I am currently 24 weeks pregnant and still breastfeeding my 25-month-old toddler, Milo. Truth be told, I don’t think have milk anymore, and I believe he is only nursing for comfort. I tried to wean him when I found out I was pregnant (about 6 weeks in). Our method was to distract him with activities and toys during the day, and at night, we had him sleep with his yaya, Ate Letty – since I usually nurse him to sleep at night and he would also do night feedings. But after about ten days, I just missed him so much, and I also felt guilty for not allowing him to sleep with us (Kobe refused to sleep in the other room), and also maybe the pregnancy hormones made me extra emotional – after all, this is Milo’s last few months being the baby in the family. So he started breastfeeding again, with a vengeance! Now I do not see him weaning by himself anytime soon (surely not before the baby comes) and I cannot find it in my mommy heart to wean him…
This is my 3rd pregnancy and the 1st time I am breastfeeding while pregnant. I breastfed my 1st-born Kobe for 2 years and 3 months – I successfully weaned him 1 month before I got pregnant with Milo. My method was to put band aids on my nipples and I told him they were “ouchie” and he cannot “dede” anymore ‘coz he’s already a big boy. Surprisingly, this method worked with him and he really stopped breastfeeding. The only difficulty we had was getting him to sleep at night – since he got used to nursing to sleep, my husband had to step up and carry him / rock him to sleep for maybe about a couple of months.
I have enjoyed my breastfeeding journey. I had struggles at the beginning – the usual cracked nipples and engorgement pains, but pretty soon Kobe and I got the hang of it. Before I gave birth, I attended seminars on breastfeeding and even met with a lactation consultant. (Read my blog post on breastfeeding 5 years ago.)
I only stopped breastfeeding 1 month before I got pregnant with Milo until I gave birth to him, so all in all, I have been breastfeeding for more than 4 years now. I am not a breastfeeding expert, but I believe I know a lot about breastfeeding based on my personal experience and also from what I learned from my “breastfriends.” So I just want to share some tips on breastfeeding!
- Law of demand and supply – this law also applies to breastmilk supply. The more your body feels that there is demand for milk, the more it makes! So the best way to “normalize” your supply is to latch, latch, latch! It is not advised to pump earlier than 1 month after giving birth because your body might think it needs to produce more. I have had friends who got mastitis from engorgement and over-supply because they pumped to early, or they pump in between feedings to much. I have also had friends whose supply slowly dwindled because they supplemented with formula too early – this is telling your body that it does not need to produce that much milk.
- Breastfeeding hurts (but only at the beginning!) – most lactation consultants and breastfeeding advocates will tell new moms that breastfeeding should not hurt, or if it hurts, you must be doing something wrong. Based on my personal experience, breastfeeding DOES HURT! But only at the start. Our nipples when we were not mommies yet are very sensitive, and the skin can easily break. So I believe that at the start of breastfeeding, it is normal to hurt a little or even for the nipples to crack or chafe or be sore! Imagine for example that you are learning to play the guitar – you use your fingers to press down (and strum) the strings – and usually the skin on your fingertips are soft when you start. It is normal for it to crack and bleed before you develop your calluses that will make it easier for you to play the guitar! Same with your nipples 🙂 Give it a few months (and my a couple of bars of nipple balm) and breastfeeding will not hurt AT ALL anymore!
- Pump only when you are not with the baby – for your sanity, please don’t pump if it’s not necessary. It is time consuming! My rule is – latch when the baby is with me, pump when I am away at the exact same time that baby drinks my expressed milk at home. This way, you are “tricking” your body that the breastfeeding is still following its regular schedule. I only break this rule when my supply is alarmingly dwindling down, and this is when I pump maybe 2-3 times extra in a day. My stash usually is around 3-4 days worth of milk only, just in case I have an out-of-town trip for work (pre-pandemic days). But now that we are just staying at home, I don’t think I will even need to pump! 🙂
- Breastfeeding tools and supplements can help – find the right tools for you. If you are a stay-at-home mom, maybe you won’t even need to buy a pump – or a manual pump will do! This will save you a lot. But if you are a working mom, an electric breastpump is a huge help. I have used several brands – Spectra, Medela, and Unna. The Medela Freestyle double pump was the longest one I used, and it is my personal favorite. I have a new one now – the Pigeon GoMini and it also looks very promising. I have also used manual pumps from Unna and the Haakaa milk catcher. I prefer the Unna manual though. Other breastfeeding tools that I have used: breast pads (disposable ones from Pigeon and reusable ones from Seve’s Mom are my favorites), nipple care balm (I’m not really brand particular, any will do), malunggay capsules (Lactaflow, Mega Malunggay, Natalac), malunggay supplements like M2 Moringa Drink and Mother Nurture drinks, and of course lactation treats (Milking Bombs by ABC, Mommy Treats, Ava’s Kitchen). My advice though: take it easy on the sweets! It might be nice excuse to wolf down these cookies to up your supply, but honestly I prefer to take the capsules or drink unsweetened tea, but that’s my personal preference because I am also watching my sugar intake (I’m on my 2nd gestational diabetic pregnancy!)
- Always ask for help, you are not alone! – ask help and advice from lactation consultants and your breastfeeding friends. You can even ask me if you have any questions on breastfeeding! Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on my Instagram or Facebook!
- Do not judge other mommies for their decisions – please do not push your beliefs on other moms, we don’t know what each other is going through! 🙂 Always be KIND.
So… what do you think? Should I wean Milo now or should I wait for him to wean by himself? Hello tandem-feeding? 🙂