A booby post

No this isn’t a PSA announcement, but while on the topic…get a check up ladies!

It’s been one of those weeks where I received a couple calls and emails regarding breastfeeding and while I am by no means an expert on the topic (DISCLAIMER!!!) I thought I’d share my thoughts, experiences and challenges over the  past few months. I’m still more than happy to have a  chat though…this isn’t my way of getting out of it.

Growing up in a South Asian culture it was a  given that  babies were breastfed. In a large extended family not one baby was formula fed. And so I  never thought much of it till I became pregnant and heard about the challenges new mothers face, the pressure to breastfeed and the many campaigns doing everthing short of paying mums to breastfeed. Wow. Today I read that only a little over 17% of Canadian babies are solely breastfed till 6 months. That surprised me quite a bit because  I have an even split of breastfed vs. formula vs. both in my inner circle.

As with most ladies the first three days were challenging, here was a baby in my hand and there are the nurses pressuring me to feed around the clock while I’m are trying to recover and more over I didn’t really see much coming out of them boobs. Egad! Am I starving the kid already? Oh well, maybe she’ll be a model. KIDDING! I was fortunate enough to have both sets of moms with me and they provided great guidance. St. Mike’s for the most part had great programs and staff in place to ensure we breastfed. However there was an incident when one nurse pressured me to get information on formula just because she saw the husband offering his finger to soothe the baby a couple times. She assumed that I  didn’t want to breastfeed (which wasn’t the case…the  baby was merely soothing and we didn’t have a soother with us).  I fought her off with three solid “NO THANKS!”. I also received numerous calls over the course of the first month asking if I needed additional help with breastfeeding , anyone else receive these too?

Once we got home I  had the issue of being well engorged with excess supply dripping all over the house (no one wants to wear any garments that 1st week!!) and the Little Monkey wasn’t latching  on.  And we didn’t have a cat to clean up the floor. I didn’t worry too much about it but when we went to sign up for a  family doctor there was an amazing lactation consultant who I cannot  recommend enough! She told me it’s fine for me to start pumping so that I can maintain the supply and to offer the baby both,  the bottle and the breast, and to go from there. Sure enough that worked for us! The Little Monkey wasn’t able to latch on because of the engorgement and now she takes both (THANKFULLY!!) with no issues. My issue was excess supply and thanks to some solid advice from my sister in law I ended up freezing a few bags instead of dumping the excess. So my advice to any new mum experiencing pain and pressure to dual up, try and stick it out for a  week  (but listen to your doctor if they suggest otherwise, especially  if you aren’t at full term). If you do have to supplement with formula, then keep pumping (even if you don’t see anything coming out) with every feed for atleast 10/15 minutes. If all goes well, the supply will match your baby’s needs.

I kept the boobs dry as much as possible and always air dried and luckily did not encounter any chapping business.  But I was told that vitamin E rubbed on the area helps. Mixed reviews out there on how good it is for the baby.

Recently I was hit with a bout of food poisoning which  might have been some sort of viral flu. I was bed ridden with the worst cramps and I couldn’t fathom breastfeeding at the time. Doctors say you can breastfeed with no danger of passing the virus to the  baby, but for me it wasn’t an option.  Luckily those bags I froze at the start came in use (just barely had enough) and I was back to  feeding after a 24 hour hiatus. Only issue was that my supply was hit! My sister in law had the same thing happen to her. It’s a scary feeling knowing that one of your boobs has decided to take a holiday. You just wonder if they decided to retire permanently and after four days of this I was mega worried. Google did not help with a long list others  who had experienced the same thing (as it usually tends to do so). So I decided to keep pumping the  lazy boob while I fed with the working one. I did this after every feed. On day five I was close to supplementing but  found another bag in the freezer and used that to fill in the gaps. For me instant oatmeal (maple flavour) made with milk (not water) helps my supply. I was eating this twice a day. I also drank fenugreek seeds boiled in water before bedtime. The two of these helped me get back to normal after a week. Lesson learned… I  now pump every morning (that’s when my supply is at excess) and freeze a 4 oz. bag. These are good up to 6 months but I try to use them within the first 3 months. I love my nights out so these always come in use. This post speaks to drinking and breastfeeding if you need advice.

My advice to all you ladies, if you aren’t able to breastfeed there is no reason to feel guilty about it, that’s just the way it is and formula fed babies are just as healthy and cute! If you are  able to and WANT to, keep at it and don’t give up. Those first few weeks are tough and then on occasion you encounter random things that hit your supply…but it comes back up. By the way…anyone experience a shortage of supply due to Vitamin B6? I think that affected me as well!

Toronto and many other countries are working hard to ensure that there’s a comfortable atmosphere for new mums to breastfeed in public and I hope they continue to do so. Now I just wish Canadian companies would step up and make friendly accommodations/arrangements as well. I’d go back to work in a heartbeat if I found the right opportunity with a company that encourages new mums!

Anyone else have breastfeeding stories, tips and tricks they’d like to share? Comment away!

  • loucheryl
    April 15, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Great post. I enjoyed reading it as a nursing mommy. 🙂

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