Posted in Motherhood

Too Many Too Little

I’ve had at least 4 things planned as my blog post.

But I haven’t had enough time to sit and commit to writing them that all I can do was scribble the ideas and thoughts and points in my notebook.

Eros and Sophia are down with fever this week and soon after Damien got it too. Then I got it as well because I’ve been staying up late to sponge-bath them and clean up after they’ve thrown up and all. On top of that I think I got food poisoning or at least a very bad diarrhea from something I must’ve eaten.

I really miss being able to write every night before I go to bed but right now even as I write this, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open.

Damien is in his 6th week now and going through his second growth spurt so he’s cluster feeding at night. I’m thankful that it’s at night because at least I get to sleep while he nurses away. But it drains so much of my energy that I don’t have much left for the next day.

I know that once they’re older and when we’re back home and I’ve establish a routine or a schedule for all 3 of them, I will be able to blog and write as often as I did or at least more frequent than what I’m doing now.

Now I’m off to bed as I need to sleep before Damien wakes up for his marathon feed.

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Posted in Motherhood, Parenting

I Thought I Was

It’s day 14 today.

I don’t feel any better about breastfeeding. I think there might be something wrong with my milk supply. I remembered distinctly when I was breastfeeding Sophia past year that my supply was a lot more than what it is right now for Damien. I have a feeling I have a low milk supply.

I remembered the time when Sophia was sleeping, my milk would “restock” itself and when I tried to squeeze it out, it would sometimes came out in spurts. This time around, when I squeeze my breasts, only a slow trickle will flow. I am so afraid because I really want to breastfeed Damien and I do not want to resort to formula just so he’ll have enough to eat.

I don’t even have much milk letdown this time. If I were to nurse Damien on one breast, I will only have a small amount of letdown on the other breast. I used to soak my nursing pad the last time I nursed Sophia.

I have no idea why this time around my milk supply is low. It seems to be so much when my milk came in last week and I was happy because I thought I’m the type blessed with abundant milk supply, the way I was with Eros and Sophia.

My mother said because I’m worried about my family and how Mohen needs to cope with all the family financial. Of course I can’t help but worry. I can’t make myself not to think about it. I know how hard it is for him to make ends meet so I can’t stop thinking about our situation. As much as I try to put the thought away while I breastfeed, it’s still hard to pretend like nothing is wrong.

I’ve been trying to correctly latch Damien for days. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong because I think I’ve read and seen videos on correct latch like a million times but still I can’t get him to properly suckle on my breasts. Instead I can feel him gumming my nipples and it’s so painful when he starts to nurse that sometimes I’m terrified when he’s awake for a feed.

My friends all tell me that both of us are learning and I shouldn’t beat myself up too hard over it.

But I can’t help but want to get it right because one, it’s mighty painful when he nurses and second, I feel like a complete failure for not being able to get it right even after 2 weeks and third, each time it hurts during nursing, I entertain the thought of feeding him with formula (yes, as much as I am resolved to not offer him any).

And it’s been two days now I feel pain on my cesarean incision.

It’s just at the beginning of the incision where there’s like a knot or something but it’s burning and feels like little electric shock pulses whenever I move in the wrong direction. I have to make sure that I press the spot and move in a right angle so the pain won’t send me reeling back onto bed.

I know the incision is not ripped or open because it’s absolutely clean and there’s no weird stuff coming out of it but I hate the pain because it limits my movement so much.

The thing is, I know I need to rest but with a 4 year old toddler and a 1 year old who is still in diapers, it’s hard to get as much rest as I needed.

I still have to look after them when my mom is occupied with something and sometimes I need bathe them and change Sophia’s diapers. I know that I’m not supposed to lift anything heavier than my newborn but it’s just crazy not to look after them when there’s no one else to help you.

I knew I was very apprehensive when we conceived Damien because I was afraid that I might not be able to cope.

I know that I can do this once the pain is over and my cesarean scar heals or when Damien finally knows how to latch.

But until then, I feel like a total failure.

Pushed

As I’m writing this, Damien is breastfeeding. He has been cluster feeding today that I thought I would lose my mind.

Although there’s that bond everyone is talking about when it comes to breastfeeding, I feel cluster feeding really does push a mother’s sanity to the edge. I have not left the bed, much less left the room for the whole day except to go the bathroom to wash my face because I feel like if I breastfeed for a minute longer, I will probably gouge my eyes out.

Damien sleeps for long hours.

I know how newborns are not really supposed to be doing that but his max is about 4 hours so that’s sort of acceptable according to our doctor. Even so, I try to catch him during his REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and wake him up for a feed after 3 hours. Neither of my two kids slept as long as Damien does when they were newborns so I’m always anxious about letting Damien sleep.

It’s weird that I have to wake up a sleeping baby when everybody knows babies love to sleep. My mom doesn’t believe in waking up newborns to feed because she said they will wake up if they are hungry. But I know that if I don’t wake Damien up my breasts will swell because the milk is not drained and he is supposed to be doing that. I guess it really is about being cruel to be kind sort of situation when it comes to waking up a sleeping newborn for a feed.

The things is, I’m afraid Damien might have jaundice because the whites of his eyes are tinged with yellow albeit barely noticeable. And I know jaundiced babies are sometimes too lethargic to wake themselves up for a feed thus missing the vital nutrients they need to combat the jaundice at this early stage of life.

I’m bringing Damien for a check up tomorrow. I just really hope he is okay.

Posted in Children, Motherhood, Parenting

Nipple Shield – Product Review

I haven’t done product review in a while so I would like to review something that I’m currently using.

Damien has been breastfeeding for a full week now and I’m so happy that we haven’t introduced to him a single drop of formula. Although I never feel that breastfed babies are superior to formula-fed babies, I’m just happy because I’ve always wanted to exclusively breastfeed since Sophia.

I attempted breastfeeding with all 3 children of mine and I used nipple shield at the earlier stages of breastfeeding.

I used nipple shield the first time with Eros because my nipples were rather short then and he couldn’t latch on properly. With Sophia was because she was nursing so often my nipples were sore and cracked and with Damien it is simply because I used it with Sophia and it made breastfeeding so much easier.

There is, of course,  a wide range of nipple shields sold but I’ve used only 3 brands so far and so my review will be based on these 3 only.

1. Pigeon Rubber Nipple Shield 


I used this when I was breastfeeding Sophia. What I like about this nipple shield is that the tip of the shield where the nipple should be isn’t hardened like some nipple shield. The texture is consistent all over so it’s very pliable and fits into the baby’s mouth perfectly. Because it’s made of rubber, it needs to be washed with soapy water immediately after use or otherwise milk deposits will gather and accumulate on the inside of the nipple shield. I ruined one because there were several occasions I forgot to wash it right after use during midnight feeding. Although it’s a little big and the color is not at all conspicuous (as it is the color of latex rubber), I used it for quite some time as Sophia adapted to it immediately.

 

2. Anakku Silicone Nipple Shield

 

I am currently using this when breastfeeding Damien. Unlike the Pigeon rubber nipple shield above, this one has its tips hardened so your baby may have a little difficulty at first in adapting it into his/her mouth. I like how the rest of the shield is and how it fits perfectly to your areola, giving it a firm grip and do not come off during breastfeeding. However because of the hardened tip, it may take some time before your teat can fully fill the nipple area. It can cause a little discomfort for the first few seconds but once steady suckling is established, you can hardly feel that you’re wearing a shield.

 

3. Avent Nipple Shield

4.1.1

I used this when I was trying to breastfeed Eros. Avent carries two types of nipple shield – a soft one and a hard one. We bought the soft one as it was our first time trying out a shield. For me, it is still hard for an infant’s mouth. Although the silicone is of a good grade, this is a shield that I liked least. I find that it slips off easily and my son had a hard time adjusting the hardened tip into his small mouth.

Using nipple shield is entirely up to the mother.

Some lactation consultants swear off nipple shield like the plague because it doesn’t help the baby to natural suckle and learn to breastfeed on his own. However, for breastfeeding mothers with sore, cracked or inverted nipples, nipple shields are a heaven sent.

For me, I find it useful in the early stages of breastfeeding, those first few days home from the hospital when your milk just coming in and your breasts are engorged to the size of melons. But once my child has gotten the hang of breastfeeding, I discontinue using them.

What do you think of nipple shield and have you ever used them? Share your experience and which one do you like best!

 

Posted in Motherhood, Parenting

Tit For Tat

I was thinking of writing about breastfeeding rights (again) last few weeks because I came across (yet another) article about how mothers are still having issues about being able to breastfeed in public.

Then I thought there’re already so much written on it that maybe if I do, it’s just going to be another disgruntled mother’s rant about breastfeeding and no one would really care.

Then I realized that it’s not.

I realized that it’s not going to be just another mother’s disgruntled rant about breastfeeding in public because mothers are still taking the brunt of hostility towards breastfeeding. It is still hard for many people to detach sexual association when it comes to women’s breasts.

That is why it is easier and more comfortable for most, not only for men but some women alike, to think of breasts as sexual objects rather than their other functional purpose.

I saw this photo on Facebook.

A friend shared it and everyone thought it was funny and naturally sexually insinuated comments followed.

At one glance it looks like a finger was holding the labia of a woman’s shaven vagina open.

Upon closer look it obviously is not.

It’s just a sideways photo of a man hooking his finger at one corner of his mouth.

The fact that this photo was not offensive to so many disgusts me. What’s worse is that when I tried to report this photo as inappropriate, the page was unavailable. Apparently it has got something to do with time-out issue or link broken or something like that.

I have made several reports of inappropriate contents material on Facebook before and there was no problem. But this one, even after several hours, the page was still unavailable. It could be of real issue but I find it annoying.

Then today, two of my friends on Facebook were voicing out their dissatisfaction about how they still feel chided for breastfeeding in public. Some of the comments they received said that most men are okay with breastfeeding in public.

As long as nursing cover is used. Or otherwise women should go to a nursing room.

And I thought, What does that got to do with anything?

Some babies do not like to be covered at all. Like Sophia. She hates having her head covered while I breastfeed her. She likes to look around and tug at things near her when she nurses. And for some women it’s just too bushing to go to a nursing room when your baby wants to be fed right away.

It’s just amazing (and pathetic) to know that people are so used to breasts if they’re behind low-cut blouses with plunging necklines or bursting out of the push-up bra but not when there’s a baby suckling from them.

Maggie Gyllenhaal breastfeeds in public while chatting nonchalantly with friends.

I admit that some women do have more modesty than others where they do feel shy about breastfeeding so openly in public.

For these women, maybe the issue of breastfeeding in public isn’t so pronounced because they can understand why they don’t need to do it in public but I’m sure as mothers, they too would feel the pang of criticism towards other women who choose to breastfeed in public.

It caused an uproar when Facebook deactivated accounts of mothers who posted photos of them breastfeeding their child on the grounds that these photos contained inappropriate content. When the same mothers got their account back and posted photos of them in bras and/or skimpy tops just to prove their point, you guessed it! Facebook didn’t do anything about it.

You can see why these mothers are enraged, can’t you?

Shouldn’t photos of girls in bras or in one of those slit-down-the-middle tops to show off cleavage or even the ones who used their arms to cover their nipples be the ones that are taken down? Shouldn’t the accounts of these girls get deactivated instead of the account of breastfeeding mothers?

When I commented on the “labia” photo above on my friend’s wall, one of the replies I got was that our society is sick so I should just deal with it. I can’t believe that I should just “deal with it” when it comes to women being disgraced and made into obscene jokes.

Breast Milk Baby doll by Berjuan Toys

I  just read that the Breast Milk Baby doll is causing quite a stir. The concept of a doll making suckling sound when placed at the chest is thought to be creepy.

Kids need to be exposed to breastfeeding so they learn that there is nothing to be embarrassed about, nothing to hide about and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the act of breastfeeding, either at home or publicly.

The more kids learn how natural breastfeeding is the less sexual connotation is associated with breasts and hence making them accept and indifferent towards breastfeeding women in public.

Multi-tasking Breasts Campaign Posters – The Independent

As much as people are aware about breasts being functional in breastfeeding, to accept their multi-tasking concept is perhaps a little too much when it’s being done in public.

It shouldn’t be.

If people can see girls go out in skimpy clothes, then they can very well accept a decently clothed mother breastfeeding her child on a bench in a shopping mall.

Posted in Motherhood

Latch On, Latch Off

In 9 days time Sophia will be one month old.

I can’t for the life of me, imagine that time would fly so fast! With Eros, it seems to be a little slower. Maybe because he was my firstborn and there were many things that I have yet to learn. Now with Sophia, I can do most of the things without even realizing I was doing it.

Like the other day, I was breastfeeding her and Eros just got out from the toilet. He’s potty training, by the way. He wanted me to put his shorts on even though my sisters offered to help. So with one arm cradling Sophia to my breast, I helped Eros put on his short with the other while talking to him about his potty training so far. After I was done, I realized that I was able to do two things at once for two different child without even thinking how to do it.

Breastfeeding your child has got to be one of the best feelings in the world.

I felt good about myself and most importantly, I feel slightly more confident about raising two children on my own.

Speaking of breastfeeding, Sophia is getting better at it.

She has hit her first month growth spurt as her breastfeeding session grows longer as she nursed more now and sleeps for slightly shorter period. We’ve been breastfeeding for 20days now and it does seem to get easier each day.

When I first started to breastfeed Sophia, there were so many challenges that I had to go through to make sure she can breastfeed well. As much as she can latch on since the first day she was born, it was crazy the first week that I felt like giving up each time I had to bring her to my breast.

Even before she could latch on, my body recoiled in pain because my nipples were sore and my breasts were so engorged with milk that it was painful to even touch it what more to have a baby suckling from it. But because I regretted for not breastfeeding Eros, I tried to breathe and clenched my teeth as the pain seethe through my body from Sophia’s powerful suckling motion.

I can’t remember how many times I cried while she breastfed the first few days because it was almost too painful to bear. I remembered latching her off to find my nipple bloody and cracked. But still I tried to breastfeed her for the next session. Even Mohen asked me to stop and just let Sophia have formula so I can rest but I insisted on breastfeeding for I know the only way for the breasts to get better and for my nipples to heal is to breastfeed and breastfeed some more.

I don’t know where my determination comes from and secretly I applaud myself for trying so hard not to give up. I gave up after 3 days of trying to breastfeed Eros and we fall back to formula feed him. I can’t imagine the energy I sacrificed for Sophia just so she can get my breast milk even though I feel like dropping to the floor each time she’s done breastfeeding. I’m proud that I’m breastfeeding her and each time I do, I only wished I could turn back time and be as resilient for Eros as I had with her.

So now after 20 days, my nipples have completely healed and the milk flow seems to come more naturally and faster now. Sophia can seem to be full on just my breast milk sometimes although I had to supplement her with about 3oz of formula to help her sleep. Maybe my milk supply is still slightly low to meet her demand but since she’s breastfeeding 90% of her feeding session, I know it’s just a matter of time before the milk supply really kicked in for her.

Eros and Sophia having their morning feed.

I remembered during the first few days when I cried while breastfeeding Sophia and my mom told me that it’s just going to be a few more weeks before everything is okay. I remembered crying harder when she told me that because then, few more weeks sounded like a year.

Well, it has been few weeks now after that first few days and yeah, it didn’t seem too bad. It was the pain I was in that made it seemed longer.

Now I’m enjoying breastfeeding Sophia. As a matter of fact, I just put her down in her crib because she feel asleep at my breast while I typed this post.

Sophia laughing herself to sleep after breastfeeding.