3 Ways to Overcome Breastfeeding Challenges
Some women take to breastfeeding quite easily. All they need to do is bring their baby near their breast, and the little one would latch on without assistance or hesitance. Others find breastfeeding difficult and challenging. But knowing its many benefits, they keep on trying until they succeed. Here, we share with you how three moms overcame their breastfeeding challenges. We also feature some valuable tips from breastfeeding advocate, certified lactation counselor, and La Leche League Leader Abbie Yabot. She recently shared her insights on breastfeeding challenges at Pregnant Pause, talks for modern moms-to-be, which was held last September 27, 2014 at the Olive Tree Kitchen and Bar, Bonifacio High Street.
Problem #1: Mom is anxious about breastfeeding the second time around when her first attempt was not very successful.
Billie’s Solution: Just keep at it! Billie Liboro-Palabyab, who recently gave birth to her second son, recalls, “For my eldest son, I tried to breastfeed, but I ended up mixing formula and breast milk up to four months. But I always envied those mothers who can purely breastfeed their babies. When I gave birth to my second baby, he had pneumonia so he had to stay in the intermediate care unit. I knew breast milk builds the immune system, so that’s when I decided to try harder and devote my time trying to produce milk for the baby.”
Though her milk didn’t come until after a few days, she kept trying. Billie, who is a brand manager at a sporting goods company, says, “With my eldest, my milk supply was very low so I was scared that this one would be the same case.”
Because her milk supply is on the low side, she has been taking malunggay, halaan soup, lactation brownies, oatmeal, and domperidone to stimulate breast milk production. Her family has also been very supportive of her endeavour. Her in-laws bring her food, her sister-in-law, who has successfully breastfed both her kids, give her advice, and her husband, who does the cooking in the house, “sprinkles malunggay powder on everything edible.”
She says, “So far, the baby seems satisfied when he feeds from me! I still only get to pump 1.5 to 2 ounces per session, but I’m hoping this will increase as the baby gets older. He’s only two weeks now.”
Abbie’s Advice: Breastfeeding follows the law of supply and demand, says Abbie. “Milk is produced when baby starts suckling,” says. The more often you take your baby to the breast, the more amount of milk you will produce. And so, when Billie just kept on trying, she inevitably produced more milk. Abbie adds, “Mixed feeding or giving glucose water will contribute to lack of milk supply.” Moms must also avoid engorgement as their next production would be less.
Problem #2: Mom’s initial attempts at breastfeeding were dreadful. Jaclyn’s Solution: Know when you need to get help. Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua, mom of three, writer, and editor, says, “I couldn’t find the ‘joy’ in breastfeeding at all. My babies were all demanding, high maintenance, and needed to nurse all the time. Painful. Puyat. I couldn’t leave the house for the first three months because if baby wasn’t nursing, he or she was crying.”
But the benefits far outweighed the difficulties which accompanied breastfeeding. Apart from the health advantages, Jaclyn chose to breastfeed because of its convenience (“no need to wash/sterilize”). She adds, “Anytime my baby is fussy, my boobs act as instant pacifiers, without the guilt associated with using silicone pacifiers.” With the help of mommy friends who also breastfeed their kids as well as lactation expert Lita Nery, Jaclyn did just fine.
Abbie’s Advice: If baby is fussy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s hungry. Abbie says, “Crying is not a sign of hunger.” Moms would do well to check for other possibilities of crying such as wet or soiled diapers, or uncomfortable clothing. It would be good to change his position too or find out whether the baby is just sleepy. However, if you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask advice from of a lactation counselor.
Problem #3: Busy mom who gives birth to her second child at 40 finds breastfeeding very challenging. Gwen’s Solution: Focus on the positive. Gwen Carino, mom of two, reveals, “My experience was very challenging because I became a second time mom again after 12 years, and had just turned 40! It was painful and uncomfortable at first, but every moment was a priceless way of bonding and nurturing our baby boy.”
Gwen, a communications specialist, is very fortunate to have a hands-on husband, who helped her in every possible way with taking care of the baby, from changing diapers and giving him a bath to making him burp and putting him to sleep. Gwen adds, “Our teenage daughter was also always there to lend a helping hand, trying her best to make things easy and comfortable for me as I breastfed and went through motherhood all over.” It was all worth it. She says, “What I really like about breastfeeding is not only the nutritional value and health benefits it gives the baby, but also the amazing sense of fulfillment it gives to a mother, and the memories you create with your child. It's like experiencing a kind of love you never even knew existed.” Today, her son Silver is a healthy, happy, active, and very curious two-year-old. Apart from being able to count up to 40, he expresses himself very well. Gwen is really proud to the say the least.
Abbie’s Advice: For moms-on-the-go, whether they work from home or at an office, it’s best to start expressing milk and building supply before going back to your regular schedule. She says, “If formula is introduced, expect milk supply to drop.” Even when you’re away from your baby, express milk regularly. As a rule of thumb, she says, “Do not let the fourth hour pass without pumping.” Breastfeed as often as you could: before leaving, as soon as you arrives, and all throughout the night and on weekends.