Why I Breastfed for Three Months

This is part of ‘Why I Breastfed for…’ Blog Train

I was a first time mom, beaming with pride and joy when my baby boy, Blake, entered our lives in September 2010.

Little did I know that the very first thing that I would ‘fail’ as a mother was being unable to provide him with milk.

You see, my milk didn’t kick in till more than a week after giving birth. I had a terrible, terrible time trying to breastfeed him, even though he latched on well. And, he had the cutest way of latching on. He would shake his head with his mouth wide open before attacking my breasts. I never knew how he could aim so well, even though his eyes were closed most of the time!

Despite the good latching, I suffered a bout of dry spell.

This dry spell in the first week nearly drove me, and everyone around me, nuts. Blake was constantly crying, and constantly trying to go at my breasts. I tried pumping to see how much milk I had, but there was nothing. I was so caught up in the whole “breastmilk only” concept that I refused to give Blake anything else to drink. On hindsight, maybe this was why he was colicky. My poor baby was just sucking air into his stomach. I’m so sorry, Blake!

When the dry spell was finally over, I was hit by twin floods.


The minimum per pump, every 2 hours

It just wouldn’t stop flowing! I should be glad by now, that I had all the milk and more to feed Blake with, but I’m not. I became even more miserable.

If I’m not breastfeeding Blake, I was attached to a single breast pump (please buy twin pumps, fellow moms-to-be). And if I slept, I woke up in a pool of milk – 3-4 breast pads placed together on each side soaked all the way through to my clothes and bed.

I felt dirty and sticky all the time.

And in case you’re wondering how I woke up in a pool of milk, it’s because I tried my best to sleep through the pain of engorgement, while Sean wakes up for night feeding duties (we gave Blake formula for night feed).

For some reason unknown to me, I became really disgusted with my own breastmilk. I never kept any of it longer than 24 hours in the fridge. The idea of freezing it, and then giving it to him months later really made me gag. Insane, right?

Besides throwing out and wasting all that milk, I was battling with myself internally, and clearly pushing myself to the brink of post-natal depression.

Sean told me that it’s okay if I decided to stop breastfeeding. My mom came forward and told me it was okay to stop breastfeeding too. But nope, I didn’t want to listen to them. All I could think of was, “What do they know? They are not the mother of my child! I know what’s best!” And by best, it’s whatever strange articles I had been reading online back then, which told me that I must and only breastfeed my baby for 6 months. Nothing else!

That is, until Sean snapped and said something along this line:

“Your breastmilk is only as good as what you eat, and how you feel. It’s basically rubbish if you’re not eating well and not feeling right!”

My mom also revealed the following to me, most likely not in her own words, but I remember it as:

“I breastfed all of you for two weeks only, and you all turn out well what! We don’t have the privilege of having 4 months maternity leave in the past, ok?”

I reckon they didn’t have breast pumps back then either, or are at least crazily priced!

For some reason, after hearing Sean and my mother snap at me (I was very vulnerable, so just raise your voice a little, and I’ll consider it snapping at me), my head cleared.

I decided to stop breastfeeding once and for all, and go full on formula for Blake. After the breastmilk stopped flowing, I felt better. I felt more like myself again. I was definitely happier and actually enjoyed spending time with Blake. Before that, all I could think of was horrible things to do to him and myself to end my ‘suffering’.

It took me three months into motherhood to learn that I should love myself first, before I can provide all the love and care necessary to Blake. It’s definitely not wrong to put yourself first in cases like these.

I like how my younger sister put it, “Even on board planes, you put on the oxygen mask first before putting it on your child in an emergency.” She’s 11 years younger than me, but so, so wise.


Back in December 2010, around the time I stopped breastfeeding

Needless to say, when Nakayla came along, I know better to listen to my own body and mind, than to take the advice on the internet as it is. I stopped when I decided it was time to, which was after my confinement, as I had to resume full on baby duty in the day, and my usual household duties. I no longer have the luxury of someone else doing my work for me. Thank goodness for the husband who shares the load with me!

I hope by sharing my breastfeeding journey, it will help fellow mommies, who might be caught in the same situation as I did. Do know that it is okay to stop breastfeeding any time. Remember, Mommy first! :P

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Tomorrow Jiahui will be sharing her 6 months breastfeeding journey. Do drop by to find out why she breastfed for 6 months!

Jiahui blogs at Mum’s the Word. She’s a self-declared brand new mum of 3, having realised each day marks a new lesson about her kids. She blogs to help herself remember each experience, so she can pick out what she did right, and with that, what went wrong.

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This post is part of a Blog Train hosted by Madeline at MadPsychMum. Head on over to read the other breastfeeding stories by Singapore Mom Bloggers!

Comments

  1. Amazinh story Mabel! You are so right about listening to the body!!!

    • mabel :) says:

      I’m so glad I managed to snap out of it, otherwise I think I’ll be kind of a drag to hang out with. Haha!

  2. I totally know what u mean by dirty and sticky!! And I literally feel heart pain for u when u threw your milk away! Thanks for sharing your story, and being so brave to do so. I’m sure it will encourage a lot of people who feel the same way!

    • mabel :) says:

      On hindsight, I really did waste a lot of milk. Imagine all the money I could’ve saved! But I was clearly not thinking right back then. Haha.

  3. Wow ! I wish I had ur supply of bm !! I’m still struggling to give her with my not so much supply hahahaa !

    • mabel :) says:

      Ya, during that time, my grandma said I was wasting a lot of milk (cos I just kept pouring) and that I should give them to my aunt (she gave birth 9 months earlier) to feed my baby cousin. But I just couldn’t stand the idea at all! I was very disgusted by my own breastmilk then!

  4. Thanks for sharing! I love what your husband said… so right. And I so totally feel you… my baby latched real well too, but i wasn’t really producing milk… just a few drops they look so pathetic… after 2 weeks, I ate pig liver accidentally and my milk stopped producing totally. I was quite depressed for some time. I really feel so much better after reading your post. I seen so many posts on happy mothers breastfeeding and I would cry nonstop after reading. I finally see a post that is comforting, encouraging, and I can relate to. :)

    • mabel :) says:

      Hi Ada, thanks for dropping by, and I’m so glad that I managed to help in some way :)

      I didn’t know pig liver could stop milk production completely! Wow! I thought only cold cabbage did the trick.

      Breastfeeding is really not for everyone, I guess. But as mothers, I’m sure we do our best in every way, with breastmilk or not! Don’t worry too much and stress yourself out over it, alright? As long as our babies are healthy, that’s all that really matters!

  5. you know, i wrote the same thing in my book to poppy, because my supply only arrived after 5 days, but unlike you, i wasn’t overflowing like a river. i took fenugreek until it was spilling out of my ears. i went on domperidone which was supposed to increase milk supply (it did, 5ml per pump session only!) but it caused me to be extremely drowsy. so i wrote: “i wish i could fully breastfeed you, but if all these things i’m doing make it difficult for me to be a good mother to you, then i will choose motherhood over breastfeeding anytime”. turns out i managed to nurse her for about 17 months despite not having a good supply. we do have to take care of ourselves first, so that we can take care of them :)

    • mabel :) says:

      Wow! Now I feel quite ashamed with all that milk wastage back then… To think quite a number of mommies are doing everything they can, like you did, just to have more milk for their babies…

  6. petrina says:

    Don’t mind me, I just feel it’s sheer wastage of LIQUID GOLD to be disposed just like that.
    The amount of DHA & Colostrum, pre & pro biotics that you threw away.
    Parents spend tons of money buying them in capsule and powder form. Those are synthetically manufactured and you threw away pure organic ones that no others could replicate apart from yourself.
    WOW! Just WOW…

    • mabel :) says:

      Hi Petrina,

      I don’t mind you at all. In fact, I’d like to thank you for dropping by :)

      I do know the amount of breastmilk I threw away at that time was a huge waste of ‘goodness’. But, please know that I wasn’t exactly in my best state of mind then. I was disgusted with my own breastmilk and on the verge on post-natal depression. The only logical thing to me back then was to get rid of that disgusting liquid, so that I don’t have to see it every single time I opened the fridge door.

      I’ll let you in on a secret… My second child, Nakayla, drank every last drop of my breastmilk :)

      I’m just glad that your comment came in only now when I’m well, and not a few years ago, when I was truly in a bad, bad place.

      • Excellent reply Mabel! Breastfeeding is not just about the milk. It is about the bonding between mother and child. We were brought up with FM and I do not have any devastating disease. Nobody has the right to tell you what you should or not do with your milk. I wholeheartedly agree wit

  7. ‘continue… with what your husband said. You made the right choice. BF fanatics must understand mothers are more than milk machines or chopped liver. Spare a thought for the mothers before throwing harsh words. Kapish?

  8. Mabel, great job! Just follow your heart, don’t mind what other people say.

    • mabel :) says:

      Thank you, Waiwai! Support between mothers is really important, come to think about it. Everyone’s journey and story is different, even between children. To have one another’s understanding is really great! :D

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