Breastfeeding is Completely Natural…or not!


When you find out you are pregnant, all different kinds of images pop into your head.  Perfect bellies with no stretch marks; prenatal classes that will help you have the perfect birth; no pain; and of course doing the one thing that your body is usually made to do–provide nourishment as soon and bubba is born which is to breastfeed.  To prepare for this, my husband and I took a class with the La Leche League of Hong Kong which was pretty great with lots of information.  You can’t really practice breastfeeding before baby arrives, but I never imagined the pain and the difficulty that came with breastfeeding for the very first time.

My first baby was born naturally, but for precautionary reasons, she was taken to special care for testing as she was born with a fever.  They started her on antibiotics when they suspected she may have had pneumonia.  Fortunately she was clear, but unfortunately, it made it difficult to get the breastfeeding going right, right at the beginning.  The nurses in special care are amazing at their job up there, but just don’t have the extra time to help with breastfeeding issues.  Only one of the nurses encouraged me to just keep trying to put my baby at the breast.  We had some latching issues as my nipples were “flatter” than normal.  My husband was very encouraging and went home and did research and found many articles that said it was still very possible to breastfeed with “flat nipples” so once we got home, I called in a lactation consultant to help.

It was very painful as we were learning a little later in the game.  I got engorged as my supply got messed up with pumping while she was in special care and also not always having her in the best position, but eventually about 3 weeks into it, it started getting better.  I think it took over a month before it really felt normal.  I have to thank Hulda again of Annerley for encouraging me to keep trying and my husband for helping me through the pain of those first couple months.  Lanolin also became my best friend in those early days.

When baby A came along, I was nervous about how it would be but also felt comfort in knowing that I did it with S, so it would be much better this time.  A latched on right away after he was born and it felt so good knowing that it was going to so much better this time.  It still took about a week or 2 before there was no pain, but I rarely felt engorged and didn’t get as much pain.

So, to all the mothers who at least try to breastfeed their babies, give yourself a pat on the back because it’s not always as easy as it seems.  And to those of you worried, get help as soon as possible because it makes all the difference in the world to your experience and make sure you have encouraging people around you.  It can be such a psychological game because if you worry and stress to much, that can affect your supply so make sure you believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you.  It’s really easy to give up with all the marketing of formula around in some places, but just remind yourself that baby is getting enough if he’s growing and gaining the right amount.

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About mommyhoodhk

I'm a mommy of 2, a daughter who just is 7.5 (!) and a son who is 6 (!). Living in Hong Kong and raising a little girl and a little boy married to a wonderful man who is supportive of all of my endeavors. Learning new things everyday and trying to be the best parent and wife I can be. I've also recently re-entered the workforce and back at my old clinic, Sutherland-Chan Centre on a part-time basis.
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4 Responses to Breastfeeding is Completely Natural…or not!

  1. Amen, Anna! I want to add that many of us have mothers who might have been caught in a strange generational blip where breastfeeding was discouraged and viewed as unnecessary in light of the availability of formula. It can be really disrupting to a new mother if she is hearing some of these residual beliefs from a female role model, even if science is on bf’ing’s side.

    Here in the U.S., some of the lowest rates of breastfeeding are found in the community of low income African American mothers. (For more on this, see http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/1/305S.short). We need to pay special attention to this and support women of color, including immigrants who move from more traditional societies to those that readily offer formula as an alternative.

    Know what resources are available in your community so you can refer struggling friends when they need the help.

  2. mommyhoodhk says:

    My mom was caught up in that, that formula was just as good and she went back to work a month after I was born. I hear from a lot of moms that do have problems with breastfeeding don’t have the support from their own moms, worried their grandchildren aren’t getting enough and if the baby is crying, it’s because they are hungry. I need to post some more links to different resources! Thanks Tash!

  3. My mom told me that her milk dried up after she moved some heavy furniture. She tested this by putting a spoon of vinegar to my lips and my infant self slurped it up. I have Googled this time and time again and I always come up with the research that heavy exercise will not dry up your milk. A friend I had a great discussion about the misinformation our mothers give or gave us, and we agreed that it is perhaps wise to keep in mind that our moms did the best that they could with the information that they had at the time.

  4. mommyhoodhk says:

    I turned out ok and I was a formula fed baby. I’ve been told by midwives that it’s best to avoid heavy cardio exercise because that will affect your milk supply. I just avoided it, but I’m sure it’s ok once your supply has been established. My mom was told by her doctor that there was no difference between formula or breast until she had her 3rd baby so she breastfed my brother for 3 months.

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