Motherhood

Oh ho! Liquid gold!

Let me preface the post by saying that this is going to about me and my mammaries, mmmkay? Scoot off if you are not interested in reading all about their exploits.

One thing that I got asked a lot after I had delivered Aidan was whether I was breastfeeding. In short, yes. Besides the many health benefits that breast milk has, it made both practical and financial sense. We can save our pennies on buying expensive formula and it’s so convenient. No need to sterilize and wash bottles, just pop the kid onto your boob and voila! A fed and happy kid!

Before I started breastfeeding, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I had read all about the various pains and problems, like mastitis and engorgement and low supply. But just like motherhood, what you had read about would never adequately prepare you for what is to come.

Thankfully, Aidan latched like a champ the first time we nursed, two hours after he was born. The nurses at Mount Alvernia hospital were wonderful and gave me loads of guidance. He was brought to me every three hours for feeds and the staff absolutely respected my desire to total breastfeed him. Not once did anyone suggest otherwise.

I was lucky that I never faced any real problems when it came to breastfeeding. His latch was perfect on one side and a little wonky on the other – that was readily fixed by a nurse angel during our hospital stay when Aidan was warded for jaundice. The boobies toughened up quickly and by the second week, we were nursing like pros. My only real ‘problem’ is plugged milk ducts, which usually went away after a couple of days, thanks to vigorous massage on my part and my little man’s constant nursing.

So really, we were fortunate in the physical aspect of it all. However, I have to say that most of my mental anguish came from our families.

Perhaps it’s due to the lack of education but our parents’ generation were not brought up on the ‘breast is best’ mentality and both sets of parents seemed perplexed by the fact that we were not feeding our baby formula. I still remember my mother-in-law cooing over a wailing Aidan at the hospital and saying, “Are you hungry? Shall we fix up a bottle of milk for you?”

My in-laws have also been dropping hints about supplementing Aidan with formula milk. They wondered if his lack of sleep was due to low milk supply, and if I couldn’t keep up with Aidan’s needs since I looked “pale and thin”. They would also like to have Aidan on formula so that he isn’t reliant on my breast milk and can stay with them for longer periods of time. My mother has been nagging at me to feed him some formula so that he wouldn’t reject the stuff when we eventually wean him off breast milk. And every time Aidan cries, the elders would comment that he is “hungry” and hadn’t had “enough milk”.

All these aren’t exactly encouraging for a first-time mother who is anxious about feeding her child. As it is, breastfeeding is tough enough for a woman. Do I have enough supply? Is Aidan putting on enough weight? Is he drinking the ‘right’ milk (ie. hind milk versus fore milk)? Is he wetting enough diapers and pooping enough? Is the color of the poop right? All these questions and more plagued my first few weeks as a breastfeeding mama. It wasn’t until recently, when Mr A more than doubled his weight (from when we left the hospital), that I finally relaxed and felt confident about breastfeeding.

I don’t know how long I can keep going at it, especially when I get back to work. My initial target was to breastfeed until the end of my maternity leave, and then for another two months, if possible, making it six full months of breastfeeding. As for the rest of it, we’ll see.

But in the meantime, it’s gratifying to see my little man grow and become the potato that he is today, thanks to the wonder of my breast milk.

16 thoughts on “Oh ho! Liquid gold!”

  1. Yann,
    Aidan so adorable and a cute potato. He has really grown.
    Btw pls dont ever succumb to the pressure others made in regards to his milk intake. Breast milk, mother milk, liquid gold is simply the best!
    I had my fair share of “not enough milk” accusations thrown at me. And as first time mummy i top up with formula cause my milkflow not enough. N with bottle feeds come nipple confusion and eventually my lil girl decides she too impatient to latch. You are blessed to have sufficient supply for Aidan. Long gone the days when i get heated arguments over introducing bottle too early. I miss the days she latches on and that cute sweet face sucking away. I now express out my milk and feed her as much as i can provide.

    Enjoy yr bond with Aidan that breastfeeding brings. Long live Liquid Gold!

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  2. Baby boy looks so chubby and cute ๐Ÿ™‚ Definitely well nourished.

    Love his satisfied expression in that shot and those cheeks are irresistible. No question that he’s a healthy baby.

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  3. i totally understand your frustration. went through the same accusations too and it is sheer determination that allowed me to bf little E till now.

    am really happy that bf-ing is working out so well for you. and really, it will only get better and better ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. You obviously know my experience with boob milk so I’m not going to go into that! lol! Go with your gut feeling Hun and whatever you decide it’s fine. Babies are hardy little things, people give them less credit than they deserve. Obviously boob milk is the holy grail but if situation changes and you adjust. Don’t let other people’s opinion get on to you because at the end of the day, you are Aidan’s mum. xx

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  5. You’re doing really well, babe. I mean, just look at those cheeks of his! The satisfied drunken look after a feed is just priceless yea? Just take things one step at a time. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. you’re looking at grandparent anxiety and the bf issue is just the start. Put your foot down and raise your kid your way. I totally believe you can do it!

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  7. I feel you. I had the same problem with my MIL. I broke down a couple of times because I felt so demoralized with the constant (By constant, I mean EVERYDAY.) “Hungry again?!”, “Pump, so we can see how much milk he is drinking.”, “Why never poo today? Not enough milk is it?”. I felt so lousy and almost succumbed to formula, she wants that so why not? It has been two months and I still get that time to time.

    But hey, my little boy is HEAVY now, almost twice his weight from birth. I’m so proud of myself!

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  8. Aww that photo melted my heart ๐Ÿ™‚ The best reward for breastfeeding is seeing the bub grow fat and healthy!

    The older generation don’t understand the fuss about breastfeeding. But don’t give up just cos of the not-so-supportive comments. It will get harder when you start working, but I find it a wonderful way to re-connect with baby after a day’s work!!

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  9. Blame the pharma companies and their Nazi-style marketing. Our parents were taught that formula is NECESSARY. Rubbish.

    Ounce for ounce, the baby needs less breast milk than formula because breast milk has more nutrients and those nutrients are more easily absorbed. So don’t worry if he doesn’t seem to be getting “enough”. You can be sure he’ll let you know if he’s not one satisfied customer.

    PM me when you start to think about formula. Don’t want to rant here in case the pharma companies put me in detention camp!

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  10. If you have questions or doubts or need some moral support (or just ammunition to win arguments!), try contacting La Leche League. I am sure they have a branch in Singapore.

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  11. Yes our parents were brainwashed into thinking that formula is better than breastmilk. But we know better! Tune out the well-meaning though erroneous suggestions and they will pipe down eventually.

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  12. Do what you think is right … you’re the mummy, and you alone will reap the fruits/bear the repercussions. So … you get the final say.

    I faced this problem too with my first kid. MIL breastfed her 4 kids, but somehow refused to believe that I would have enough milk for my kid. Meanwhile, my mum was one of those who had been brain washed into think that formula is better. This, on top of my delivery and other stresses, made me stop especially after my kid was hospitalised for high fever.

    Fast forward to 2nd baby. MIL couldnt care less (or rather, she was told to back off), while mum was busy looking after the first kid. So I was pretty much left to my own. And I breastfed for a year and a half (yes, you can do it even when working). In the end, MIL was proven wrong, while mum became a convert of breastfeeding. Now she makes sure my niece and nephew are breastfed!

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