Friday, May 17, 2013

Nursing Iris, The Trying Stage

It doesn’t really matter how many times you have given birth to. It is not relevant of how much or how long you have tried to breastfeed your child before you gave birth to the next one. It doesn’t count how much knowledge you have gained throughout your nursing experience with your other child before.

Generally most women will face the same nursing problem. This I gather when talking and exchanging notes with other nursing mothers, irrelevant whether they are new mommies or experienced mommies.

The first days when I held Iris for feeding I doubted myself that I ever had anything to feed her. I didn’t feel anything flow out from my breast and when pinched the nipple, I could see nothing comes out from it, so I was very sure that I did not have milk on my first day. Nevertheless, I still insisted on breastfeeding. Everytime, I prayed hard that my precious milk will flow eventually. Sadly, Iris couldn’t latch on. Either she didn’t know how to latch on properly or I didn’t know how to make her latch on. Either or… I failed. Everytime she tried to get some milk, she cried and screamed her lungs out coz nothing came out from the nipple. I bet she must have been very hungry. .

I was at a very trying stage. I wanted to give her the best; I believe all mothers do want to give their best to their child. I wanted Iris to have the first taste of my milk.

Going back to the night I gave birth to Iris, where I held her close to my chest, I almost hear her heartbeat. Although I tried to feed her, I knew that there wasn’t any milk yet. I murmured under my breath “Minum ye, ntah ada tidak susu mama ni”. The gynae must have heard me and she said “That’s ok. You got very good nipples there. Just let her keep sucking. Babies can live without milk for 5 days. InsyaAllah by the third day you’ll have your milk. But you must not stop her from sucking”. I held on to those words so tight. Although mom, MIL and aunties kept on pushing me to buy formula milk, I was so very stubborn, masuk telinga kanan keluar telinga kiri. Painfully, I let her cry and cry and cry for milk. A LOT OF WOMEN GO THROUGH THIS PHASE.

Alhamdulillah true enough, milk has started to fill up my breast by the third day. But due to latching on problem, Iris couldn’t be fed directly for long. My nipples were sore and sometimes bleeding. A LOT OF WOMEN GO THROUGH THIS PHASE. So I had to express my milk and let Iris drink from the bottle. But when I pump, I hardly get 2 oz both breasts. Still, I was so upset that I could not feed till full. She was only drinking 1oz per feeding from the bottle. So she was still crying hungrily. I cried together with her because I was helpless. The third night was the ultimate night, she cried non-stop. When we fed her from the bottle, the milk went inside her tummy and there was a sound like filling up an empty tong. I felt so sorry for my baby. That night, my mom, hubby and I cried together looking at Iris crying hungrily. For the 100th time, mom told hubby to buy formula milk. And for the 1st time, I agreed with that. I wasn’t giving up. I just wanted to feed my baby whatever ways.

That night I called up everyone I know in case they have breastshield so I dont feel so much pain when direct nursing. Unfortunately, nobody had. Iris didn't want to be fed through the sore nipple, she probably didnt like the taste. I didnt have formula milk to give her and expressing milk wasnt yielding great amount of milk. God, that was the longest night of my life. 

So the next day when we went for Iris’ jaundice checkup, hubby immediately bought S26 milk, the same kind I took when I was a baby. I took the opportunity to ask the doctor if I could be prescribed with the pill that can boost up my milk production. However, doctor was kind of against it as she said looking at my tender breasts, she knew I should be producing enough milk. And she told me that I shouldn’t judge my ability to produce milk based on what I could express. Babies can suck better than any other breastpump. So since my breasts were engorged, she advised me to continue expressing milk, wash and massage my breasts with warm water, and apply minyak gamat or nipple cream. However, I must make sure that I direct feed Iris at least twice in a day to give better stimulation.

I did exactly as how I was advised. I mixed the feeding with at most 3oz of S26 milk in a day. The rest I made sure she had my breastmilk. Sometimes, the days when I wasn’t very tired, and when I could express more, I didn’t have to feed her with formula milk. Alhamdulillah, this only went on for about three weeks or so, without realizing it, my nipples had recovered very well, I almost forgot how it supposed to look like. By the time of recovery, Iris was already fully fed on breasts and I could even start to express for extra stocks for the future.

Believe me when I say almost all mothers (majority) will go through the engorged breasts, the pain, the latching on problem, milk production problem, and that sort of things whether or not it is their first time. The only difference that experienced mom will enjoy is their calmness when going through these trying period. Because of their experiences, they know that they are not alone; these are common problems and need not to be worried.

No matter how much experience you have, every baby is first timer. Not all babies know how to latch on properly. And as how you always hear every pregnancy is different, be assured that every nursing period are different for different babies. For example I have a friend that had moderate milk when nursing first child, very little milk during her second child but had so much excessive milk for her third child. 

I may not have that much experience to advice, but I have so many friends around me with different level of experience, so I gathered my thoughts during our sharing sessions.

So do not worry like how I was. It is normal not to have milk in the beginning, if you are strong enough to hear her cry, you can wait till the fourth or fifth day but watch out for any signs of dehydration. If you are not strong enough, it is ok to supplement your babies with formula milk until you can produce enough. There is nothing wrong with giving formula milk, but try to give the good ones, you can check with your paed which ones are recommended. I would also advise not to give babies water, my paed was strongly against it. But if you are at any point where there is no formula milk and no breast milk, I guess it is ok to give a little bit of water. Don’t be too rigid. Like my MIL once said “korang dulu tu pon, omma bagi minum air, hidup je”. Oh Well..
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