Saturday, 8 September 2012


Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 233.

I have been breastfeeding The Little Girl since birth and we are at month 29 and still counting.
On the first 2 days, The Little Girl survived on colustrum. We were discharged after 1 night at the hospital and went back to The House for the next 42 days. My MIL wasn't confident that I could breastfeed (with endless negative comments and I do not blame her for thinking that I was starving my newborn because obviously The Little Girl was thriving!) and my SIL never did it either (she prefers the "convenience of infant formula/her 5 children are successfully bred exclusively on infant formula and cow's milk", etc.). Well, I respect their respective choice in regards to their children.
In order to satisfy my MIL's curiosity and concern about how much breastmilk The Little Girl was getting, I started expressing with Avent breastpump and stored them into the Avent feeding bottles. We also purchased the Avent bottle warmer and steriliser. Every bottle contained 2 oz (the yield for every session of 4 hourly pumping was about 6 to 8 oz per session) in the early days.

Food and drinks that helped increase breastmilk supply as well as thicken my milk for me included Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid Tea, fenugreek in soup, steamed pumpkin, spinach with wolfberries, cheesecake, steamed salmon with wolfberries and ginger julienne, steamed cod with wolfberries and ginger julienne, papaya chicken soup, red date tea, fenugreek chocolate drink and ikan haruan with fenugreek. After the confinement period, scallops and oysters were added to soups to increase my protein intake.
As a newborn, The Little drank 2 oz every 2 hours, then incrementally to 3 oz and 4 oz (but remained feeding at every 2 hours!). By the time she was 4 months old, her dinner feeds sometimes went up to 6 oz (and she woke up after 2 hours, asking for more milk!). Needless to say, I was drinking so much liquid to keep up with her, chocolate malt and soya drinks were never too far from my reach.
Truthfully, the short episode of allowing my MIL to occasionally feed The Little Girl during day time if I happened to be pumping to relieve the engorged breasts was not really helping. The Other Half and I ended up washing tonnes and tonnes of little parts of the breastpump and bottles in the little sink in our bedroom for 42 days then sterilising them thoroughly. We got cracked skin to show for it. Needless to say, the stress compunded by lack of sleep drove us nuts.
I preferred direct feed but it did not always work in my favour either. I got mastitis. Twice. My nipples cracked and bled occasionally when The Little Girl unintentionally bit me (she had a small mouth as she was born 3 weeks ahead of her EDD, hungry, impatient and sleepy all at the same time). So the pumping continued for the next few months but since we were back at The Apartment for half the week, the washing up in the kitchen was slightly more bearable.

As we were bored stiff after 44 days of being confined to our huge/fully equipped bedroom upstairs, we started taking The Little Girl out with us once we got back to The Apartment. We became quickly acquainted with feeding rooms in KL and PJ shopping malls, preferring to frequent shopping malls with proper facilities than those without. I never could nurse in a feeding room next to the public toilets (would you eat inside/next to the filthy and smelly public toilets, fellow architects who design them so?) - and sometimes had to nurse in a discreet corner of a cafe or restaurant. The nursing poncho was always in the baby bag and could have not been any handier! 
Golden lessons I have learned along the way, and continue to learn ceaselessly:
1. Stick to one's commitment to breastfeed. Direct feed or EBM is my choice. This is my baby, my life. This has to suit me. Yes, me.
2. If you are not breastfeeding, do not come and sell me your "infant formula is just as good/mimics breastmilk/I have my total freedom back right after birth" crap.
3. If you are also breastfeeding, do not show off by telling me that you can produce so much milk that you can feed a village if you wanted to.
4. If my baby has cow milk intolerance because we know from a blood test to confirm it, do not push goat milk/oatmilk/soyamilk sales talk down my throat. Thank you for the available options. We will keep those in mind.
5. If you were too tired to wake up to feed your child when you were breastfeeding, you have said it right. It WAS YOU. Not me. Thank you.
and 6., perhaps most importantly:
rope in The Other Half 100% for that unwavering support, especially in the early days when possibly as an inexperienced first time mother under stress and healing pains, your every last nerve has been trampled on and your sanity may be fraying.
I have learnt NOT to listen to negative comments. Well meaning people or even family members and close friends may say it out of "love and concern" but as a first time mother, tired and clinically postpartum depressed, I could really appreciate kinder comments. If any comments has to be made, please try to have some understanding and indulge me with some personal space to do my own thing.

Having (bitterly) accounted all that, we have (proudly) not quite worked out a weaning programme until today!
The only growing up milk powder that does not result in The Little Girl's vomit/eczema is Anmum Essential Stage 3. She drinks from a cup now, or mixed into her baby oats porridge. When we bake and the ingredient requires cow milk, we use the Anmum Essential Stage 3 for her sake too.
May Allah forgive me for my stubborness/insolence in wanting to stick to my commitment to breastfeed and may Allah guide us along to be better persons, Amin!


  1. This is an excellent post, and I share your exact sentiments on ALL your golden lessons. :)

  2. Thank you, Peter & Joyce. I cannot wait for your latest addition to arrive for even better testament of breastfeeding goodness!