The struggle was real Mamas! I never imagined in my 27 years of existence that I would have a hard time breastfeeding. I assumed that since my breasts were huge (cup 36 C) that I could produce milk for a village. But again (let me emphasize) the STRUGGLE was real!
I gave birth via emergency c-section after 36 hours of Labor last September 16, 2017 at 9:27 pm. My baby and I were in distress when I gave birth and my family had no choice but to order breastmilk from the hospital. Thankfully, St. Lukes BGC has a milk bank.
My baby was roomed in with me the next morning and I was so excited to breastfeed. I mean this was the moment I was waiting for, the first connection between me and my daughter. I requested for a lactation nurse to guide me because I had no idea how to do it. Thankfully, I had nurse Joy to help me out.
The moment came and sadly my baby was NOT able to latch on my breasts and I was not producing milk. We tried several times but both my baby and I would get disappointed every time. I think this was one of the saddest moments for me but I did not want to show my disappointment to my family and friends. I wanted to stay positive and not give up. I told myself that I will do everything in my powers and I will be keep trying (push lang ng push). The pediatrician visited me that day and she told me not to worry because the milk normally comes on the 3rd or 4th day (but it didn’t) after delivery. She advised me not to feel down and stay positive because it can cause postpartum depression.
I kept trying. Every 2 to 3 hours, I would try to latch and every time I would get more disappointed in myself. At one point, I really felt so guilty and mad at myself that I wanted to just give up but I stayed positive. In the 3 days in the hospital, I was not able to exclusively breastmilk with my own milk but we tried different ways to feed my baby while in the hospital. Let me share to this to you:
Nipple Shield– I used this since my nipples were inverted. I attached this to my nipple to mimic my real nipples and help my baby latch on me. This will allow maximum skin contact between me and the baby. But since no milk was coming out, we had to inject donated breastmilk inside the shield with a small mouth syringe. I did not buy one because I felt that my baby was not really able to get as much milk.
- Manual Pumping– I decided not to buy an electric pump before giving birth since I assumed that I did not need it right away. I was given 2 kinds of manual pumps in my baby shower. I tried it out while in the hospital and It did not work for me. I found it painful and hard to use.
- Cup Feeding– This was my first time to see a cup used for feeding a baby. St. Lukes BGC used a cup to feed my baby and I was so amazed. The reason why a cup is used rather than a bottle is to avoid nipple confusion.
This is my baby cup feeding. She was only 2 days old here. Galing noh!
- Continuous Latching– I made sure I latched every 2-3 hours with the help of the lactation nurse in the hospital. Practice makes perfect!
I went home 3 days after giving birth. I did not want to go on formula milk so I immediately posted on my Facebook feed if anyone could donate breastmilk for Lily (my baby). God was good because I received several messages from my cousin and High School batchmates. For the next few days, I relied on the donated breastmilk. This was the time when I worked on myself to produce milk. I sought advice from mommy friends, my pediatrician, my OBGYBN and mommy groups online (Do not be afraid to ask for help). I believe I tried every lactation aid available and ways to produce milk. I would like to share them with you because after 2 weeks of struggling and finding the right formula, I am able to produce an average of 1,200 ml a day or around 250 ml in one pumping session.
Tips on how to increase Breastmilk supply:
- Lactation Massages– My breasts were engorged and really painful because for the first week I had no milk coming out. I did not want to get an infection so I was advised to get a lactation massage. I was very fortunate to meet ESTELA PERONA (contact number: 0926 5494984) who does home service. She is very gentle and she even taught me how to properly latch. I really do recommend her. After one session, I started to watch youtube videos and I decided to do it myself. I would massage my breasts always before I pump or latch. I use VCO to massage.
- Malunggay Tea/ Freshly cooked Malunggay– I drank all kinds of Malunggay from tea bags, to concentrate, ice tea and cooked fresh Malunggay that I would mix with my meals.
- Soup– Every meal from breakfast to lunch and to dinner, I make sure that I have soup. I loved Tinola and Nilaga. This really helped me.
- Lactation Cookies– I believe this helped me a lot but mostly I love them because they tasted good. I’ve tried several brands but my favorite would be the classic milking bombs I saw on IG . They are so addicting. I would eat 3 a day ( if Only I could eat more)
- Fenugreek– They sell this is Healthy Options as pills but I did not want to take any pills. I saw a Milk drink in babymama.ph and decided to try it. I would drink it once a day together with my breakfast. Infairness, Masarap! tastes like Milo Drink
- Water– Keep Hydrated all day
- Hot Compress/Hot Baths– I would take hot showers and before every pumping session, I would use a hot towel to wipe my breasts before starting.
- Electric Pump– Not everyone will agree but this is the best investment for me. The moment I started pumping using an electric pump, my milk supply started to increase steadily. As mentioned, I started with an inverted nipple. The pump helped me produce milk and bring out my nipple.
- Pigeon Bottle and Dr. Browns Bottle– I am not that lucky to exclusively latch my baby. I bottle feed with my breastmilk. I tried a lot of brands and I found Pigeon and Dr. Browns the best in terms of the nipple shape and size.
- HAAKAA– One of the best inventions ever. This helps suction the milk from your breasts. while I pump one breast, I attach the Haakaa on the other breast and milk would just flow out. It helps to make sure no milk is wasted.
- Keep Latching and pumping every 3- 4 hours– I make sure that I still latch even if it is a struggle. After 3 weeks of trying, Lily is now able to latch properly. I also make sure I keep pumping. 8 am, 12nn, 4pm, 8pm then I latch during the evening until morning again.
I hope this helps! Here is my baby now at almost 1 month. Very Healthy and 100% breastfed.