Life, Motherhood

Dealing with Engorgement

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Only people who face it knows how painful it is, and how stressful it is to the mother. It feels so heavy, so full, and so hard like rock, and it becomes so sensitive. I’ve never felt that kind of pain before in my life.
Imagine, on the early days after labor, I was engorged about every 1.5 hours after feeding my baby. Just about when my baby is suppose to feed, I got engorged. Great. And they say don’t feed a child when you have engorgement. What should I do?

The nurses at KPJ advised me to pump every time I feel full. For myself, that’s every 1 hour. I don’t have that high determination to pump every hour! Though I regret it now. If only I fully understand the concept of demand vs supply back then. If only I took advantage of my pain of having engorgement every 1.5 hours by pumping milk, I would have relaxed more in pumping afterwards. I pumped out 3oz per session on my 3rd day post labour, I wonder what will be my supply now if I pump religiously at that time.

So how did I deal with engorgement?

Trick passed to me by the nurses: fill in hot water into the milk storage bottle (not too hot, just nice temperature), roll it over on miss B & massage on the lump areas. That’s where the milk are kept (you may want to put bottle or towel below, it will drip!). As it softens, pump the milk out.

You see, depending on your baby’s demand and the capacity of miss B, you may have little output after pump. Don’t worry so much, your baby gets enough milk!

I will share with you the experience I had when pumping, feeding my baby and hearing some demotivating words from people, but let’s keep it for next post!

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The Basics of Breastfeeding

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Engorgement. Let down reflex. Demand vs supply.

Of all the things that I feel less knowledge about, it’s breastfeeding. Yet, before Aydeen was born, I was very determined that I am going be a fully breastfeeding mom. I thought reading about it starting on my 8-month pregnancy was sufficient. Boy, was I ever so wrong in my life.

It helped me to be mentally prepared for breastfeeding, yes. But educating me on how to avoid engorgement? No. Understanding on stress level vs let down reflex? Yes, but not at THE understanding level.
If I understood about the relationship so darn well, I wouldn’t have stress my head off on the 3rd day postpartum when Aydeen was a bit dehydrated. We were at the emergency area of the hospital all night long, and I refused to eat anything. I was only thinking about my 3 days-old baby who had some blood in his pee. Seeing him with needles and screaming as hell was unbearable, only when the result came out saying he’s ok, only a little bit dehydrated. We were there until midnight.

If I understand about the relationship of stress & let down reflex, I wouldn’t cry so damn hard on day 4 postpartum when suddenly I was engorged as hell but no milk coming out (how could I even let people let me think I have no milk, I was so stupid)! I was so damn tired due to the case at emergency the day before, of course no let down even though milk was as full as hell!

Luckily I was in contact with the lactation counselor at KPJ Damansara, she showed me how to cope, and everything else fell into place.

And it is surprising that there are new mothers out there who had that very same problem, but no lactation counselor was there to advise them, and they decided to put the baby on formula milk. It’s not their fault. They think they don’t have milk, and they surely don’t want the baby to starve.

When I shared my experience, only then they realised they were in the same situation. Only then they understood that they have so much milk, only need to stimulate let down. If only the nurses that were with them were able to educate then properly.

So, mothers, unless your doctor mentions about any medical issues, you definitely have enough milk right from the time you give birth. Have faith. Keep smiling. No stress. You’re already a milk-making mom! 🙂

I will share with you how I cope with my unbelievable numerous engorgement in my next posts!

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