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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why I Breastfed For 12 Months

When I was expecting Aiden, I decided in a heartbeat that I would be breastfeeding. I wanted to give him the best food, and what can be more natural and better for him than breast milk.

After our dramatic experience and finally ending up with an emergency caesarean delivery, I returned to my ward, still overwhelmed by the whole episode. As I was recovering from the post effects of epidural (I was shivering and felt numbness around my head too), the nurse brought Aiden to me for breastfeeding. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, I have read up a lot on breastfeeding and watched what I could to familiarize myself with the process. But when the moment came, I felt completely clueless. Luckily I had the help of the knowledgeable nurses and one of the nurses helped me to latch him on. The moment he latched onto me, the connection made me feel like I am now mum to this little boy. It was so surreal. Watching him suckle like he's a pro warms my heart and I am overwhelmed I am able to provide comfort and food for him. After a few more practices, I felt like I got the hang of it but my nipples were sore. I persevered and we managed to establish a better latch and comfortable feeding routine. 

Here's why I breastfed Aiden for 12 months:

Bonding with baby
Just holding him close to me in the early weeks helps us develop a closer bond and it calms him down as he feels more secure in my arms. I had separation anxiety when I decided to wean him off breastfeeding and really missed the bonding, while Aiden took the the bottle so easily - not looking back. 
Bonding with my baby - the first few days.
Stress buster
The skin on skin contact when breastfeeding helps me relax which is great for the initial months when I feel more stressed trying to cope with a newborn and attempting to decipher his cries.

Breastmilk is gold
I believe that breastmilk is the best food for baby. It is the most natural and provides the nutrition baby needs. I used to think that we can't breastfeed when we fall sick, but I realized that it is good to continue breastfeeding as the antibodies will be passed from mother to baby. Breast milk is also good for baby as it is easier to digest and breastfed babies fall sick less often. I am especially encouraged to see Aiden getting chubbier by the day as he was a premature baby at 35 weeks.
My little chunky thighs at nine months.
Help all around
Throughout the time I breastfed, I also expressed milk so that other members of the family can help to feed the baby when I needed some shut eye and when the baby refuses to latch on, we can have the option of feeding him expressed breastmilk instead of formula.
Daddy Darren feeding Aiden expressed breast milk.
Breastpump - the best investment
A good breastpump that fits seamlessly with your lifestyle is the best investment you'd make. It saves time, helps you multi-task and is efficient in expressing milk for your baby's consumption. With a comfortable routine established for expressing milk, it will support a longer period of breastfeeding.

The mean machine - portable Medela Freestyle seamless for my lifestyle.
Fuss free
No bottles & teats to wash and sterilize umpteen times a day. It is so much easier to bring baby for a day out or traveling when you breastfeed as you need not bring along formula, water, bottles and teats wherever you go. With a nursing cover and some privacy, you can feed baby on the go!

Set small goals
Celebrate when you can. Encourage yourself by setting shorter time frame goals like at every 1 month mark. I told myself I would aim to breastfeed for six months and anything more is a bonus, and I celebrate every month of exclusive breastfeeding.

Support group
It helps to have a breastfeeding support group amongst your friends or colleagues so you can exchange notes or have a buddy throughout your breastfeeding journey. Family support especially from your husband and parents helps as well.

Conducive environment
What really helped me during these 12 months, is the convenience of expressing milk at the workplace. Without this, it would be difficult to continue breastfeeding when I returned to work. I was lucky to have a considerate company who had a nursing room for mums to express milk. There was also a mini fridge for us to store our milk. Couldn't have done it without this.

To all new mums out there, remember that it is key to take care of yourself first, and do not give yourself added stress and pressure due to breastfeeding. I encourage supplementing with formula if the breastfeeding routine is making you feel depressed and down. For those of you who managed to establish a good latch and breastfeeding schedule with your baby, cherish this bonding period as babies grow up too quickly.
Aiden switching to formula after 12 months
Cherie will be sharing her breastfeeding journey tomorrow at Cherieladie, so hop over to hear about her experience. Cherie Lim is a mum of 2 lovely boys who blogs over at Cherieladie. When motherhood first descended on her, she was determined to breastfeed her son but as it turns out… she struggled with latching the baby. Read about how she eventually managed to breastfeed her boy exclusively for 13 months.

This post is part of a Blog Train hosted by Madeline at MadPsychMum. There are 24 mums with 24 breastfeeding stories to share so head on over to read all about their experiences.


  1. Awww that photo of Aiden at nine months is simply too cute!

  2. Thanks for dropping by Adeline. Yes I do miss him at that stage too!

  3. Yes, we really gotta appreciate our organisations for being so thoughtful with providing nursing rooms and fridge to store expressed milk. Many organisations do not (I've heard of that from a friend).

    And I agree, small goals is key! Indeed every month reached is a milestone deserving of a celebration! =)


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