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.
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! 😛
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.
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!