Yesterday marked my sixth week in my breastfeeding journey!
I’m so glad that we decided to breastfeed because Squishy seems to be on track weight wise and he seems to have hit every milestone so far! I’m glad, but it is not always easy.
When we prepared for breastfeeding, all the workshops we attended focused on two main problems: (1) seemingly low/insufficient milk supply and (2) latching difficulties.
The workshops bombard you with truths about how every mother has enough supply (for as long as the baby keeps sucking). And they teach you different techniques to help the baby latch. I prepared for these possible challenges by making sure I had enough breastfeeding supplements ready and I watched all the “proper” latching videos available.
What they don’t really talk about is what happens when you do have enough milk and your baby learns to latch quickly enough.
They kind of paint this picture of how beautiful and amazing breastfeeding is. And they’re not wrong—it can be pretty amazing. I love that I am able to provide the best alternative for Squishy. And there are moments when it truly is beautiful (there’s something addicting about holding your baby and I often catch Squishy sleep-smiling while he’s latched on ❤️). But they don’t really talk about how relentless, messy, and painful breastfeeding can be.
I remember being so tired one marathon feeding night (Squishy was basically up every 30 minutes to feed) and Mikey was fully willing to help, but it wasn’t like I could hand him my boobs and go to sleep. I remember crying in the morning when Mikey had to leave for work.
I remember trying to establish better sleep habits by feeding Squishy in the dark in the middle of the night. I couldn’t get him to latch right away, so there was milk on my pillows, Squishy’s face, and both our clothes.
I remember soaking through my reusable breast pads and smelling like old milk all day because I only had one nursing top left. This on top of the pregnancy weight I was still carrying and my inability to bathe until Mikey got home. I was not a pretty sight.
I remember my nipples sticking to my cloth breast pads because of the dried up milk. I remember the pain of peeling it off.
I remember cringing at the thought of the next feeding because my nipples were sore and I didn’t have any nipple cream yet. I tried using breast milk and air drying them in the meantime but I just started leaking everywhere.
But at six weeks, I can say that we’ve come to a point where almost all of our feeding sessions are enjoyable. I am grateful that I have the option to stay at home and commit to breastfeeding our baby. I am amazed at all the working moms who continue their breastfeeding journey even as they go back to work full time. But at the same time, I am equally in awe of moms who choose the formula route because I already feel like leaving the house with a breastfed baby is a production number, I can’t imagine all the extra prep you need to make milk on the go.
Here are some things that helped make breastfeeding easier for the first six weeks:
- Nursing pillow + extra little pillows – especially useful when Squishy was littler! But I still use it so that my arms don’t hurt from the cradle hold!
- VP Pharma’s Mega Malunggay capsules – I started taking this the day after Squishy was born. His pediatrician told me to take it 3 times a day. I still take it to this day! Maybe it’s a placebo, but it helps me feel more secure about my milk supply!
- Traditional Medicinals’ Mother’s Milk Tea – I drank this religiously for the first two weeks! Again, it may have been a placebo, but it was nice to have a warm drink on standby.
- A mom who would make me malunggay soup and omelettes. I think I may have overdid the malunggay. But I ate all the malunggay infused food my mom sent me.
- Gigi Amore’s nursing tank tops. This is my uniform at home. I started with one and asked my mom to get me two more and then my mother-in-law found more and bought me nine! So I now have a dozen! It’s comfortable and so easy to use with the drop down mechanism. And it’s only Php 399.00 for each top! It only comes in grey and pink though. I wish they made it in more colors.
- My iPhone SE. The battery is amazing, I can take great photos with it, and I can use it with one hand. Perfect breastfeeding companion.
- Mikey’s participation in all the breastfeeding workshops. In the beginning, Mikey really helped me: he would help me position Squishy so that he could get a deeper latch, he would remind me how to hand express when we were checking my colostrum supply, and he understood the role stress played in breastfeeding. It really helps if you and your partner are on the same page about your decision to breastfeed.
- Pigeon’s disposable breast pads. I tried using the reusable ones, but I would often soak through them and it would be a mess. It was also really painful when my nipples would stick to the cloth because of the dried up milk. It was also hard to wash them to get the milk smell out. Eventually, I realized that the disposable ones worked better for me because the back of the pad is plastic so it reduced leaks. I use about 1-2 pairs a day.
- Tiger water jug and coffee tumbler. Breastfeeding makes me really thirsty. I get hungry sometimes (and it’s a pain because sometimes the baby wakes up because of my grumbly tummy–so I always have a box of snacks next to my bed), but I get thirsty more. I love my tiger water jug and coffee tumbler because it keeps my water icy cold for more than 24 hours and if I have something hot in my tumbler, it stays warm for 8-10 hours. Perfect for the early days when you’re basically glued to your nursing station!
- Haakaa Breast Pump. There were times when it was difficult for Squishy to latch because there was too much milk. Or there were times when my boobs were very painful and it was not time to feed yet. During these times, I would use my Haakaa breast pump. It’s made out of silicone and you just suction it on to your boob and voila! The milk comes out! Definitely a must have for stay-at-home moms who direct feed most of the time and for working moms who get stuck in traffic where there’s no outlet for an electric pump!
Again, I don’t regret any of it! But I think we have to be okay to talk about how breastfeeding can be hard sometimes. ❤
Hello from our super expressive baby: