Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Is breastmilk better than formula milk?

Breastmilk is better than formula milk! Seriously?

That's the most exasperating, recurring conversation I have over and over and over again with the older generation in the family. In their time, formula milk was the best thing money could buy; 90's babies would know - I along with many of my classmates grew up on S26 baby formula milk and we turned out just fine. Before formula milk was the trend in Malaysia, babies actually grew up drinking condensed or evaporated tin milk mixed with water because people in the country were so poor back then and even that generation turned out fine as well. 

So before I go on any further, please let me say that I fully believe that moms have no business bullying themselves or others about their baby-feeding choices. In a blink of an eye, Baby J just recently turned 6 months old and it has become a very big reminder to me to just enjoy today, this moment, just enjoy every day because I'd rather spend my days playing and discovering my baby than worry about my milk supply or that somehow because I'm not organic enough, I'm not a good mom. If your baby is on formula milk, then good on you for making sure baby is fed!

So, about that breastfeeding... since I have been having plenty of similar conversations with current and soon-to-be moms, I thought of creating a Breastfeeding 101 post for new moms to refer to. This might not be the actual technically correct method of doing things.... it's just how I do things at home with my kid so if you do things differently, don't worry about it.

This is a non-sponsored post but was inspired by The Honest Company to let all new and existing mommies know that there is no wrong way to feed your baby.

Can I prepare for breastfeeding before delivery?
Besides purchasing a breast pump and bottles (btw MAM bottles seem to work well with newborns). A friend's confinement aunty actually taught us to "season our nipples" (I promise you that was the actual words she used) to prevent cracked or painful nipples. Just apply this to your nipples every other day after shower and true enough I had no cracked or pained nipples in the past 6 months of breastfeeding. Thank you, mysterious confinement aunty!

You can purchase this at any pharmacy (I've seen it at Guardian and Caring pharmacy) 

What's the most important thing new moms needs to know about breastfeeding?
Your milk doesn't come in immediately after your baby pops out and that's fine. Every time baby wants to suckle, just allow baby to latch on (every 2 hours or so) and by the fifth day post delivery you'll wake up to engorged boobs. During the first five days, your baby will have a tiny stomach and is really drinking colostrum from your body which is richer and more nutritious than breastmilk. 

How do you maintain your milk supply?
I drink plenty of Chinese soup (you need those with meat to extract the fat) and I still drink the red date tea most Chinese girls drink during their confinement. Leave a comment if you would like the recipe! Mine only uses two ingredients. 

I drink from this stainless steel mug every day.  I also drink plenty of good ol' water to stay hydrated.

My big pot of red date tea, this amount can usually last me two days. 

What is your pumping routine? 
I only started pumping my milk out after baby turned 1 month old because I had this weird paranoia that she would get nippled confusion. 

Hands-free pumping bra helps a lot because you can then surf the Internet, do your banking, shop and reply emails within those 30 minutes of pumping! Because I was busy with work during the first few months with Baby J, I actually pumped every 3 hours and she was bottle fed while I worked. After 3 months of pumping on that schedule, I moved on to only pumping at 9am, 3pm and 9pm, usually producing over 32 ounces of milk per day. 

Now that things have settled down and I don't have help with the baby anymore, I direct latch baby anytime she wants (usually every 2-3 waking hours) and I try to pump extra milk once in the morning during her nap time and once at night after her bedtime. 

What do you do when milk supply is low? 
It has happened before where I get 1 ounce of milk per boob per session. I either wait ten minutes and then pump again or I allocate some time after baby is sleeping to do power pumping. It also helps to pump both your boobs at the same time.

How long do you plan to breastfeed? 
For as long as baby wants it. I do not plan on weaning.

Will you ever consider formula milk?
If I run out of milk to give my child then yes, definitely. 

What is the one thing new moms must know? 
Feeding your baby using the football hold is the best! Except instead of using your arm to hold baby up, use pillows ... then you get to feed her hands-free and do other stuff while baby takes her time. I watched so much Netflix and Korean dramas on my iPad during the first month when she woke up every 2 hours to feed for 20-30 minutes. It was awesome because I was sleep deprived from catching up on The Good Wife and baby feeding.

Did you have any problems latching baby?
Yes! The first two days of baby's breastfeeding adventures with me must have been super annoying for her because I was convinced I was suffocating her with my boobs so I kept trying to dislodge her. Again, the football hold with pillows is the best for breastfeeding babies IMHO.  Since I discovered it, baby has been able to drink as much as she wants while lying on a soft, comfortable surface that didn't shake or move every 15 seconds. 

I have only recently began introducing her to the conventional method of breastfeeding (i.e. the cradling style) and now that she's stronger with more neck movement, she can enjoy the traditional breastfeeding method better. 

How do you know your milk is enough for baby? 
After baby's feeding I'll check to see if I still have milk in my boobs. If there is then she should have drunk enough. I also roughly keep track of her nappies. Also, if a baby is hungry, she won't be shy to tell you about it.

Is the Medela a good pump?
Yes but be careful of spillage! I've spilled milk many times. At first I was skeptical about spending so much money on a Medela (nearly RM2,000) so I purchased a RM700 M1 Spectra. The Spectra is a great first breastmilk pump but overtime I noticed the suction and pumping was weak/inconsistent. The rubber part also tended to fall out mid-pumping so it was annoying to use - keep in mind that you'll had to use your breast pump every 3 hours! If your budget is tight though then I would definitely recommend the M1 Spectra.

Enjoy your adventure with baby and don't sweat the small stuff! If you have any questions feel free to email me or leave a comment and if I don't know the answer, I'll check with my pediatrician!  

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I love how ur post are honest and easier to relate. Also, it's not amended in a way that it look and sound beautiful. Thanks for sharing


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