Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Breastfeeding "Secrets"

A few people had been requesting for my secret on how to get a plentiful milk supply after reading this tweet of mine.

Honestly, it's not really a secret. You probably know it already. All the stuff that you've heard/read on how to increase milk production - nurse/pump regularly, take herbal supplement, don't stress, etc - those are the secret!

But ok, I'm gonna share what I do everyday.
Let's start with my daily pumping and eating schedule, shall we?

8.00 am: Breakfast (Herbalife shake)
8.30 am: Pump milk for 15 minutes
11.00 am: Drink maternal milk (currently drinking FrisoMum)
1.00 pm: Lunch
4.00 pm: Herbalife shake (if I'm not taking a nap)
8.30 pm: Dinner
10.00 pm: 2 slices of wholemeal bread
1.00 am: Drink maternal milk or Horlicks + oats
2.00 am: Pump milk for 15 minutes
3.00 am: Go to bed

Of course I don't go to sleep at 3am and wake up at 8am everyday. Some days I sleep really really late (after Subuh) and woke up at 10am. Some days I go to bed as early as 11pm and woke up at 5am so my pumping sessions depends on what time I sleep/wake up. And of course I don't always eat so healthily. I indulge myself with some yummy treats once a week - ice-creams, cupcakes, pancakes, whatever-cakes, etc. But that's roughly how my daily eating and pumping schedule looks like.

*My Herbalife shake = 2 scoops Formula 1 + 3 scoops Formula 3 + 2 scoops oats
*My lunch and dinner is usually chicken breasts/salmon/halibut/steak/beef patties with steamed/roasted veggies.

I only pump my milk twice a day which is in the morning and at night before going to bed. Raina usually wakes up at 10am (kalau tak dikejut or kakak dia tak kacau, pukul 12 noon baru dia bangun!) and I breastfeed her on demand which is every 1 or 2 hours from the moment she wakes up until she goes to bed at around 12am. Yes it can be tiring but at least she sleeps well through the night! I do wake her up around 7 or 8 am for feeding and then she goes back to sleep.

To date, I have only been breastfeeding Raina exclusively for 4 months and it's still pretty early, but if you ask me how do I manage to get an abundant supply of milk during these 4 months, then I can only think of these 2:

1) Double pumping

Double pumping has shown to increase Prolactin levels which is the hormone that stimulates milk production, plus it saves your time too. I know there are moms who can breastfeed their child for 2 years using only a manual pump or even no pump at all! (my MIL didn't use any breast pump yet she managed to fully breastfeed my husband until he was 2 years old). But for me, I need a good pump; a double pump even tho I am a stay-at-home mom because of my previous experience with a single pump. Increasing milk supply is easier when you have a good breast pump especially if your baby jenis tak kuat minum as you need to empty out the breasts in order to make more milk.

You see, I was one of those moms who had issues when I was breastfeeding Ayra. Just like many first-time moms, my first breastfeeding experience was a bit of a struggle. Ayra wasn't exclusively breastfed for the first one month. I had to mix with formula milk because my milk supply wasn't enough - or so I thought. Lepas sebulan baru exclusively breastfed Ayra until she was about 8 months old. At that time I used Avent ISIS iQ Uno breast pump which is a single pump. I was struggling with my milk supply and the most I can get was 4 oz and that was after pumping for an hour! Sometimes it could take up to 2 hours! Most of the time, I only get 1 oz in 15 minutes. It was hard work and very very frustrating! After using the Avent breast pump for 6 months or so, the motor went kaput so I stopped pumping. My milk production began to drop especially because Ayra bukan jenis kuat minum.

Anyway, back to double pumping.

At first I was thinking of getting one of Medela's pump but some of you readers recommended Ameda breast pump. I looked up on the internet and found really great reviews - some even said it's comparable to Medela Freestyle but at wayyy cheaper price so I bought the Ameda Lactaline Dual Breastpump and I just have to rave about it! I love this pump because it has helped with my milk production. Thank you for recommending it to me! *hugs*

My husband bought this pump for me from FabulousMom (it's also available at Mothercare). It was about the same price as my previous Avent pump but works SO much better and SO efficient. What I love the most about this pump is that it has custom control for suction and speed (cycle) so you can set the dials on highest speed to encourage let-down and adjust the suction that is most comfortable for you (I always use the highest suction by the way).

Most narrow-neck bottles can fit just fine with the pump,
including Medela, Snappies and Mom's Precious bottles

I know there are other good breast pumps but to me, Ameda Lactaline Dual is good enough. I think it's a powerful breast pump. For each pumping session, I could get on average 6-10 oz in 15 minutes; sometimes I could get up to 12 oz! Seriously I never thought I could get that much milk. I am beyond happy!

Of course I didn't get that much milk the first time I pumped. In fact, my milk only came in a few days after Raina was born so before that I had to mix with formula milk as advised by the hospital's lactation consultant. But I kept on breastfeeding my baby every day to stimulate the breasts and Alhamdulillah, my milk came in on the third day and as soon as I found out that I have milk, I threw away the formula milk! (that was one of the lessons I learned from my previous experience. Tak payah simpan formula milk for just-in-case tak cukup susu because you will tend to give your baby the formula milk instead. Harus confident susu sendiri cukup, insyaAllah cukup). I only started pumping my milk on the 4th day and at that time I only managed to get 2.5 oz in 15 minutes. It wasn't that much but eventually my milk increases little by little.

First time pumping: 2.5 oz

Since then I have been breastfeeding Raina exclusively and Alhamdulillah, I can pretty much say my milk supply is more than enough that I had to discard hundreds of packets of my expressed breast milk sebab dah expired, tak sempat guna *sobs*.

This is how my freezer looked like previously before tumpang my MIL's freezer.
Tak cukup tempat!

2) Herbal supplement

I only started taking herbal supplement about 3 weeks ago when I noticed a decrease in my milk production (I skipped pumping 2 nights in a row and then again selang beberapa hari sebab mengantuk sangat and also missed a few feedings on one of the weekends sebab keluar sepanjang hari without Raina. Oops!). That also happened when I ran out of Herbalife Formula 3 last month (that stuff somehow helps to boost milk supply, if taken 3 scoops). Instead of at least 6oz per pumping session, I only got 3oz so I decided to try Motherlove More Milk Plus Vegetarian capsules which I purchased from

It's herbal liquid concentration in vegetarian capsules which contains fenugreek seed and blessed thistle among other herbal ingredients that helps to increase milk supply. I took the recommended intake which is 1 capsule 4 times a day and followed the instructions to wait 15 minutes before and after food or drink. This thing works for me! My milk supply was back on track after just one day. I began to feel the tingling sensation on my breasts after the third capsule, which I believe is the sign of more milk coming in. You may want to give this a try if you're experiencing a low milk supply.

Reading breastfeeding books helped a lot too to fully understand how breastfeeding works. When I was pregnant for the second time, I was very determined to breastfeed my baby exclusively so I bought this book because I don't want to repeat the same mistakes again. I admit, my lack of knowledge in breastfeeding is one of the reasons why I didn't get to breastfeed Ayra until she's 2 years old. But I'm still grateful that I get to fully breastfeed her until she was 8 months old and stopped completely when she was 15 months old.

If you're pregnant or currently nursing your child and you think you might need a book on breastfeeding, then I would recommend this one. It's a great book, very informative and practical. It breaks down the breastfeeding experience into specific time periods: the first week, the first 2 months, months 2 to 6, etc and it also provides guidance and solutions on various common and uncommon breastfeeding problems. It's very helpful!

So there you go. Those are my "secrets".

I know breastfeeding can be a sensitive issue to some moms, but I hope I don't make you feel bad about not being able to nurse your baby for whatever reasons. We moms do the best that we can for our babies based on what we know, and I will never look down at moms whose babies are formula-fed. Hey, I was a formula-fed baby too! It's okay to formula-feed your baby, but it would be best if you can breastfeed your baby at least for the first 6 months. Allah has created women to be capable of being pregnant and giving birth, and he has also provided every woman with the potential to breastfeed her baby in abundance so let's make use of this God-given gift as best as we can.

My breastfed baby at 4 months old


She slipped off her pink stilettos at 6:00 AM |