The Busy Mum’s Guide: Nursing 101 – Good to Knows and Essentials

So you intend to nurse… Good on you! Nursing is very effort intensive and contrary to what some daddies may think (Oh you just lie around doing nothing!), it’s actually very tiring to breast feed and it saps away all your time. This post includes some good to knows that I gathered over my 18-month breastfeeding journey.

Some lessons that I learnt:
1. Nursing them to sleep: 
It might be easier to nurse them to sleep at the beginning, but 2 years on you might become a human pacifier.

2. Introducing the bottle:
Don’t take website advice as the holy grail. Many websites advised not to introduce a bottle before 4-6 weeks. It really depends on your child. For us we followed it and the kid refused to take a bottle after that. It was particularly distressing to watch the infant care struggle to syringe feed. Baby E took a whooping 4 months to take to a bottle.

3. Bottle vs Nursing:
There’s never a balance between the bottle and nursing. Once you introduce the bottle, they never latch the same way ever again. You may need to correct your child’s latch from time to time when they get too used to the bottle.

4. Supply woes:
If you think you do not have sufficient supply, think again. Keep latching and the milk will come. Should you allow anyone, be it hospital nurses or confinement lady, to introduce any formula, your supply will drop and eventually you’ll be on formula. Of course, if you have a furious impatient baby that refuses to latch, I guess sometimes it’s tough.

5. Sudden refusal of bottle:
Don’t assume that your baby will always take a bottle just because she took one when she was younger. For those who need to return to work, give a bottle once a day. Probably a good chance to get Daddy involved too. It is extremely tiring to have to sterilise, pump, wash pump parts and milk bottle so give yourself a break and get Daddy to do the feeding and washing up.

6. Excess lipase issues:
Some of us may have too much lipase in our milk. This results in a rancid smell in the milk after it has been kept for a few days. To overcome that, you can either scald the milk, or keep your milk in an airtight container. I used milk bags and squeezed the air out of it, which kept the milk fresh for 2 more days. I was excited to see some containers that allow you to pump air out of the bottle, creating a vacuum such that the milk doesn’t oxidise so quickly. Of course, by the time I saw these, I was already considering weaning so we didn’t get it.

Some items that you will need as a nursing mum:
1. Nursing pads
There are disposable and reusable types. Personally, I used disposable types from Pigeon and bought the bulk pack from a seller from Qoo10 which ships them in from Japan. I tried Avent too but the adhesive wasn’t very good and the pads kept dropping which was REALLY annoying. The leaking of breasts stopped after about 1 year? So on hindsight I didn’t need to get so much nursing pads and I’m really sorry for the environmental damage that I caused. I didn’t opt for reusable pads due to worries over hygiene.

2. Nursing bras (Not of utmost necessity but it’s much easier to have these)
I got 2 from a babyfair that’s from the Annee Matthew brand and I really loved how soft they are. They’re a tad pricey compared to those I found on Qoo10 though… I got almost the exact same thing (ok the cloth is less soft) at $9.90 and ended up buying like maybe 10 other pieces in 2 sizes. This brings me to my next point: Bra extenders are your friends.

I cycled through S, M and L sizes because my size kept increasing during pregnancy and after giving birth. On hindsight, I really could have used bra extenders to extend the life of my nursing bras because after a year, they’re pretty much back to the original S size (sighs I was hoping for a permanent upsize. Dang it).

3. Milk storage bags and bottles
Disposable storage bags are good to haves if you intend to store a frozen stash, or if you have lipase problems like me. Not the most environmentally friendly, but yes, babies aren’t the most environmentally friendly creatures out there, with diapers and all.

4. Breast Milk pump and bottles
Get a hospital grade one right from the beginning. Don’t be like me, I had to upgrade in the middle when the supply was dwindling and I wanted to provide more for the kid. I found that import sets (ie. no warranty and instructions are in Korean) from Qoo10 (I used Spectra) work wonders too. But of course it’s heng sway.

5. Loads of patience and determination
It will be tough to keep going once you’re back at work. People looking at you with eyes accusing you of slacking when you go for your pump breaks, work piling up and stress reducing your supply. So determination is your best friend. Some of us have wonderful colleagues fully supportive of breastfeeding of course, and I do hope you have them around you.

Alright…gonna end here because the post has become too long. I do get quite carried away with these mummy stuff. =x

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