Q: Could you share your experience with starting breastfeeding after giving birth?
A: Of course, after giving birth via C-section, I started breastfeeding right away. Thankfully, my milk supply kicked in quite early, although I had to supplement with formula in the hospital because it wasn't enough initially – but I was perfectly fine with that. Once I got home, we continued with formula supplementation but soon enough, my milk supply increased significantly, leading to an oversupply. The first week was a rollercoaster as I dealt with engorgement and sought help from a lactation consultant who provided tips to make breastfeeding more efficient and clear my breasts. At that point, every nursing session was tough as I battled with painful nursing sessions while addressing clogged ducts. I badly wanted to give up, but I persisted and kept pushing through.
By week 5, my milk supply finally regulated and breastfeeding became more enjoyable. I established a routine of feeding on demand and introduced pumping twice a day for flexibility. Looking back, the initial weeks were tough, especially with the pain and engorgement, but it's gotten better as Eli and I learned together.
Q: As you anticipated the arrival of your baby, were there any steps you took to prepare yourself for breastfeeding?
A: Well, when it comes to breastfeeding preparation, I didn't engage in extensive planning. I attended some prenatal classes that covered techniques like proper latching, but honestly, the real experience was quite different when practising without a baby. I do regret not preparing by harvesting colostrum during pregnancy, however, my approach was relatively chill. I didn't want to overwhelm myself with excessive preparation. While I recognize that some mothers meticulously plan and focus on breastfeeding, I aimed to strike a balance without overloading myself. I didn't want to set high expectations and then feel discouraged if things didn't go exactly as planned. Breastfeeding can be quite challenging, and I preferred to take it step-by-step.
Cleris is a 34B and she wears the Endearing Maternity Camisole in Medium
Q: Did you have a support group that you could count on, that contributed to the demands of your journey as a new mom?
I do have a supportive community of friends, most of whom are mothers with young children around three to four years old. They offered a lot of assistance and shared helpful tips with me. My husband has been wonderfully supportive, often taking on the role of burping the baby, which provided a great help to me especially during night-time feedings. Additionally, my mother has been there every step of the way, ensuring I'm comfortable during breastfeeding sessions by arranging pillows and offering advice on how to take care of my postpartum body. I'm truly grateful for the unwavering support from my family and my husband.
Q: The deep emotional bond that often forms during breastfeeding is truly remarkable. Could you recall some moments when you felt a strong emotional connection with your baby?
A: Of course, one memory that stands out is the very first time Eli latched onto me. My birthing experience was quite intense – I had a C-section and some complications with the epidural that left me in a lot of discomfort for several hours after giving birth. In fact, when they brought him to me in the ward, I was in so much pain that I couldn't even bring myself to hold him. It was a mix of physical pain and overwhelming emotions, I felt so guilty after.
However, as I began to recover and regain my strength, the nurses brought Eli back in. That's when it happened – the moment he latched onto me, there was this incredible connection that I can only describe as magical. Despite the challenging weeks that followed with engorgement and difficulties, that initial bond stayed with me. Even now, every time I breastfeed, it fills me with joy. I didn't feel pressure from anyone, even though I had set a personal goal of six weeks. Once everything settled down, I felt a real sense of happiness each time I held him to feed. Now it takes me just 10-15 minutes to feed, compared to the one hour I used to take. It's amazing to see how far we've come since those challenging early days. <laughs>
Q: How has your daily routine evolved with breastfeeding? Do you have any special rituals or habits that you associate with breastfeeding?
A: My daily routine has mainly centred around feeding on demand. My work as a property agent and freelance creative allows me the flexibility in my schedule. While I don't follow a rigid schedule, there's a specific routine when it comes to night-time. Before baby Eli's long stretch of sleep, he must nurse. This routine has proven effective as he's now sleeping for around six to seven hours, a decent stretch for a three-month-old. Even if he's fed before being cleaned up for the night, he still needs that final nursing session before sleep.
Q: Navigating the demands of being a property agent, engaging in creative work, and taking care of your baby must be quite a journey. How do you balance all these responsibilities?
A: Oh it’s a balancing act for sure, with a lot of sacrifice and a lot of changes. Before my baby came along, I used to work on my phone and dive into creative stuff whenever the mood struck me. But now, it's like a whole new world. Creative work isn't something you can slot into a neat two-hour window. It's more about feeling that spark of inspiration, which doesn't always align with baby schedules. So, when my little one is up and about, work takes a back seat completely. And honestly, that's the trickiest part for me because I'm really hands-on with my baby.
My husband's job keeps him quite busy, so I try not to overwhelm him with my responsibilities. Thankfully, I have amazing support from my family, especially my mom. She's more than willing to help out when I need to be out or focus on work. There are days I leave Eli with her without any worries. Currently, I'm staying at my parents' place for a couple of weeks due to my husband's demanding schedule, and their support is a lifeline.
Cleris is a 34B and wears the Endearing Maternity Bralette in Dusk Blue in Medium
Q: With all these responsibilities, how do you make sure you're taking care of yourself while devoting so much time to breastfeeding and looking after your baby?
A: It's crucial for me to prioritise self-care amidst everything. I make an effort to take care of my physical well-being by ensuring I'm getting the right supplements and even working out when I can. It's not easy, but it's a part of taking care of myself. I also set aside time to just be with myself, whether it's reading, relaxing, or doing something I enjoy. It's about striking a balance and realising that I can't pour from an empty cup. It's like that old saying – you can't truly give love if you're not taking care of yourself first. I prioritise myself as much as I love my husband, my kid and everything. I've been fortunate to have a strong support system that understands this.
Q: Thank you for sharing your journey, Cleris. As you continue your breastfeeding journey, do you have any hopes or goals for the future?
A: Honestly, I've chosen not to put too much pressure on myself with specific goals for my breastfeeding journey. While I'd love to continue breastfeeding for as long as possible, I also understand that life can be unpredictable. I want to approach it with an open mind and be flexible. Additionally, I'm working on finding better ways to manage my feeding schedules as Eli grows. It's all about adapting and learning as we go along.
About Tommee Tippee:
Tommee Tippee's breastfeeding range is created alongside ideas, insights and feedback from real breastfeeding mums. We know that breastfeeding requires a unique kind of love and commitment, and that's what inspires our Made for Me™ range; all designed to keep you feeling comfortable and confident enough to rise to the awesome challenge of being a mum.
About the Pump:
Introducing the wearable breast pump that puts you in control. Anything they can do… you can do pumping. Versatile, discreet, wearable pumping designed to complement your lifestyle, no matter where you are on your feeding journey.
Experience Tommee Tippee's wearable breast pump at our studio at 134A Telok Ayer Street, or purchase Tommee Tippee's breastfeeding range at Mothercare boutiques islandwide.