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Friday, 11 December 2015

Breastfeeding - 3 Negative Things I Was Told (and what I learnt from it)


As a first time breastfeeding mom in a society where breastfeeding is just starting to be common practice, it can be tough when people pour cold water on your breastfeeding journey with their words. Here are the 3 most hurtful and annoying things I've been told. Thankfully I was already committed to breastfeeding! So instead I educated myself on facts. So if you're a mom in my situation, here's some things to offer you some comfort. And if you're not a mom, maybe this will educate you and hopefully you won't say any of these things to any mom!!

"Baby is not getting enough from you, no wonder baby is still crying!"

In my opinion, the is the worst thing you can say to a first-time mom who has started breastfeeding. Not only is it bringing out whatever insecurities a mom has about breastfeeding, it also make her feel less of a mom. I felt like a failure every time someone told me this when BabyLim cried after I had fed her not too long ago. It was bad enough that I couldn't see how much BabyLim was eating and when I pumped my yield wasn't much which made me feel even more insecure. Then to make matters worst when given formula she gobbles it up and the person goes "aiyo aiyo so poor thing mommy starving you." Yeah, thanks alot for making me feel like an asshole. 

As far as I know, most moms are able to meet the demand of their little ones. It takes time and usually within the first week your body will be producing enough milk to fill those tiny tummies. I learnt that as long as baby is gaining weight and peeing regularly - most of the time they're getting enough. As far as crying goes, crying does not always equate to hunger. Babies cry for whatever reason even when they're not in distress. It's just their form of communication. Most babies stop crying when they're put back on the boob but this doesn't mean they're hungry. It's just that mommy's boobies are super comforting! I've yet to meet a baby who would refuse a boob, BabyLim included. (whether or not they stay attached is another story) But for BabyLim, if she could she'd be attached 24-7 but it doesn't mean she can eat 24-7.

I learnt to stop worrying and stressing out about milk production and learn to relax. For one, the stress wasn't helping with the production. Secondly, the human body is amazing and it will naturally do what it needs to do. In the end I allowed BabyLim lead the way. Just keep latching / pumping and it will come naturally and adjust according to baby's needs. If you really are not producing enough and have seeked professional advice, supplement with formula and don't fret. It's not the end of the world, babies who grow up on formula lead healthy lives too :)

"BabyLim doesn't like you / your milk / your flow because she feeds so fast!"

Thanks for making me feel rejected. BabyLim used to drink for 45minutes in one sitting and I found out that during that time she wasn't feeding for the whole 45minutes and I was being used as a human pacifier. On the advice of my doctor, I monitored her feeding and found that she drinks about 15minutes and just suckles the rest of the time. So whenever I see her slow down I unlatch her. As a result, her feeding is 15 minutes. Apparently, some people think babies drink for hours and cannot accept the 15 minute feeding. I did get a bit paranoid and worried, wondering if BabyLim was rejecting my milk because it wasn't yummy or she just didn't like me. Then I worry whether she was eating enough... and back to number one, producing enough. Rejection and Insecurity - that's what you're sowing when you make statements like that. 

Babies are different and while some babies drink for longer, some like BabyLim are efficient and quick drinkers. It doesn't mean they're getting less, they're just filling up faster. Observe your baby and their patterns. BabyLim will usually take big gulps indicating drinking and suckling indicating she's no longer drinking but pacifying. It's up to you whether you want to be a human pacifier or not. For me I didn't have that luxury because the house needs cleaning, errands to run, food to cook etc. Also I learnt that BabyLim was a fast drinker because she would get cranky when we used bottles with teats with slow flow. I also learnt that no baby will dislike their mom no matter what. So while she may not like your letdown, don't feel bad. You can always pump and be the one to feed baby with a bottle :) 

"You're spoiling her! She's always going to want you for comfort." 

When BabyLim was small, everytime she cried inconsolably I would whip the girls out and she would calm down. It was amazing! Still works till today. Yes when she cries she usually looks for me first. Yes when she's upset I get to calm her down. Yes, when she is scared I'm the one whom she wants to be near her. Still don't understand how that's a bad thing... but apparently to old people it means that baby will always be clingy and grow up not being independent. 

I learnt that breastfeeding releases oxytocin or the "love hormone". The same hormone that is released when having sex. It's the bonding agent which is why you feel so strongly for your spouse and the same reason why you feel the same way towards your baby. The reason why you are so fierce and protective over both. Baby takes in this oxytocin when she feeds and is the reason why she wants you, she finds you, she bonds with you. Which is why when she is upset, she wants to nurse because of you, your scent, your touch. Also, this oxytocin helps baby's social skills and later on create more secure children! Also, remember that it won't last forever. Eventually baby will stop nursing and find comfort in other things like her favourite teddy bear or blankie. She won't be nursing until she's old and grey. She will eventually learn to be independent and that time you will be the one crying when she boldly walks into preschool thanks to all the social skills and security you've been pumping her with! 

The three statements that made me doubt breastfeeding initially but thankfully I wouldn't take anything without finding out more. I hope this helps clear up some of your doubts and perhaps makes you think twice before saying anything offhandedly. 

What are the negative things you've had to listen about breastfeeding?

-Ally

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