by Mazlinda bte Abdul Mamoon
(from "Keeping Abreast", Jul-Sep 1997 Issue)
When I was pregnant, I had no knowledge of breastfeeding, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to breastfeed. But my husband and his family fully encouraged me to do so!
I did face some initial problems. My son was hospitalised for 3 days due to jaundice. I did not express milk often enough after bedtime. This led to engorgement and later to diminished milk supply in the early morning. I also suffered sore nipples. However, BMSG(S) counsellors and Cynthis (Lactation Consultant from KK Hospital) gave me step-by-step advice on the phone and helped me overcome my problems.
I had no encouragement from my own mother. She was always afraid that the baby was not getting enough milk, and she was against the idea of me continuing to breastfeed even after going back to work. She was afraid that my son would refuse her as he was rather attached to me.
Nevertheless, being a stubborn person by nature, I was determined to feed my son with breastmilk. So I found out more ways of expressing breastmilk, storing and thawing and gave her specific instructions to follow.
Initially, I had no choice but to compromise with her by supplementing my son with formula feeds when the expressed breastmilk was insufficient during the day. It broke my heart to hear that my son was given formula feeds. So I did all I could to express more milk so that the supply in the day was sufficient. I was expressing once in the morning before I went to work and twice at work, ensuring 2 "let-downs", and once or twice at night during feedings. By the time my son was 6 months old, I stopped expressing at home but continued at work.
Expressing breastmilk took a lot of time and effort but it was well
worth it. I was fortunate to have a flexible and understanding boss
who didn't make a fuss about me taking long lunches and disappearing during
office hours. Till now, I don't know if he knew where I had disappeared
to! I stopped expressing totally when my son was 11 months old, but
I continue to breastfeed him when he is with me.
(Mazlinda is now a Reserve Counsellor with the BMSG(S) )
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