Thursday, 21 February 2008


I remembered the Mrs once me told during the initial stage of her pregnancy that some women got very depressed when they realized that they are not able to breastfeed. Then when we went for our HypnoBirthing training, the trainer said that every women can produce breast milk. It is only a matter of preparing your body. In fact she claimed that she is still breastfeeding her boy who is 7 this year.

So I was hoping and praying that the Mrs will be able to produce milk and feed Baby so that she will not get any post natal blues over this issue.

My prayer was answered but as you all should know by now I believe God has a wicked sense of humour and once again he proved me right because the Mrs was able to produce milk but it is not quite enough as we found out.

She was only able to express about 40ml of breast milk combined (I believe you know what I meant by combined) each session. She got a little depressed and worried when she learned that some mothers stored 120 – 160ml effortlessly.

She called a couple of places such as the Breastfeeding support group, whom I must say are very kind to do this voluntarily and without monetary reward, as well as the lactation consultant (LC – NOT low class ah?!?!) at Mt E. There were incidents where I had to drive the Mrs down to Mt E so she can show the LC how she was feeding Isaac to determine if anything was wrong.

As it turned out Isaac was latched on fine so the reason everyone gave at that time was because it was still early stage. In fact the Mrs was discouraged to express so early. It was about 2nd week of her maternity leave then.

Alarm bells rang during the third week after we weigh Isaac again. It showed that since gaining 200g from the first 2 weeks, he has not gained any more weight. The Mrs got a little worried and called our PD and according to him Isaac should gain about 150 - 200g each week so he should be about 4kg by the time he is 1 month old. The solution according to him was to switch to formula milk.

We resisted for a further week during which the Mrs did more research and after she saw Isaac’s weight remained at about 3.3kg and her milk supply when expressed had not gone up, we gave in.

The funny thing here was we were certain that he was drinking the breast milk from the swallowing sound plus we also checked his pee and poop everyday and everything looked to be in order.

At this point the Mrs got a little depressed again. She questioned her own milk, both the quantity and quality. She wondered what else could be done to improve the amount and quality of her breast milk. She was already on Motilium & Fenugrek to help generate breast milk.

Don’t get us wrong because we are not against formula but we prefer to delay introducing it till later. Ideally we would like to breastfeed Baby for about 6 months. We told ourselves the worst case scenario will be for at least 2 months since the Mrs will be going back to work after that so may not be able to continue. But after 3 weeks?!?!

Since Isaac was not gaining weight we had to introduce formula milk to him and the good boy that he is, he did not give us any problem drinking from the milk bottle.

5 weeks and a tin and a half of Similac later, Isaac has shown steady weight gain. Today he weighs about 4.4kg which I think is still on the smaller side but I will not rush him. So long as there is improvement then I am happy.

I have to admit feeding him from the bottle was a little nerve wrecking for me at first. After all it was both his and my first time. I told him since it was a first for both him and me so let’s do this together. I’d like to think that he understood me hence he cooperated and finished his very first bottle feed with no fuss.

On the hind sight by giving him formula milk I can chip in and feed him at night too. It used to be only the Mrs but now we take turn. We normally both stay up and give him his last feed of the night and then we all go to bed. I will usually take the 1st shift (around 2 – 3am) and feed him from the bottle while the Mrs gives him breast milk on the 2nd shift (around 5 – 6am).

When the Mrs was on confinement (all of 7 weeks only) and while Baby was on formula she will expressed whatever breast milk she can muster and store them in the freezer. It was only recently that we learned Isaac does not like the milk that had been frozen before. For some reason he has no issue with those that were stored in the fridge and made warm but he really dislike those that had been frozen before. He simply refuses to swallow. This again has caused the Mrs to feel a little sad. If only he knew how much effort the Mrs puts in to try maintain a steady supply, express and then store the milk for his consumption.

After witnessing this first hand I really have to take my hat off to all you mothers who try your very best to provide your babies with breast milk. Take the Mrs for example. Initially she was worried if she can produce any milk at all, then she had to worry about the amount. Later on the quality and now after all the trouble she finds that her effort may be wasted after all since Isaac dislikes frozen ones.

I have not even gone into the engorgement that you have to go through and we all know that it can only be truly helped with your baby’s suckling. Another little miracle of life.

Hope the above picture will cheer you mothers up and encourage you to give your baby more milk!

Didn't make it clear when I post this yesterday but the picture is actually me and Isaac with a milk moustache!


Anonymous said...


Is that you and your son? Hee hee quite cute leh :)

I had the same problem as your MRS too. It was pathetic for me during the 1st week. It was 5 ml and then 10 ml and 20 ml. I seek help and went to try these following methods. It works! Now I can pump at least 100-130ml per session every 3 hours.

Try warm shower or warm compress before breastfeeding to encourage better flow. Take a lot of fluids like water, juice, soup etc at least 8 glasses a day. More fluids do not mean more milk but by taking sufficient amount, it keeps the mother hydrated as breastfeeding takes away a lot of the water from the body. And if the body is dehydrated, the body will be not able to produce enough milk. Try massaging the breasts before breastfeeding and during latch on, try to massage the area around the areola in circular motion toward the nipple to empty the breasts. You should try to empty the breasts during every feed. This is to encourage production. It is a supply and demand thing. When you empty it frequently, the body will sense that it needs to produce more to feed the baby. Try to do it every 3 hours. If you can, try to express after you breastfeed to make sure it is empty. If you are back at work, express it every 3-4 hours to maintain supply. After work and at night, let him latch to stimulate the breasts.

If the milk ducts are blocked, you can try to get those postnatal massage lady to do a body massage. Get those who know how to do the breasts.

Don't give up. Oh remember nutrition and rest play an important role. You cannot diet during breastfeeding. Eat well and rest well. Now my boy weights a healthy 6.7kg at 2.5mths old. :)

Nicole said...

Hi Dylan,
Isaac indeed, seems to be on the smaller side. Comparing with Cleo who is few days younger than him. It could also be due to cleo on full fomula milk now.

On this topic of yours, I've done a similar one not too long ago. It's my dilemma whether to continue breastfeeding. In the end, the outcome is, I've stopped. Cause my appetite recently has been really poor as I'm simply too tired and are dying to get rest instead of eating. So milk flow dropped. So, I just stopped.

I can understand the depression your mrs is going through. I've gone through that too. Somehow, mothers/women seems to feel that if they can't feed their babies with breastmilk, they're not motherly or haven't do their job well.

All I can say is that, I've done my best in letting Cleo drank breastmilk the 1st month of her life and she's still doing very well now on formula.

Btw, Isaac and Cleo is on the same formula milk! Similac Infant. Just FYI, when you switch to Similac Follow on when he's 6 months, do keep the receipt of your purchase. Cause an accumulation of receipts will entitled you to redeem for one tin of free formula milk! Now, talking about perks!

There's nursing tea and some supplements that your mrs can consume if she's really determined to continue breastfeeding.

Missy & Jav said...

hey dylan,

cute pic of Issac there, i see you photoshop the milk curb on his mouth. hahaha

finally the milk issue, first of all i think Mrs is doing a really great job there! breastfeeding is no simple task, unlike the olden days where our grans seems to be breastfeeding with breeze.

Reishi had provided you some great tips on how to increase milk supply.

to add on, i still remembered my supply was pathetic during the 1st mth too. i pump during the confinement and could only managed 10mls :( then later on, i realised my breasts weren't responding well to manual and so i switched to a electric pump and it yielded me more milk! so 1st thing 1st, is the pump Mrs using working well? i also drank hot milo before pumping and apply warm compress. next, is Mrs experiencing let-down? let-down is the initial gush of milk that comes squirting out. i'm someone who dun experience let-down easily and what i did and it usually works 90% of the time was i close my eyes and relax my mind and took deep breaths and the let-down kicks in, then after that you can just pump with the massaging method. with let-down, i can yielded 180ml otherwise, its only 60ml. lastly, i do tandem pumping meaning pumping and latching both breasts simutaneously. its like feeding twins, both breasts are producing milk at the same time. if Issac is feeding enough on 1 breast, the Mrs can pump the other breast while latching. although this process is more of a hassle and she needs to get the hang of latching Issac and holding the pump at the same time but i can assure you milk production is alot with tandem pump. this is bcoz the mind tells the body to produce more milk when the baby latches on and with the pump on, the body thinks its feeding twins, hence more milk needs to be produce.
i do hope the Mrs will find these tips helpful.

also tell the Mrs not to be discourage if she can't breastfeed totally and there's certainly nothing wrong in supplementing with formula.

oh ya, do i email the invitation to

Anonymous said...

these are topics beyond mrs chew's realm of understanding! i dunno.. drink more milk!!

mrs chew, mr with drawer and mr korean.. all under the same roof.. :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Dylan,

What you've written here look so familiar to me, I've gone thru the similar kind of 'stress' too. Nevertheless, since your Mrs hv gone tis far this time round, it'll be much easier when come to #2. Well, at least, that was the case for me... my #1 was supplemented with formula too (similac as well), & my #2 was fully breastfed for 1 full year (+ excess for his jiejie). If interested, can read my 'history' here :

Here's some pointers which i learnt, may or may not be helpful to u (or other mummies here) :

- try to latch the baby on for at least 6 to 8 weeks - this will help to stimulate milk flow. Breast pump mimics the sucking motion, but baby can do tis thousand folds better. (ie. baby can suck much more than what we can pump) Therefore, dun be disheartened if you can't pump much.

- if u need to pump, choose 1 that is most suitable for you. Avent manual worked best for me, but some of my frens swear by Medela electric... hence, it's very individual...

- Babies get sufficient nutrients fm the mummy's milk - unless the mummy is malnutrition (malnutrition defined as living stds in third world countries).

- a balanced diet & high calcium intake a must for lactating mums.

- bm is best served fresh. Frozen milk is still good, but risk the growth of micro-organisms. (A GP or a fren told me this, but my kids survived well with frozen milk.) *smart of Isaac to reject frozen milk...*

As for Isaac's weight, i think it's ok, as long as he's growing. Generally, boys dun grow as fast as girls. It's the case for my 2 kids too..... my girl's birth weight was 2.58kg but grew to 4.1kg at 1mo; my boy's birth weight was 2.8kg but couldn't catch up with his jiejie at 1mo...

(Breastfeeding is a topic that is ever so close to my heart. Pls pardon my long winded comments here...)

To your Mrs: Enjoy the breastfeeding moments! I greatly miss those bonding moments aft the kids weaned off.

Anonymous said...

hi dylan and all, this is an interesting post - such useful exchange of info.

i guess all mothers go through this struggle at least once - whether to go on breastfeeding when there doesn't seem to be sufficient breastmilk. i am still trying and in the midst of struggling. As it is, my girl has been taking both breastmilk and formula milk (S26 then Similac Infant too!) since birth. i try to maintain a 50-50 ratio, especially since it took me quite a while, and very abused nipples (oh man! you cannot imagine the pain!!!), to latch my girl on. *hahaha* she suckles well when latched on, thankfully...but yes, it is depressing when no matter how hard we pump and try, the output is only 40 ml, or at best 80 - 100 ml. really envy those who can effortlessly store up and even need to freeze their breastmilk. *hahaha*

i am taking GNC's Fenugreek. maybe your mrs can try increasing the dosage if she has not already done so? i read that some mothers take 2 x 160 mg Fenugreek seed each time, 3 times a day. and if your mrs can nurse at the breast direct instead of expressing the milk out, it will be even better, coz' nothing empties the breast or stimulates the body better than baby. (for me, i am motivated by laziness. no need to sterilise the breasts! *haha*)

reishi: your baby is 6.7 kg at 2.5 months old!!!!!! wah!! wah!! *impressed*

missy: the last time i tried tandem pumping, i think i aged a few years in advance. i was either dropping baby, or dropping the pump! *hahaha* and i made a mess of things! haven't tried it since then. *hah*

Anonymous said...

or sorry, i meant 610 mg of Fenugreek. not 160 mg.

A Husband's Voice said...

Wow! Ladies!

Breastfeeding is really a matter that is close to all your hearts because in all my 51 posts there has never been 1 that can generate such long comments from all of you.

There may be 1 or 2 long feedback but so far it has been 100% except for Mrs Chew but she is not a mum yet so we understand.

I would like to say thanks to all your views and pointers and suggestions which I'm sure the Mrs will try out.

As this is something that I cannot really comment on I will leave it to you ladies to share with each other.

I shall express the Mrs's views and concerns after she has read yours.

Lastly, the picture is actually of me and Isaac with a milk moustache. I forgot to make it known when I posted yesterday but I have since added a line at the bottom.

Guess now the only one you have not met will be the Mrs.

Lynne said...

Wow Issac is soooooooo..... cute.

I am also like your Mrs when I initially gave birth to my son in Dec 2007.

I think the more stressed or pressurised by the amount of our supply, the less output we get.

So far I have gotten blocked ducts twice and down with high fever due to the blocked ducts once. I am still trying hard and not giving up.

Your wife can also try drinking the 'green papaya fish soup' to increase her milk supply.

Trina said...

it's been really long since i followed your blog.. life can get so busy at work!

i suppose all the mummy readers will tell u loads of breastfeeding experiences. I would say patience and perserverance are the key to successful breasfeeding. but given that your Mrs is going back work soon, it may not be a bad thing to switch to FM now. For me, I had no problems expressing at home, but from day 1 after i returned to office, i could only squeeze out a tiny bit. It was a shock to me, but i was glad i started my son on partial FM abt 2 wks before i went back to work. I then went on to do partial bfeeding for 1 year or so.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Babelicious,

If my memory serves me right, this is the first time you're left a comment.

Thanks for following my blog and also for your compliment on Isaac.

I have been telling the Mrs to take things easy cause even if Isaac is on 100% formula it is still not the end of the world but I guess mother being mother.....

Keep reading and commenting ya?!

A Husband's Voice said...

Hey Trina,

Welcome back! Yes it has been a while since we hear from you. Nevermind, better late than never right? I don't think you missed much since I was extremely busy myself so did not post anything for 2 weeks.

In any case you can always read the older posts at your own leisure.

The Mrs is already back at work and she originally planned to have Isaac on the bottle about 2 weeks before she starts work but due to him not gaining weight, we had to start him early.

As mentioned in my post, thankfully Isaac was very good and gave us no problem with bottle feeding. We can even give him water from the bottle and he will drink it.

Well, hope you do stick around. If not we'll hear from you again whenever!

Take care!

noshidoshi said...

aww ur baby is SO cute!!

i only breastfeed my son for 1 month, and felt SO guilty when I gave him the first bottle of formula. but after about a week of FM, i tried to breastfeed again, but sadly not much milk left. i tried various methods of getting it back, even investing in medela's electric pump which claims to improve milk supply.. but didn't really work. got super disheartened when i pumped and pumped and only got 20ml.

oh well. i hope to do better with my future children.

and look on the bright side. my mom breastfed me and my sisters for about a month too, and we turned out ok, so hopefully everything will be ok for my kids too.

Lionel n Rachel said...

finally! u reveal ur true self..hehe...awww...issac is such a darling! hey...can we see mrs as well?

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Shida,

Thanks for your compliment on Baby!

I'm sure there is nothing wrong with only breastfeeding babies for only the 1st month.

Like Nana said, it may be better with our second child so don't feel guilty or lose hope.

Anyway do keep reading and commenting ya?!

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Yvonne,

Yes, I will surely post the pictures of the Mrs as well. The picture that you see here was taken at Isaac's godma's house during Chinese New Year and along with it there are others that have all 3 of us in them.

I will post them in due time so you'll have to keep reading ya?!