Breastfeeding journey (part 1): Got Milk?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

 Is tough.  I'm not kidding you.  I used to think it's a breeze and that as long as you are a woman,  it should come naturally and latching is simply the way to go as it's so hassle free! Just plop the little bugger and off he goes to lala land.  Well, at least that was what happened for Big K. Despite being a horrid sleeper (if you are one of the lucky ones who has a baby who sleeps through the night, don't gloat! Babies change every single day! ), all I needed to do was to drag myself out of bed, shove my nipples in, give her a bit of milk and comfort and I'm off for my 1.5 hour nap before the next feed time. 

So why is it so different this time? Well, for starters, Small K is a milk monster! His voracious appetite has led the nanny into thinking that my supply isn't enough and maybe I had to supplement with formula!  That's only Day 2 of his arrival!  Horrors! Whilst milk powder isn't poison, I would certainly appreciate if time was given to my cookies to warm up and produce more!  Plus, at that point, producing 60ml on average was actually very decent and sufficient for an infant that young.  Everyday it was a battle to stop the nanny from using that emergency tin which the hub bought to mediate the situation.  It feels as if the heart has been stabbed a million times when I check on the tin and the levels go down day by day. Clearly,  this cantankerous woman was just carrying out her SOP (standard operating procedure) as a nanny.  The old school believes that formula makes a child fuller hence will be able to sleep longer and better.  Utter rubbish. There's no scientific proof! Plus i keep hearing Small K scream in the middle of the night, in a span of an hour. I tried to convince her of the matter but she was adamant and if looks could kill, I would have died there and then. So yeah, throughout those 25 days, Small K took in half a small tin of soy milk. Why soy you might ask? Well, firstly it's in case the lo has any allergy towards cow's milk. I wouldn't wana risk it. Soy is better digested by the body and apparently according to a certain tcm, it's good for the brains too!

Anyhow,  this time I really had to squeeze out every single drop, bash my boobies and risk those chocolate chips from dropping off! On top of that, at night,  I'll wake up every 2 to 3 hourly to express milk for the little one. Pumping frequently helps to increase supply.  Or so they say.  However, my supply has been increasing at sloth's pace. I've tried everything -- fenugreek, fennel, extra virgin coconut oil,  brewer's yeast and power pumping which takes up a lot of my time and you know how precious time is for a mother.  The supply has increased from 60ml (wk 2) to 120ml at best (wk3). Now at wk 4, i could peak at 150ml. Hey that's not bad actually! But the little monster's appetite is increasing exponentially and he's probably was taking in 100ml or more. So it was a marathon and i was playing catch up. I was unable to build a store then as each time when I managed to pump an extra bottle or two in the day, it would be used up by evening as the nanny would top up secretly each time after my latch, claiming that breastmilk isn't filling, that after a pee, a fart or a poop, the breastmilk is gone. Wow, it's like breastmilk is in gaseous state! She was simply forcing my son into a food coma that's what she's doing! Everyday I hear her telling me that if the boy doesn't sleep,  she can't do stuff.  Why do I want an infant to sleep 24/7??? Plus,  haven't she heard of the wonder weeks? Kids go through milestones every other week! 

Fast forward, I've learnt to ignore and turn a blind eye with regards to the nanny as after she left,  I hit the reset button. However,  that day, I was hit by the three Ds: Discouraged, Disappointed and Depressed.  Not by her,  but by the one who is closest to me and should be most supportive of my breastfeeding journey.  Yes, it's the hubby. I was mentioning to him that I will like to breastfeed Small K for as long as I can as there's so much goodness in it as manifested in Big K. She hardly falls ill and when she does,  it's mild and she recovers fast. I attribute these to my persistence in breastfeeding her for 15 months.  I told the man I wanted to set myself a target of more than 15 months this time.  His reply was curt. He questioned me of my motives and said he wants his son to be chubby and sleep well.  Hrmph. So much for being an educated degree holder! He kept demeaning my supply and said I won't able to catch up with my little milk monster's demand.  Why not I asked?  The yield has shown that I'm matching up well albeit having to go through an arduous track.

I know i had to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to all these insensitive, uneducated people (which happens to be the entire kampung to be honest, sans for my own parents who are supportive in all ways). However, for now I can't help that my hormones are going haywire. Emo.

below is an example of how crazy the nights can get:
330am feeding & burping
4am u decided to poop thus I've to change u
415am apparently the excretion process made u hungry again
420am fed a lil more 
430-445am pat to sleep
445-510am pumping in action
515am you decided things aren't too comfortable n decided to wail. No amount of coaxing n singing could make u sleep
530am time for next feed
540am eyes wide opened refusing to sleep. Great.

Oh well,  such is life.  Anyways here were some of the stuff I had done to up my supply:
I swore by green papaya soup previously but according to the nanny,  peanuts pig trotter soup is suppose to help as well

Look at all the supplements!  Ok I don't take them all at once in case you are wondering. It's crazy isn't it? Well, all in a day's work for a mooing mother. It really takes great perseverance in this breastfeeding gig with the initial pains in latching for new mommies and cracked and sore nipples for others. I recall having strawberry milk during my first few pumps for Big K. All thank to rough handling by the nurses who unsympathetically turned on the pump to its highest! what was she thinking? Was she trying to get my chocolate chips to drop off?!

A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three! So to all breastfeeding mommies out there, do your best and don't be defeated! To all breastfeeding wanabes, Good Luck and be prepared to face all adversities!



  1. Oh dear. The milk supply will increase in time, I'm sure. My first few months of breastfeeding my first child didn't go well either. Milk only came in a week later and I developed mastitis later on as well. But I persevered and breastfed for 19 months. It is definitely doable. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that second time would be easier.

    1. Hey Michelle, Yeah, with No. 1 it was a breeze for me too..namely coz she was such a light sucker! haha..With no. 2, it's so difficult to latch in public coz he'd fidget n unlatch under the covers. he seems to hate stuff over his head. The milk ss has established pretty well due to my perseverance n my change of pump. m gonna blog on that soon. But lately it went down again coz of mastitis! grrrr. Good luck with ur breastfeeding journey!

  2. i hear you. instead of nanny, i have my own mum who was saying all the above. she had been constantly topping up my baby with formula saying she isn't full. 'after a pee, everything is gone' <----that's exactly what she said. i know she is well meaning, she afraid she first grandchild is starving.

    i was in constant stress during the confinement period to pump enough to feed my girl (why am i pumping? that's another story). i was always playing the catch up game. my hubby bought a few tins of formula. paranoid much? what's up with them?

    long story short, even after 2 months of religiously pumping and no sleep, eventhough my girl and hubby sleep through the night (jealous!), i'm still getting max 110ml every 3 hours. more only if i stretch the time longer. not only eating fenugreek, but also domperidone and drinking 3 litres of water daily. my cookies are bad cookies.

    1. Hi Amanda, the older generation are all the same. During my first pregnancy, I had my MIL doing my confinement for me n it gave me the blues too coz each time i bf, she not only stood next to me, but she kept asking if there's milk. Now, with the second baby, she's far more educated n supportive. In fact, she sometimes dishes out advices for her relatives and frens even though she has never bf! haha

      try every other thing..i find power pumping quite effective n most importantly the Pump! no cookies are bad cookies! jia you!

  3. Hi Janice, thanks for your blog. It is really very insightful. I am having the same problem too with my mil doing the confinement for me. But I find that I might have low and slow milk supply. Baby still fidgety and cry after latching. And each latch is like only 5 minutes and she will fall asleep. Any suggestions to boost milk supply and increase flow? When I pump or hand express the volume is pathetic. Is less than 10ml.. and I am on domperidone and fenugreek some more. My baby is currently 12 days old.


    1. Hi Nico...have faith and continue to latch! baby is crying after latching probably coz she haven't had enough. Tickle her to wake her up if she falls asleep. Eat well and drink heaps of liquids. The milk don't really kick in that soon...mine was pathetic initially as well, but with more latching (which i like coz it is so easy n don't have to wash up), the supply did go up. My younger one is now coming to 2yo and we are still on partial bm! you can do it too! :)

  4. Hi Janice, I re-read a number of times of your blog. Certainly chimes well with my situation now. Which supplement do you think help in the milk supply the most? I tried fenugreek, goat's rue, fennel but the increase is little and not enough to meet my baby's needs....

    1. Hi Angie, thanks for reading :) Well, i would say initially the food which I ate during confinement and the soups which I constantly boiled like green papaya soup did help. However, over the last half a year, we have been very very busy with moving of house hence my supply went down tremendously. My diet has been awful too, what with the intensity of my work. The boy has also self weaned! No longer want to latch else latching would really be the best! But i am a stubborn mother and am still pumping. To keep up with at least one feed a day, I am now on fenugreek and domperidone. Both helped me. Domperidone however isn't scientifically proven and the pharmacist may not prescribe it to you, but you could still try. Good luck!

  5. Hi Janice,

    may i know wwhere u got those little bottles of fenugreek from?

    1. Hi Lin,

      I got my fenugreek from iherb. They ship to Singapore for a small fee. Cheaper than local stores. Go get them! Hope it helps for ya! Good luck