6 Major Breastfeeding Struggles Of Singaporean Mummies
If you ever feel bad about the struggles you face in your breastfeeding journey, just know that you are not alone. Read on to find out what other mums go through and how they get around the problems.
Breastfeeding creates a beautifully unparalleled bond between a mother and a child and we all know the multitude of benefits that breastmilk contains. However, as much as most women would like to breastfeed their children, more often than not, the breastfeeding journey is one that is fraught with challenges. Here is a list of breastfeeding struggles of Singaporean mummies and how they overcame these struggles.
A mummy shares that when she had her first child, her milk took some time to come in. Concerned that the baby might get dehydrated, her family members introduced the bottle to him. It got complicated when the teat had holes that were bigger than they should be for a newborn, and he got used to having his milk flow quickly.
When she finally had her milk coming in, her baby had gotten accustomed to the quick milk flow and had no patience to wait for her let down. Breastfeeding sessions soon turned into an uphill battle between a distressed mother and a child screaming his lungs out.
Within the first two weeks of her newborn’s life, this mother gave up direct latching and switched to exclusive pumping. Exclusive pumping is one of the most common breastfeeding struggles of Singaporean mummies for they do not feel as motivated.
It felt like a chore. My friends often spoke fondly of the bond that they shared with their baby, how breastfeeding was the best private moment that they shared and so on. I had none of that and I just felt like quitting and taking the easy way out – formula milk.
In addition, she also had supply issues. This mummy did everything from speaking to a lactation consultant, to eating all the breastfeeding powerfoods, to cluster pumping but nothing seemed to give her the abundance of milk that her friends often spoke of.
I was so close to quitting but my close friend encouraged me to hang in there. She reminded me why we choose to breastfeed and how we can never turn back time if we regret in the future. I set myself a goal, to continue pumping for 6 months and then I would give up for good.
Hard work and perseverance paid off and this mummy’s supply eventually regulated. It was never abundant but it was sufficient. And with the support and her determination, her initial target of 6 months extended all the way to close to 18 months!
Kudos to this mummy!
Everyone has an opinion
The opinions that people sometimes force onto new mums have contributed to the struggles of Singaporean breastfeeding mummies. In fact, 3 out of 5 of the mummies that we spoke to complained of either their mums, confinement nannies, or mum-in-laws constantly chiding them for wanting to exclusively breastfeed.
These are some of the things the older generation had to say about this matter.
Breastmilk is not filling. They need to top up with formula otherwise the baby keeps crying and it’s not good for the baby.
If they only want to breastfeed, then the child will keep waking up at night. You need formula for a full tummy and then the baby sleeps well (this is a myth by the way). If they don’t set this routine, how to go back to work? How to work if you are up all night breastfeeding?
If the mother keeps breastfeeding, the baby will get too attached to them. Then we, the caregivers will suffer when they (the mums) return to work.
Some mums shared how they eventually caved as their argument had become untenable to those around them.
As first time mums, we are still trying to learn the ropes. We don’t know what works best and we need to experiment and learn as we go along. But when the so called more experienced mothers around us keep putting such undue pressure on us, it’s only a matter of time before we just give in to them.
Sometimes it’s to shut them up and sometimes it’s because we have no choice. They are going to look after the baby eventually and we can’t make it difficult for them.
I just chose to ignore. One ear in and one ear out. At some point I told them that I’m the mother and I know what’s best for my child.
One of the struggles of Singaporean breastfeeding mummiesis the fear of judgment. In a rather shocking revelation, this mum mentioned:
I was trying to nurse my baby on the go when my parents told me, breastfeeding is a private affair and should be done at home. We are not an ang moh society and so we aren’t as open minded as them. Not everyone wants to see a nursing mother in public.
You’d be surprised to know that mums get judged for doing something as natural as nursing. Some people pass unkind remarks that cause these mums to completely lose composure. Another mum shared,
I was nursing my baby, with a nursing cover, in a popular restaurant in Vivo City. The waitress walked up to me, and without saying a word, proceeded to pull the cover further over my baby. I was appalled! I mean, I wasn’t even revealing anything, and just left some space for my baby to have some air. What gives her the right to decide that I should cover more?
Completely bewildering considering that we live in a modern, globalised, 1st world country!
Lack of support
One of the saddest struggles of Singaporean breastfeeding mummiesis that of having to fight against the very person who should be handholding them through the nursing journey.
Sad but true. Many women have completely given up breastfeeding due to the lack of support from their husbands. And sometimes, it’s for completely superficial and selfish reasons.
My husband did not allow me to breastfeed, as he was afraid that it would cause my breasts to sag.
My husband said breastfeeding is disgusting.
My husband made it difficult for me to breastfeed by constantly chiding me when we were on the go, and complaining about just how much of a hassle it was.
My husband said that breastfeeding was destroying our social life as I was exclusively pumping and needed to pump every now and then. We couldn’t have late nights, dinner parties and alcohol and he didn’t like the changes.
My husband said that breastfeeding was ruining our sex life and he no longer felt turned on.
These are just a few of the many awful things that some Singaporean husbands have said to their wives, with regard to breastfeeding!
But mums have an iron will and they push on. Here’s what a mum had to say:
My husband made breastfeeding such an awful time for me and I’ll never forgive him for doing that. But I persisted and told him that he had no right to stop me from breastfeeding. There came a point when I just ignored everything and blocked him out.
Working mum woes
Also among the most common struggles of Singaporean breastfeeding mummiesis that of having to juggle work and pumping milk for their little ones.
A mum shares,
Continuing breastfeeding upon returning to work was really hard, particularly because of the lack of time and improper nursing facilities. This, along with the daily morning routine of sending the kids to school left me really drained.
There were also colleagues who were unsympathetic and unwilling to understand when I needed time to pump milk.
My solution was to plan my schedule way ahead of time. I discussed with my superiors arrangements that allowed me enough time to pump to maintain my milk supply. I needed a lot of discipline and even had to sacrifice my meal times to pump. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do.
Apart from the social problems, there is another set of struggles of Singaporean breastfeeding mums. These include medical problems such as mastitis (painful inflammation of the breast tissue), nipple thrush or oral thrush in the baby. These conditions make breastfeeding an extremely painful and torturous process for the mother.
I had to stop breastfeeding my second child due to an infection that I had developed some time after my c-section. If that wasn’t bad enough, I also had to deal with mastitis. I’m thankful that I had sufficient milk stashed in the freezer and that helped my baby get through the temporary break in breastfeeding.
Another struggle that mums face is that of tongue-tie.
My baby had such difficulty latching on due to his tongue tie. I had to resolve the problem through surgery and that was something that was really difficult for me to deal with as a new mum.
There you go mums – a list of the common struggles of Singaporean breastfeeding mummies. We hope after reading this, you know that you are not alone in your breastfeeding journey and we also hope that you find some potential solutions to the problems.
If things get too much for you, do consider joining a breastfeeding support group. It really helps.
So hang in there mummies. Do what you can and remember that you are nothing short of amazing!