Saturday, July 5, 2014

Breastfeeding: The Working Mom

It’s been 5 months and I am happy to say that our little one is still exclusively breastfed. Getting here was no walk in the park though. It is during difficult times that I’d tell myself that if I don’t love my baby, or if I didn’t have a support system, I would’ve given up. Breastfeeding, in my opinion, was designed in the premise that mothers are supposed to be with their little ones 24/7. For the working mom, however, it’s a test of patience and endurance.

The Good

I wanted the Cimilre M1 pump but the high cost of P7800.00 was something I intended to postpone for until I go back to work from my maternity leave and earn again. Good thing sold some test breast pump kits at half its actual cost, so I grabbed one. It was so efficient! I’ll post a separate review about it but in a nutshell, it’s worth its price and you can never go wrong if you decide to get it for yourself. Because of my efficient pump, I am able to troubleshoot my oversupply by pumping before directly feeding my little one. I was able to save so much milk with this routine that I am able to donate to other children who needed them. I am overwhelmed by how grateful mommies are for receiving my milk that they bring me fruits and letters that make me happy. Thanks to Human Milk for Human Babies for creating a network for milk sharing.

Also, I am blessed that our company already took on the responsibility of supporting the milk code. Hence, we already have a lactation room and lactation provisions are already in place. I am able to bring fresh milk home to my daughter that she never had to drink milk that is more than 3 days old. At work, I realized that a 15-minute pumping session would actually consume more time than 15 minutes because of the preparation and the clean-up. Wonderful mommies from Facebook community’s Breastfeeding Pinays suggested that I place the breast flanges in the fridge so that the droplets of milk that stayed there will not spoil and the flanges will be ok to use the whole day without washing. That brilliant idea did reduce the time, but it still didn’t fit the 15-minute break, so I reduced my sessions to just 10 minutes. I know that by law, lactating moms already have an extra 40-minute lactation break but the work that I do affects a class of 20+ participants who don’t have lactation breaks like I do. There were even busy days when I had to reduce the frequency of my pumping sessions and it did have an effect on my milk supply. That was blessing in disguise by the way because I used to have oversupply and I don’t anymore.

The Bad

I knew since my first day back at work that feeding through the bottle is not my little one’s kind of thing. But because a lot of moms assured me that the baby would eventually feed through the bottle, I gave in and let go of all my worries. When I went back to work on a morning shift, she did drink from the bottle but only enough so she doesn’t feel hungry. When I get home, she would nurse as if there’s no tomorrow, leaving me with little sleep. That was ok with me until I was transferred to the evening shift. Serene sleeps through the night as long as breast milk is readily available once she shows early signs of hunger. However, that is not the case in the morning. In the morning, she would have more awake times than sleep times and it left me with very little to no sleep. That was still fine with me as long as my baby feeds until…

The Ugly

…we started struggling through feedings. Initially, I noticed that everytime I tried to carry my baby by cradle position, she squirmed and eventually cried out loud that I can’t feed her anymore. Drew found out that the nanny forced her to feed through the bottle even when she’s not ready. I can’t put all the blame on her because 1. She’s not a mother, and 2. Even if she were a mother, not all mothers are equipped with knowledge about breastfeeding because 3. Not all mothers breastfed their children; Not even my own mom and 4. We don’t have the luxury of time to wait until she’s ready just to feed her and make her sleep.Even I confess that I force her to feed at times when I’m almost late for work.  At that phase, I will only be able to feed her if we both laid down on side-lying position.That meant I wasn’t supposed to go out with her anymore but I wanted to. I want to bring her to the mall, to Sunday service and everywhere I am except at work. So, I forced her to feed by cradle position all the more which traumatized her further until she won’t feed without a battle.

The End

Drew and I decided that we had to put an end to the war Serene and I had everytime she needs to feed, so we sought help from a lactation consultant. While at the clinic, Serene amazed the pedia / lactation consultant by showing her how difficult it was to feed her. We tried waiting for her to initiate the feeding on her own by cradle position, saddle position, side-lying position and cup-feeding but she just screamed the whole time and refused to feed. Looking at our scenario, the lactation consultant agreed that we have been doing a bad job by forcing Serene to feed. She suggested that until our baby forgets how it feels to be forced to feed, we have to make her really really sleepy before we offer her milk – by bottle or by breast. She said that this is also the time when babies’ gums are swollen in preparation for teeth to come out which aggravates the situation. For this, she advised that we apply teething gel to her gums to alleviate her pain / irritation. These we followed to the T. I made a commitment to not fret if I am about to go to work and Serene is not yet ready to nurse, making sure that everyone else does the same with her bottle.

Now, our baby is moving on from her breastfeeding trauma. We stuck with her favorite bottle, the Pigeon wide-neck with peristaltic nipple, when I’m away and we have seen great progress with the way she nurses – by bottle or by breast. There is no more battle – just a bit of tension and hesitation but I am positive that we are moving toward peaceful nursing in the near future. I’m excited for her to turn 6 months so she could start solids. Yey!

your every woman,


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