My boobs, my fun pillows, my tatas. Rose by any other name smells as sweet.
My breasts by any other names are just “neyney” to Liam, my son.
To date, I have been exclusively breastfeeding Liam for 1 year and 3 months. I still don’t know when I will stop.
While still pregnant, I dreamt about having Liam put on my chest straight after birth so that he could slowly nudge his way towards my breasts. According to what I have read, babies are supposed to be able to do that; they can detect their mommies’ breasts and go for a drink right after birth. How amazing is nature?
But I knew one thing for sure, I was going to try but I wasn’t going to be adamant about it. If I have no milk, there will always be other alternatives, I told myself.
At 32 weeks 4 days pregnant, fate decided otherwise for me. There were no other choices. My breastfeeding journey started out as a necessity. Liam was born prematurely and his neo-natal paediatrician was insistent that breast milk would help him to recover faster and better.
Gareth, my husband who had also read up extensively about breastfeeding concurred with our doctor’s advice.
Did you know that breast milk automatically adjusts its nutrition and content accordingly to your baby? That is why it’s so important for me to feed Liam with my milk, because only my body could create the right nourishment to nurse him back to health and to a healthy weight.
We came home without my baby. While I lied in bed worrying about Liam who was in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), my husband went out and bought one of the best double breast pumps in the market for me.
I remember both of us sitting on the sofa studying this new machine that would become my faithful companion for 5 months. I tried it on. It pumped and pumped and nothing came out. I left it switched on for almost 45 minutes and then….it happened!
My first pumping session.
Yellowish liquid squirted out of my nipple. Oh my god…MILK!
I stored whatever I could in the freezer and brought it to the hospital so that the nurse could feed Liam via the gavage tube. On the 3rd day, we received a call from the hospital saying Liam was strong enough to be nursed directly. I was elated.
I remember thinking to myself when I started – how was he going to drink from my nipple? It was bigger than his face!
The gavage line in his mouth was a hindrance at first, but Liam and I soon worked around it. Soon, he took to it like duck to water.
Liam was out of NICU in 12 days, and discharge out of the hospital 11 days later.
I credit most of it to my dear ol’ breasts. It’s not only the magic milk, but also the act of breastfeeding, the skin to skin contact it helped Liam to regulate his body temperature and also he could get my fauna to help him cope with his surrounding environment.
It seems counter intuitive to nurse your baby while you’re nursing a cold yourself, but it’s actually the best thing to do. Something to note is that Liam has never caught a cold from me or Gareth or anyone. This is because even when I have been exposed to a sickness, he receives my antibodies against it via my breast milk, making him stronger.
Nursing in public for the first time.
I saw before my eyes, how he grew bigger and bigger every month on just my milk alone. It was fascinating to observe. I am proud and thankful for my breasts for being able to transform my baby from a mere 1.7kg to now a healthy 9.5kg. And without spending any money too hehe.
I must not lie, there were plenty of difficulties with breastfeeding – low milk supply, plugged ducts, engorgement and cracked nipples, a slew of issues that warrant its own post.
But they are just my breasts adjusting to its new role. Seeing my son grow up so healthily makes it all worthwhile.