I first learn about breastfeeding through WABA. And when I was pregnant with my first child, I did a lot of reading and research online to prepare for the baby. One of the things I learnt is that no formula can replace the goodness of mothers’ milk so I am determined to breastfeed my baby from the start. I also received some very good breastfeeding tips from my breastfeeding friends.

But all the research is not enough when it comes to the real thing. Even though I initiated first hour breastfeeding and my son suckle really well, I still did not do it right. I ended up with very sore nipples after a few days. That’s not all, my milk supply was minimal so I was feeding my son almost every hour. I refused to let the hospital top up and I made very sure we do not have any formula at home. So, no matter what, I will breastfeed my son. For the first two weeks, I suffered very sore nipples, to the point of it bleeding at times. This is due to poor latching but at that time I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I asked the hospital nurses and they weren’t much help, I asked the government clinic nurses, they also were not much help. Still, despite this, I continued breastfeeding and using my ebm to apply on my nipples and airing my nipples to relieve the soreness. Also, my milk supply had not come in so I was still feeding my son every hour throughout the day (and night). The worst thing about this is the frequent negativity I get from my inlaws and some of my relatives. Even a paediatrician told me to give my son formula (not due to any serious medical reason and my son was putting on weight very fast too so it was not malnutrition)!!!  But I persisted. I can be very stubborn and this is one thing I will not budge or change my mind about. Needless to say, I also told off the paediatrician ( who I later found out was selling formula so he was asking me to give my son formula because he wants to make $$$). My exact words to him “Over my cold, dead, lifeless body!”.Unless I am dead, I refuse to give my son formula.

Anyway, after continuing to breastfeed persistently (and drinking loads of liquids and water), my milk finally came in and I finally had enough supply for my son that can last him a couple of hours or longer. I also recovered from the sore nipples. Of course, my next hurdle was getting the babysitter to understand and it was an uphill battle all the way. She kept discouraging me and I kept trying to educate her and ‘unbrainwash’ her from all the milk advertisements you see everyday on TV, everywhere. Luckily, she did not replace my EBM with formula and I know because I always check my son’s stools. Breastfed babies have very soft stools.

I also had problems looking for a suitable place to express my milk at work. I couldn’t do it in a toilet so ended up, I hid under a desk and used a really large umbrella as cover and expressed my milk while sitting on the floor.

I successfully breastfed him until he wean himself when he’s around one and a half years old.  You would think my story ends here but I also had problems with my second child. I also had very little milk supply in the beginning and I managed to boost my milk supply almost immediately by drinking soy protein drinks instead of only milk. In fact I drank two to three cups of soy protein and 2 – 3 liters of water a day and after a day or two, my milk came in! I am still breastfeeding my daughter and she’s now 19 months old.

So, my advise to all expectant moms, if you want to breastfeed, be persistent, have a very strong willpower, DO NOT give up, ignore those who discourage you and lastly, drink loads of liquid and increase protein intake. Milk is a protein so you need loads of protein to produce protein for your baby.

From : Opalyn Mok, working mother of 5-yr-old Rayden and 19 month old Shavonne.

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