Me and my babygirl, Hassha
Before I share my tips, let me explain the definition of Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) as recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH Malaysia/KKM) for now. WHO and KKM recommend mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months;
Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given – not even water – with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines.
(taken from WHO website)
Recommendation during our time being moms might be different with recommendations during our moms' time being moms decades ago (as current recommendation will be based on current researches), so get ready with tonnes of books and articles to back up your decision to EBF your child, so that your parents and families will understand. And now let's read the tips below on how to exclusively/fully breastfeed your baby successfully:
1. Your intention and determination to breastfeed (bf) your child
I put this as the highest in rank, so that everyone knows, this is where, when and how our breastfeeding plan will go on or pause or stop. In my case, I intend to bf my baby ever since before she was born, and ever since before I got married. So when I got pregnant, I always set in my mind, to fully bf my baby as much as I can, as long as I can (up until my baby reaches 2 years old, in my case) and whatever happens, I have to keep going with my plan, so nothing can ever stop me to bf my child. This indirectly encourages our body to produce enough milk for our babies, as it sends signal to the brain, body and hormone to make sure everything related to milk production is going on very smoothly.
2. Supports from family, friends and colleague
I am lucky to have families who understand my intention to fully bf my baby, so for this, I am very thankful to Allah. And also, all of my friends are educated people who are aware of breastfeeding benefits, so whenever I have problems/difficulties regarding breastfeeding, I just ask my friends who already have experience on it. Where you work, also influences your ability to fully bf your baby or not, because your colleagues should understand you need few minutes a day, to get off your work-desk in order to pump your milk. If any of them does not understand the importance of breastfeeding, you should explain clearly and slowly to them about it. Inshaa Allah, they will understand.
3. Breastpump and breastfeeding accessories
Below is the list of things to buy for an excellent kickstart of EBF journey, some of them you can buy after you deliver, but I advise you to prepare as many items as possible before you go for labor, as you may find it hard to shop while you are in confinement mode (or just do online shopping for this);
- Breastpump : get a good and efficient one, do not need to be expensive, an economic and simple one is more than enough
- Storage bottles, storage plastic bags : to enable you to keep your milk as much as you can while it is still abundant!
- Nipple cream : to help you with cracked nipples problem, almost every new moms experience this for the first weeks. I suggest Medela Purelan 100 cream as it can soothe your nipples within 24hrs after using it
- Breastpads : to avoid milk leaking. Get washable ones, if possible
- Cooler bag, icepacks/iceblocks/icebrick : to help you transport your milk safely ~8hrs without fridge
- Sterilizer, warmer : to sterilize feeding accessories, and to warm up your milk efficiently
- Nursing bras, blouses/tops : to make it easier for you to bf your baby
These things help you to go through your BF journey easier. You can buy them one by one, they do not have to be bought simultaneously before labor.
4. Equip Yourself with Breastfeeding Knowledge
You really need this to keep you going with your BF journey. Some people learn from Phone Applications (iPhone/Androids), some find it fun to learn from internet (eg: Google search) while others love reading books for this. Choose whichever way that suits you best, as long as it keeps you updated with breastfeeding knowledge. Below are things you have to know to ensure a smooth BF journey;
- How to make sure my baby latch at boobies properly the first few days after labor
- When is the best time to feed my baby for the first time
- What are my milk boosters
- What to do when my milk production drop
- How to know if my baby get enough milk or not
- How to store my milk at its best and how to warm it up
- and so on..
Furthermore, we have breastfeeding peer counselors or educators around us, just ask them for help, they are always available to teach you. In Malaysia you can contact Breastfeeding Support Initiative for breastfeeding consultation (click the link for more information).
5. Prayer and Du'a
Everyday, pray to Allah, for your milk to be enough for your baby. There are days our milk production is so high that it is more than enough for our babies (be smart, pump and save them as stock); and there are days our milk production is so low, that we need to nurse our babies more often to stimulate our bodies to produce more milk. Inshaa Allah, with patience, our milk will always be enough for our babies. Remember the key; supply vs demand. No supply, no demand.
So they are my tips, for some people it may be harder to bf their children while for others it may be easier. Just do our best, and the best will come back to us, inshaa Allah. ☺