Friday, 25 December 2020

My (Short) Breastfeeding Journey

Assalamualaikum,

I was contemplating whether I should share my breastfeeding journey but I had a feeling it would be helpful to other struggling mothers out there so here I am. 

I was struggling for nearly 3 months but I'm lucky because I was not stressed. Ya get what I mean? I was frustrated, yes. Tired, yes but my mental health was not affected, thank God.

If you read my pregnancy post, you'll know that I was looking forward to breastfeeding my baby. I went and join a couple of classes and I'm ready! I understood the demand-supply concept, I made notes and I research some more. Bought all the nursing supplies (LOTS OF THEM).

So when the baby came, I had the opportunity to give her colostrum (the thick super nutritious breast milk). At the hospital, the nurses fed her formula milk and that's okay with me. I'm not #TeamAgainstFM. I thought that's okay, I'll exclusively breastfeed her at home. On several occasion that I tried to direct feed her, she cried, I was a little awkward, and it hurts to hold her for a long time since I had back problem. Then I resorted to being an EP Mom (Exclusive pumping mom - where you express your milk and feed the baby via bottle). Once in a while, I still direct feed her while lying down but she tends to sleep halfway through 😂

Before deciding to buy a breast pump, I rent them from Fabulous Mom to have a go at it. My yield was very little, so we supplemented with formula milk. The confinement lady made many lactation inducing dishes using radish, mustard green (sawi) etc. I also had lactation massages every day. Then I went to buy the Spectra 9+ breast pump thinking, my struggle will be temporary. 

I started to pump every 2-3 hours to create demand (demand-supply concept) and power pump every night. Normally, this should work. Two months in, no changes! In between that, I've taken numerous lactation cookies, even made some on my own! Whatever tips I came across, I tried; Shaklee ESP, kurma, sunflower lecithin, red dates tea etc

I know something was not right. Because I have done everything by the book. So I went to HBM Breastfeeding Centre in Shah Alam for counselling. I tried to direct feed again but the yield was still too low. It was super tiring to pump every now and then only to see super low yield! I met with another lactation consultant (Kak Nad) and she suggested for me to meet a doctor and do some tests. 

Lo and behold, the test showed that I had hormone (prolactin) deficiencies. The prolactin level for 3 months postpartum ladies should be at least 100. Guess what's mine? 8! No matter what I did, it will be impossible for me to breastfeed. 

I was so relieved! Finally, an answer!

However, there is still a way for hormone-deficient ladies to breastfeed. The doctor offered to prescribe a medication, DomPeridon which usually was given to adopting mother who wanted to breastfeed their child without first being pregnant. But the meds could have side effects to the heart, you need to do ECG bla bla bla. So N and I decided, that's it. I already did my best in the first 3 months and my baby is growing just fine with formula milk. 

I had a sense of freedom when I stopped pumping. No more pumping every other hour. I sold some of the nursing supplies, some I gave away. And ultimately, everyone is happier.

It doesn't make sense to be sad over this as I am so thankful for the baby. 
A well-fed baby is better than none. 
Alhamdulillah 😍

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