My breastfeeding journey didn’t come easy on me unlike other Moms who lactated as soon as their babies were born. When I had my first baby, Kiara, I remembered how I tried so hard to stimulate my nipples so that the milk would come out. It was a success after a million times of trying and crying. Finally, I got the colostrum, the first secretion from the mammary glands after giving birth. Colostrum is color yellow and thick compared to milk and is rich in antibodies. It’s very important for the baby to get those colostrum in their bodies… it’s the most nutritious part of any Mom’s milk. With colostrum out, we still had problems.
Baby Kiara was an angry, impatient, hungry baby who wants her milk right away. She was more frustrated when she can’t latch onto my breasts and I got so devastated and really tired of trying that I almost gave up. Thankfully, after a few days, she managed to latch on, and the milk supply is getting better until… I had infections and needed to take antibiotics. I stopped lactating after I took the antibiotics that made me so angry and anxious. I wanted to breastfeed my baby but I couldn’t anymore because of the side effect of the antibiotic. I wanted to blame my OB Gynecologist for that but she couldn’t do anything about it either. I needed to take the antibiotics.
It’s always hard at first, I was so anxious that time and I think I had post partum depression. Kiara’s feeding journey didn’t stop there. The transition from breasts to bottle were a success but she was crying loudly all night and we were alarmed. We found out that she had colic. When taking infant powdered milk, she became colicky and her “normal – I want my milk now” cry turned into a “What’s happening to me? I feel so uncomfortable” cry. She wouldn’t stop crying especially in the middle of the night. She was so gassy and so flushed and tired so we brought her to our Doctor for a check up. Our pediatrician changed his infant milk into a milder form and we also used Gerber’s special milk bottle for colic babies. I remembered it clearly that I bought the Gerber’s fushia pink milk bottle. She felt better and we finally had a good night sleep – nah not really. But at least, she wasn’t crying excessively anymore. What a relief?
My father told us that his friend heard Kiara’s cry at night… Take note that the friend of my Dad lived far away from us – about 15 houses away from ours. LOL! That was definitely LOUD!
With Klarion, I was so keen to breastfeed her for months or even years but my nipples just didn’t cooperate at first. The nurses said my nipples were inverted and so they told me to use these Silicon Inverted Nipple Corrector every time I breastfeed her. It was also suggested to pump milk regularly so just to keep my milk going and also to correct my nipples. Klarion didn’t come home with us as soon as she was born. She stayed in the ICU for a few weeks because apparently her oxygen levels were low.
I was in an emergency Ceasarian with Klarion due to fetal distress. I would be posting a blog regarding my delivery story about fetal distress and will update you on this. She failed some of her Apgar Scale and she can’t sustain her breathing. She needed oxygen supply for weeks. Poor baby! I blamed myself for causing her to suffer like that.
Because I was a hard-headed Mom, I didn’t rest at home like my Midwife told me to do while recovering from a Ceasarian section. I couldn’t sleep and I was crying the whole night, I was thinking of my baby girl who was alone in the hospital and I felt so guilty that can’t be there for her 24/7. I wanted to see her, so first thing in the morning I got up, prepared and brought milk containers and stayed at the hospital for the whole day to be with her.
Work, Pump, Repeat. (Actually, more like Eat. Pump. Repeat) LOL! A few minutes pump on one breast and then the other. Literally, I felt like a milking cow during those times but I was the happiest cow in the world! Moo!
That’s how my life was during those days. I was just grateful that Klarion is such an angel! She was an adorable, peaceful and happy baby! It was a plus for us as parents that she’s a good baby!
Back in breastfeeding, it was a work in progress with my inverted nipples during latching but definitely a success on pumping milk. I had so much milk – literally, I was about to donate all my extra milk but I didn’t get the chance. I also didn’t want to pump my heart out and waste them when not needed. I just want nature to take its course. If my baby needs it I know I’ll produce more, if not, I won’t.
Klarion was mixed breastfed and bottle fed (breastmilk) of course, and I think it’s a relief for my breasts to have a short break especially when my nipples were sore.
I was so fortunate though that I had a successful breastfeeding journey with my second baby. By choice, I stopped when she was 6 months old. Looking back, I should have gone until she’s one year old or two. She had Karicare from 6 months onwards until she was 2 years old.
Khiron, my third baby had the longest breastfeeding experience. Breastfeeding became a natural thing for me this time. It was easy peazy… No! I lied. In terms of lactation, yes, I was lactating just as soon as he was born. I just need to stimulate my nipples here and there, pump left breast then right and it all came naturally. He was my only baby who latched really well without any problem. He actually was sucking and smacking his lips as soon as he got out. The nurse said, he was a hungry baby! He’s very clever!
Guilt was one thing had stuck in my head when I think of breastfeeding Khiron. I felt guilt every time he’s not sucking my nipples. I felt I wasn’t doing the best I can to give him nutrition and make him my love. I was determined to fully breastfeed him for a few years and in my head I said, I will never give up this time no matter how hard. He latched on every 20 minutes during his first weeks and eventually every hour then 2 hours max. He was always on my breasts. I got tired. I was restless and I didn’t have time for myself… like… nope! My life was taken over by this little man.
Giving him a bottle came to mind 4 months after because I got a call from work and they needed me badly. I had second thoughts in going back to work but at that time, I thought I needed to because we’re running out of funds. We’re getting financially broke. So I did even if it broke my heart.
I was so keen to breastfeed him at night and milk bottle him in the morning but the only problem was, he didn’t want to take the bottle. Believe me, we tried everything as in everything in our power so that he could take the bottle but nothing worked. He really didn’t want to suck on a bottle.
These are 10 tricks to switch breastfeeding to bottle.
(We’ve tried all these 10 tricks which actually worked for other babies, but not mine.)
1. Offer him a bottle to get him used to the nipple. Patiently wait for him to latch on to the nipple of the milk bottle. Pinching the nipple, making the milk to drip onto his mouth.
2. Try a Slow-Flow nipple. Other nipples may flood your baby with milk. Using a slow-flow nipple helps your baby to suck the milk like it was from the breasts.
3. Let someone else feed him the first bottle. We asked our friend to try to feed him with milk from a bottle. He was confused at first but it’s a good trick to tell your baby that Mom’s breasts aren’t available, so he needs to be fed with bottle by someone else, initially.
4. Try to be out of the house. Babies can smell his mother, even from far away. Hiding from one room in your house won’t do the trick. You really have to leave the house. Believe it or not – they know.
5. Use a nipple similar to his pacifier or close to the Mom’s nipple. We’ve bought dozens of nipples as we were so keen for him to be bottled fed but nothing worked. We also warmed the nipples every feeding so it will be more appealing to him as Mom’s nipples are warm.
6. Let your baby play with the nipple. He needs to be familiarized with the nipples you are using. Touching it or chewing it for now is a good indication. He would eventually start sucking on it.
7. Hold your baby in a different position. Don’t do the breastfeeding position. Try feeding him in an infant car seat, head semi-upright. Also try to feed him on your lap facing away from you. Once successful, you can already turn him towards you.
8. Try different temperatures. Babies are picky with temperatures. Some babies like their milk slightly warm, others a bit cold. Try to experiment with different temperatures and check which one he prefers.
9. Offer the bottle in different times of the day. Try feeding your baby in the morning when he’s not used at night or vice versa.
10. Skip a Feed. Delaying his feeding time. Surely, he will take the bottle if he’s really hungry.
He started to eat solid food when he was 4 months because he refused to drink from a bottle and because he needed to eat something, that’s what we did at home and at the day care. Khiron was a hard-headed baby who insisted of eating solid food than drinking from a bottle. He would wait for me to come home so he could have a good amount of Mommy milk in his body. I felt bad about it! I can’t imagine how bad I was to go to work while my 4 months old baby was in the day care struggling to drink from a bottle. The teachers in the day care helped him to settle for bottle but then again they were never successful. So we opted to feeding him with solid foods while he’s in the day care and I’ll breastfeed him when I’m around. This set up had never changed until he reached 2 years old. He’s still breastfed until 2.6 years old.
Weaning him from breastfeeding at that age was a bit easy but took as quite a long time to really grasp the concept. We told him consistently that from now on, if he wants milk he’ll drink from a bottle but you know what, he still didn’t want the bottle. He would rather drink fresh milk from a cup but never ever on a bottle until he totally forgot about my breasts.
He’s nearly 4 now and I noticed that Khiron still misses my breasts. He knows he can’t drink from them anymore but once in a while, especially at night, he would touch and feel my breasts to fall asleep. To be honest, sometimes I let him do it but other times I get annoyed lol. He would stop eventually though in a very silly way.
I hope you somehow relate to my breastfeeding story and also I want to know you’re own breastfeeding story… Let me know in the comments below as every one’s story is different and each one is important.