Nothing quite prepares one for parenthood except becoming a parent yourself. At its core, parenthood is a deeply personal and subjective affair. The most important mindset I’ve adopted over the past weeks is to quit feeling guilty over ignoring anyone’s advice.
Case in point, let’s talk about breastfeeding.
During a regular visit to the pediatrician, a lactation consultant from the clinic offered to study my breastfeeding position. She appeared genuinely concerned about my use of a breast pump, and offered to see if there were ‘issues with my baby’s latching’.
It’s my choice, I told her, to prepare myself when I eventually head back to work.
Allow me to see if there are problems with your baby feeding directly since you’re pumping and mixed feeding, she said.
I’ve made this choice way before my baby was born, after balancing the pros of breastmilk and the time-consuming downside to exclusive breastfeeding. Not to mention stress on the mother when she doesn’t produce enough for her baby. As a lactation consultant, all she succeeded in was to irritate me, and I politely rejected her request to ‘help us’ in our breastfeeding journey.
Sharing an article I found super encouraging entitled “Let’s Talk About Pumping“, written by Julia’s Way, in which she says pumping is breastfeeding.
When I co-sleep with my baby at night, he latches perfectly. But I’m up for almost an hour and a half, getting him into a comfortable position, coaxing him to feed, calming his fussy mood, waking him up when he’s fallen asleep at my boob. Breastfeeding organically might be the ‘most natural way’, but certainly isn’t the most comfortable. I may get more sleep by bottle feeding him while pumping.
To each his own.
Breastfeeding is also about data and numbers.
By pumping, I get to know how much he’s getting from breastmilk & formula at each feed, so he’s not over or under-fed. I had zero clue how much I was producing until I worked the pump motor. I logged down all of my output to understand what time I was producing most (midnight to morning), what foods or supplements gave me better output. Legendairy supplements are working for me. That’s a story for another time.
There’s an entire market of products for breastfeeding mothers. Venturing into this prior to giving birth, advertisements and information on forums and social media swamped me, but what works for others may not work for you. Breastfeeding is especially personal afterall.
After loads of research, I’m using Spectra S1 with a hands-free set at home, and a light weight portable Hegen for pumping in the car or on the go, since some of the nursing rooms in Singapore are filthy. Many places still aren’t nursing friendly.
Unlike countries where mothers feel okay to breastfeed in public, with or without nursing covers, Singapore and Singaporeans aren’t open enough for that kind of public action.
When I was visiting Europe, mothers were breastfeeding with nursing covers in parks, at benches in shopping malls, and while waiting for public transport or on trains. I’ve seen a group of mothers breastfeed their babies in a public park, under a tree, uncovered, while their older kids played frisbee around them. Honestly, that’s a beautiful sight.
I’m sure this would be video-ed and discussed negatively in Singapore’s context.
More men should advocate the right to lactate where mothers feel comfortable to feed their babies, and that should not be in dirty nursing rooms near toilets. Most shopping malls don’t even maintain clean nursing rooms!
I mean, you don’t eat near toilets, so why should our babies?