Sunday, February 12, 2012

Take it from the non-expert!

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (February). For this month, we focus on back to basics. Participants will share advices - either the best breastfeeding advice they received OR/AND the best breastfeeding advice they can give to new moms.  Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries."














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I'm pretty sure you have heard, and probably agree, that unsolicited pieces of advice are easy to give, but dreadful to take. Interestingly enough, giving birth and  motherhood in our society attract as much unsolicited advise as a sweet nectar to a bee. Being a first-time mother - with looks of cluelessness silently screaming through my face almost all the time -  I sure did take the part of an easy prey. Had the advice been helpful? Well, a few helped, but most of the time, some things were better heard in one ear and then swiftly slipped out the other the reason being that, motherhood is a wonderful world of individuality.  Whatever works for you may not work for the others. And rather than insisting that other mothers out there take after what worked for me, let me  share with you instead my experiences in breastfeeding- the challenges that I have met, how I successfully surmounted some of them, and how the rest has remained victorious over me. At the end, please be the judge. You see, I am not an expert. Far from it. I am just as helpless as most of you are. So you can either take it from me - a non-expert, or just let my blabber swiftly slip out. After all, some advice should be taken  with a grain of salt, if not all.

1. When my milk supply was insufficient...

Like most first time breastfeeding mothers, I struggled with milk supply at the beginning. I was advised by the doctors from the hospital where I gave birth to supplement with formula milk until my breastmilk supply stabilized. Since I was so keen on breastfeeding, I tried to offer my breast to Zohan as often as I could. And I overdosed myself (and the whole household) with malunggay. Malunggay in the morning. Malunggay in the afternoon. Malunggay in the evening. Malunggay even in my dreams. There came a point that I could puke just at the sight of it, while the husband developed mammary glands complete with lactation with  the overdose of malunggay. In less than a week, my breastmilk supply increased. Tremendously at that, I could feed an entire barangay. 

The non-expert says... Malunggay overkill really works!

2. When my milk supply was too much...

We should really be careful with what we wish for. I hoped for a steady supply of breastmilk which was granted to the point of explosion. When Zohan was asleep, or did not want to nurse and I was lactating, I had to take in the pain of engorgement, and the shame of looking like two plates were plastered right in front of my shirt. Something had to be done. So  I asked the husband to look for a trusty breastpump to alleviate the pain of engorgement and also, to prepare for my going back to work. The problem of choosing the best pump was so humongous for a post-partum depressed mother, it deserved a post of its own, which you can read hereBut it all ended well. So when there's too much milk, go find a breast pump that you can call "the one".

The non-expert says...Go find a good pump, express milk, and store for future use.
 
3. When I went back to a demanding work...

After the maternity leave ended and I went back to work, my head spinned like crazy. Suddenly, I was at a loss at how I can cope with the new changes in my schedule. Busy as it was, I had to squeeze in pumping time, which was a good 15-30 minutes per session for five times a day! My solution was to become anti-social. After arriving at the office, pump time. Then work. By this time, my friends would be at the coffee room for breakfast,  calling me to join them. But I had to decline because I had to finish as much pleading-drafting as I could. After they're done, it was time to pump again. Work. Then lunch with friends. After lunch, I couldn't stay for coffee or dessert or chika, because again, I had to pump. Merienda time was spent in my room, and you guessed it right, by pumping milk. Before dinner and before going home, another pumping session. It was a sacrifice, indeed. For a while, I missed out on important stories from my friends. A lot of times, I felt so isolated and grown up. I also had to work overtime just so I could finish all my work and beat my deadline. And anti-social also meant no more time for social networks. *wink*

The non-expert says...Prioritize. Be anti-social, if necessary, and until you have adjusted to your new schedule.

4. When I am out of the office or on the road...

My schedule on item (3) above were the easy days. During days where I had a scheduled hearing or legwork, I had to carefully study and plan ahead. I had to make sure I pumped before leaving the house and I must be at the office after three hours, in time for the next pumping session. With heavy traffic and clogged court dockets and late judges, a three-hour travel time was impossible. What worked for me? I would normally excuse myself from the court staff, use their room and pump in a corner with just a nursing cover! If that was not possible, I had to take the pain and tenderness of my breasts filled with milk until I arrive at the office. There I would pump with a sigh of sooooo much relief! 

Whenever we go home to the province and we were stuck in traffic at the time of my pumping session, I pump inside the car just armed with a nursing cover. For this reason, I also had my Farlin manual breast pump ready, and my clothes should always be pumping-friendly.

I had a friend who pumped in the comfort room of malls, just to empty her breast and keep the milk-production system going. She would discard the collected milk after, for hygienic reasons obviously. This was also a sound advice, which I did not do though. For my mall days, I just had to cut the trips short and make sure to go home in time for my pumping schedule. Otherwise, I would have to bear with engorgement and tenderness until we arrived home.

The non-expert says...Pumaraan, so that you can pump whenever, wherever!

5.  When I couldn't go home to deliver collected milk as scheduled...

If you had been reading my blog, you would know that I left Zohan in the province with my in-laws for almost three months before we finally brought him to Manila. During those days, the husband and I would go home to him on Wednesdays and Fridays, and we would bring the milk which I collected while I was away from him. There were instances however, that the milk supply which I left would be consumed long before we arrived with the new supply. While waiting, he would supplement with formula, at least for a few feedings. Looking back, I know I could have done something about it, like go home thrice a week if necessary, just so he would not be fed with formula milk. I was a new mother adjusting with heavy workload and crazy schedule, and the husband was adjusting with the long drive home and getting up earlier than usual for work the next day. We did what we can do.  At any rate, those  backlash were only few in the story of my breastfeeding life. And since he arrived in Manila, I vowed to make sure he would be exclusively breastfed.

The non-expert says...Sometimes, James Ingram is right. I did my best, but I guess my best wasn't good enough. 


By far, these are the most difficult struggles that I had to face to continue breastfeeding my first born. At almost six months, I am still breastfeeding and feeling very happy and comfortable about it. There are challenges for sure. But nothing is impossible for an indefatigable advocate. I can only share with you my experiences in the hope that you may be inspired to breastfeed in the future, or that you may progressively advance if you have already commenced with the daunting task.  

You can take it from me. Or not.

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Please do check out the other carnival entries!


The Articulate Pen's Breastfeeding needs Patience
Diapers and Stethoscope's Back to Basic
My Mommyology's What I've Learned About Breastfeeding
Ms. Masungit's From One Mom To Another
The Odyssey of Dinna's Breastfeeding Words of Wisdom
Mrs. Bry126's We're All in this Together
I Am Clarice's Paying it Forward
My Mommy Kwentos' Sharing My Favorite Breastfeeding Advice
Planet Marsy's Better Than None
Mommy {T} Coach's Saved by the Nursing Mommas
Mama Drama's Patience and Breast-friends
Adventures on Planet Mom's Stubborn Me! Sure Glad I didn't give up
Nanaystrip's Eat Malunggay, Say "I Have Milk" and Love your Baby
Starting at Twenty-Five's My Husband's Best Breastfeeding Advice
Legally Mama's Take it from the non-expert!
Mommy Mama Rat's My Breastfeeding Mantra
Mr. Jacob's Mom's Breastfeeding Tips from a Non-Breastfed Mommy
Hybrid Rasta Mama's Breastfeeding Lists, Advice, Links and More
Apples and Dumplings' One Word of Breastfeeding Advice
Touring Kitty's Just Do It
EthanMama's Only the Best for My Baby
the canDIshhh tales' My Breastfeeding Advice
Mec as Mom's Enough is Enough
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom's On Breastfeeding Number Two - Redux

18 comments:

  1. i can completely relate. kasi at work, when everyone is on their 15-min break, im at the nursing station pumping like crazy. the only time i really eat is on my lunchbreak.

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  2. Yes to pumping anytime anywhere! My husband would look at me funny when I would bring my breastpump with me, and I'd just say, "just in case I can." You never know how, better to be safe than sorry!

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    1. Haha I can imagine what husbands had to go through having wives who express breastmilk. My husband's always carrying heavy bags left and right for all my paraphernalia. Thank God for our husbands :)

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  3. Still, good work mama for pursuing your breastfeeding goals!

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    1. I guess we all are the same in so many different ways. Motherhood is such a beauty!

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  5. This post cracked me up! And I do agree with you, "motherhood is a wonderful world of individuality." You do the best you can!

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    1. Yep! It won't hurt to ask around every once in a while, but for the most part, motherhood is something that's really uniquely our own making :)And yes, we always try to do the best we can :)

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  6. I was laughing so hard at the malunggay overdose! And I could totally relate. In my case, it mas malunggay supplement overdose. Have you read the recommended dosage at the side of the supplement boxes? It says 1-2 capsules a day. I took 3 capsules THREE times a day! But it worked! Hallelujah!

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    1. Hahaha. 3 capsules three times a day! Crazy! I can imagine it's you who could feed an entire barangay and not me hahaha! :)

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  7. It's inspiring to read other stories of mama's who do whatever it is that needs to be done in order to provide breastmilk to their babies! Keep up the good work!

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  8. Keep it up, sis! Kudos to you for doing your best as a mom, esp. a BFing mom! :) God bless always!

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  9. one of the moms in my office hand expressed milk for a year. i couldn't so for working mom, my advice would be to invest in a good pump! initial cash out is higher but savings in the long run from formula milk purchases would justify the purchase of a good pump. and yes, like you, i spent lunch breaks expressing milk when i was at the office - limiting coffee breaks and idle chitchats

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    1. Yup I really invested in a good pump. It's really expensive but come to think of it, the benefits really outweigh the price.

      Thanks for organizing the Milk Mama Diaries. I'm learning a lot from all the entries!

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