Water into Milk

Water into Milk

May 28, 2007, 0 Comments

I spoke with several new mothers and they all seemed to breeze through breastfeeding. Part of the natural order of childbirth, God endowed all women with the ability to nurse, and it is a joy, to say the least. The nurses placed my baby on my breast just few minutes after he was born and he was suckling happily while I looked on in a daze, unsure of what to feel, for the very first time. Armed with knowledge from antenatal classes and a very competent lactation consultant, I still struggled for the first few days, Reason: A big baby! Weighing in at 3.74kg at birth, he is a big baby even by Caucasian standard. Hence my sore nipples. A feeding pillow saved the day but the worse is not over.

Weeks following while I nurse, baby starts crying intermittently during the 8pm feed and last till about 10pm almost everyday. Frustrated, exhausted and ignorant, we made wild guesses, from colicky to hunger to too hot, too cold, diapers wet etc. We tried everything to soothe the baby. Advises from our lactation consultant and friends finally made us realize that baby was actually hungry! And his cries simply mean that my milk supply wasn’t quick enough to meet his demands.

First time parents know that a baby’s cry was intended to send tsunami-like panic waves to all around. We were not spared. Being a women and a mom, I was determined to give my baby the best and only breast milk does it. So the beginning of each night is an acrobatic of sorts with participants from all in the family.

Guilty, we look for reasons and blame ourselves for not being up to it. Not enough rest, not enough fluids, not enough nutrients, and the load added on. Exhausted, I was determine however to find the cause and do something about it.

Some people suggested giving formula. It would be a quick fix and the entire better for baby to quench his hunger really. But there will be no end to it, so we were determined not to give in so quickly. The technical part to it is that babies under one month of age are still developing their suckling reflex and the more bottles they are given, the less chance of using their jaw muscles and hence less able to suckle properly at the breast (technical term: Nipple confusion). Bottle-fed babies get their food quicker than at the breast. Liquid flows through the teat and food is therefore SENT to him, while breast-fed babies need to WORK at getting their food! COOL theory isn’t it?

So began a mother’s quest for precious breast milk. To increase my supply, I started the routine of pumping 15mins at each breast after every direct feed, that is a 2 hourly pump according to my baby’s demand schedule. From a mere 60ml per 3 hourly from birth up to a month, he has shifted to 4th gear, requiring 100ml per 2hourly. I use a manual pump, cheaper and easier to control. My right arm ache after just one day. At night feed, I try to beat his biological clock by waking up half an hour before his feed time and pump. I relied on frens who were great moral boosters. Our desperate prayers went like this, “God if you can turn water to wine, surely you can turn water to milk!!” I drank like a camel. Home-made soya bean drink, soups, water, milk, milo. I took Fernugreek herb.

At week 6, my baby is a happy and satisfied baby slurping 100ml, week 7 at 125ml and tipping 140ml, reaching 165ml. My perseverance has paid off, and who knows, maybe God had really turned water into milk!

If you are reading this, you are either interested in breastfeeding or character training. Or both.

Have you ever thought? If we could love our fellow people like we love our own babies, what great and mighty work we can do for the kingdom of God!

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