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Zoe Raymond|Fitness & Yoga|Beauty & Fashion

A week into being a Mother & the biggest challenge- Breastfeeding.

A week into being a Mother! There's still so much to learn. For the past week, my focus was on feeding and I have left everything else to the husband. He learnt how to bathe, change her diaper, swaddle. He burps Arielle very well too! He has been so encouraging, especially helpful at the time where I wanted to give up on breastfeeding cause my supply was little. I said I don't think I can do this. When I was at an all low on our first night back home, he said to me "You are doing a great job, love! You gave birth to her!"!

This was a video and pictures on Day 4 postpartum, the very first night back at our hood. Hungry baby, sleepy Daddy and (a trying) milk machine Mommy. We had a really hard time cause I feed on demand and she needed much more than I could provide.

Today, at Day 7, we have over 2000ml of breast milk in the freezer. But the video on Instagram shows how rockbottom we started too, we started off feeding off a syringe cause that's how little I had from pumping (after I fed her). So what we wanted to achieve was, latch her and pump out some for the nanny to feed her 3 hourly, so we can get some rest. But it was nowhere impossible. So the nanny carried Arielle over every hour.

Thankfully for us, towards the end of Day 4, my supply became consistent and more each time!

I've so many of you asking me for tips on breast feeding. I didn't take any supplements like fenugreek as my gynae said that it causes colic when baby feeds on your breast milk. I wouldnt say that I have tips, I am still so new into motherhood. But I have written down what I have been taught and hope that it will be helpful to you like it was for me.

  1. You may have seen my Instagram stories on how thankful I am for a husband who has been the one reading up and researching. He signed us up for a 2-hour breast feeding course at The Breastfeeding Mothers' Support Group Singapore (BMSG)- a non-profit, mother-to-mother support organization. We paid $35 for the course. We took it when I was 36 weeks pregnant so we can remember all that we need! The course was very informative, teaching now us ways to latch the baby, and the trainers even pass around a toy baby for us to practice. They even invited a new mother to share her BF journey and gave us the chance to "interview" her!
    There was this one (and only) slide that I took a photo of- I took it to be reminded how little our baby need at the start so there is nothing to stress ourselves about. The next course is March 17, do try to take the course as close to your EDD as possible!
  2. There's a whatsapp group created with the mommies from the same course batch and and everyone shares their ups and downs there, any concerns will be answered by the volunteer counselers in the group chat!
  3. I think it's vital to be very consistent and persistent right from the start. Arielle latched on right after I was wheeled back to my room from the operating theatre. 
  4. On Day 2, Raffles Hospital's nurses asked me to start pumping. There may not be any milk but pumping helps stimulate milk production. I use Spectra S1 which I got from Mothercare.
  5. Raffles Hospital nurses help massage my breasts for me at least twice a day. They even ask me to call for them whenever I want to latch or pump!
  6. Nutritious food and breast massages from my PEM Confinement Nanny!
  7. Nanny also mentioned that because Arielle is a full term baby, she sucks very well so she helps me to clear my ducts which encourages milk supply.

What Alvin and I have decided to do now is to let Arielle latch on as much as possible. 100% in the day. She feeds on an average of 3 hourly. But we look out signs like she starts to lick her lips or toss in bed to tell that she's hungry. A baby's last resort is to cry so we try to be more observant. Her last latch on is usually at about 11PM and our confinement nanny gives her my expressed milk via bottle at nights. That doesn't mean I do nothing!! Cause I still got to wake up 3 times, also at about 3 hours interval to express- cause of engorged breasts. In the day when she latches, I do not express- I use Hakka to collect the leaking milk.

Started to use Tommee Tippee bottles for her night feeds and the milk bags!

Day 5- How my nanny bottled some of the expressed milk for Arielle's night feed.
Even though I do not latch Arielle on at nights now, I still wake up every 2-3 hours to express cause the engorgement is there. Each time, I express about 160ml. With or without Arielle latching on, the leaking boob/ expressed amount is about 160ml. Mothers may be concerned I express out all, but I do not.

Day 7- The nanny have advised me to start freezing the milk. She mentioned it's said to be able to be kept got 6 months but she recommends just 3 months.

Everything Tommee Tippee, the sterilize, milk bottles, milk storage bags- all can be purchased from Mothercare

I use Spectra S1 for pumping. It is a hospital grade pump and been very effective for me. We intend to get more bottles so we do not have to sterilize so often. The Spectra S1 set has the pump and 2 bottles. I use Hakka for the leaking boob. So when Arielle latches on one breast, the other breast will be "activated" as well so Hakka is a suction cup that helps collect the milk so nothing goes to waste! I got both items from Mothercare.

Hakka for the leaking boob!

Alvin searched for an app for us to to record her feeding times, diaper changing times, milk expressing times and the quantity of milk I've expressed. There are a lot of apps around and we are using Baby Tracker.

The first orange row, first button is when she latches on directly. Second button is when she is fed with my expressed milk via the bottle. Remember I said that I enter how pumped amount in the app too? The app very smartly deducts the inventory, telling me how much I have left in the fridge/ freezer. See 4th big row, inventory is 1960ml.

So back to the video here, we started off feeding off a syringe! I had a caesarian which some mothers told me milk production will take a little longer. But I did it by Day 4 through perserverance. Fear not, dear mothers and mothers to be! We are braver than what we believe and stronger than what we think!

And one more reason to preserve on is you can lose weight really fast. I've lost 5.5kg in less than a week. I was 55kg at Week 40 preggy and gained 11kg.
EDIT: I have some mothers telling me that my milk supply is high (probably) because I was taking a lot of avocados when I was pregnant. I take half an avocado almost every day during my last trimester. I was already including avocados into my breakfast in trimester 2- but not as frequently. I took it cause of it's good fats and highly recommended by my gynae to increase baby's weight too. Aside from healthy fat, avocados are a good natural source of folate, a B vitamin known to help prevent birth defects when taken during pregnancy, iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E etc.

Some people find that avocados can help prevent and cure nausea, and so they eat them first thing in the morning to help balance their bodies for the coming day. The scientific reason for this is probably because of the amount of vitamin B6 in avocados.

 I take it with biscuits or just on it's own with some lemon juice squeezed onto it. My Gynae, Dr. Cordelia Han from Raffles Hospital does not recommend durians cause of the high sugar content which is said to result in a bigger baby's adomoinal.

When I've delivered, almost every meal that my PEM nanny Ivy cooks for me have a fish. She said that salmon is very good for milk supply. Red date tea helps too. Besides food intake which just helps supplement the mother's blood and water loss too, the most important factor is the emotion of the mother. She has to be relaxed, have enough sleep and have the support of her husband. Should a mother be tensed up, stressed over lack of milk supply, her body will not be able to produce the milk well. Nanny Ivy's exact words were "The milk will jam". Time and time again, she stressed that every mother has enough milk for their child, it's stress that causes her not to be able to produce.

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