even more.  Pls share with me your secrets to increasing milk supply if you have any.... Thanks!!


Qeite said...

Elaine, dont take too much fenugreek, it builds up gassiness in babies (thats what happened to me). Keep pumping! It sends signals to ur brain that more milk is needed.

I nurse every 2 hours, take oat (every morning & evening), have enough rest and stay happy.

Good luck!

mselaineheng said...

Thanks for the advice! ok... i will keep pumping cos i can't latch on for the time being. It is time consuming but i guess this is the way to continue.

Radhika said...


I am looking for a post natal massage lady. Could I have the contact for Mdm Rahimah?

Kindly email it to radhika_singh10

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi I need the contact for Rahimah, can you pleas email to me thanks..

My secret attic said...

Could you please share Madam Rahimah's contact.

Thank you.

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