Little did I know... breastfeeding is not an easy task as I thought it was. I have never felt the urge to lookup infos on breastfeeding whilst I was pregnant. I always thought, I've got boobies, that's all I need. Lo and behold.......
On the first day when I thought Khairaldin was feeding OK, apparently he wasn't. Imagine the whole day he did not get any milk from me. Firstly, my baby sleeps a lot. Secondly, he rarely cries. So that ended up with me not wanting to wake him up for feeds. He will wake up about every 6 hours and that's when I "feed" him. Noone told me that newborn baby has to be fed AT LEAST every 2 hourly!!!!!
About 2 and a half days after he was born, midwife came to check baby and I. He was suspected jaundice. So we brought him to the hospital and they did thorough check, they found out he was also dehydrated! The doctor then advised us to stay in the hospital so that they can monitor his feeding & jaundice. Before admitting into the ward, the nurse had to put a cannula on his feet to up his fluid intake just in case he don't want breast milk. Whilst the nurse was inserting the cannula, a colleague of hers asked, "Aww, have you been feeding properly Khalid?" The nurse instantly answered "No! That's why he's in here!!". I literally cried in front of her because at that point I just felt like I was the lousiest mom ever! How could she say such thing??? She knew that he was my first. Of course I was struggling. Saying things like that won't make the situation any better! I thought to myself, if I were to take this too personally I could definitely be diagnosed for post-natal depression. So I tried to calm down. Iskandar wasn't around at this time because he had to go back and pack our bags. We didn't expect to be admitted.
After settling down, the nurse in the children's ward helped me with everything.... a lot!!!!!! She was truly sincere at doing her job. She asked me if baby was fed properly. Then I just answered "I thought he was but apparently NOT! That's why we are here" and I sobbed. Khairaldin's nurse then said, "Don't take it hard on yourself! It is hard being a first time Mom. You might not have any milk yet. I tell you what, why don't you try expressing your milk. I'll help you to it." So she did. I managed to get only about 10ml of Colostrum. Yes, my milk didn't kick in yet even after 3 days. Since that was the case, Khairaldin had to go on formula milk for the whole night. I cried again!!!!! I was planning to breast feed him till at least he's 2 years old. Having to give him formula milk definitely broke my heart to pieces. I then sms-ed my Mom & sister to ask them what I can do to increase my milk. My mom called me and told me to drink milk, water and eat properly. I cried again whilst on the phone with Mom. She said, "it's ok, you were formula fed for a bit because of jaundice too. But in the end you ended up breastfeeding till you were 3 years old. It will all be OK, Insha'Allah."
After I had pumped every 2 hourly, then only I can feel my breast engorged and filled with milk. That was nearly the 4th day. But Khairaldin's paed told me not to feed him from the breast and keep on pumping and giving formula milk. That was truly hard. He also had to stay in the "sunbed" for the whole night because his jaundice level increased. So I had the least contact with my son. Thankfully we got the chance to stay with him in the same room. We got to touch him and caress him every now and then. Since my boobs were too engorged and I had no clue what to do, I cried again! This time with a nurse around. Gosh, the number of time I cried just to breastfeed him was countless! I had to beg the nurses to let me feed him straight from the breast because I wasn't too sure how to feed. In the end they let me.
I also had to be half naked in the room because my nipples were sore. The nurses were so kind that they put a sign up asking people to knock first before entering. I felt more at eased that time. We thought we were only being admitted for 1 or 2 nights but we ended up being there for at least 4 nights!!!! Thank god Iskandar can also sleep in the same room as Khairaldin & I because breastfeeding Moms were allowed a private room to themselves. So he was with us throughtout the breastfeeding journey.
On the final day, his paed insist on giving him more milk just to make sure that he wants breast milk and was ready to go home. We then finally managed to get the amount that was recommended. By this time, his jaundice level has decreased and he also gained some weight.
So for those Moms to be who are planning to breast feed you child, I'd advise you to get a breast pump FIRST before anything else. I never knew how important it was until I was admitted in the hospital. Yes, breast pumps are expensive but it's definitely worth it! Alhamdulillah until today, my breast is full and Insha'Allah I will be able to feed him until he's 2 years old or ready to wean off.
Wishing all of you the best of luck for your breastfeeding journey. It is do-able Insha'Allah, with lots of determination and great strength. :-)