15 months ago, I gave birth to my rambunctious, funny, sweet and adorably naughty baby girl. It was the happiest time of our lives but it was also the most difficult. We were first time parents who were clueless in caring for a newborn, I was battling with high blood pressure from my eclampsia, fighting off post partum depression, and my husband was desperately trying to earn money as a freelance writer. To make matters worse, our plan to breastfeed exclusively was not panning out. We were both stretched to the limit at all fronts – emotionally, mentally, and financially. (Read about our birth story here.)
When I found out that my precious baby was dehydrated and lost almost 18% of her birth weight, it was with a heavy heart that I mixed fed her. I felt as a failure as a mother that I starved my baby for more than a week. But, I knew that all hope was not lost and I could still work on getting Sophia back to EBF (exclusively breastfeed) status. (More on our breastfeeding journey here.)
I continued to nurse Sophia while I was still on anti-hypertensive drugs. I would give her formula then have her latch to my breast after she finished a bottle. I would breastfeed her for hours and she would use my breast as her pacifier. We would have breastfeeding marathons every day. I would sit in a chair for 2 or 3 hours nursing. I forsook combing my hair, bathroom breaks, visits from friends, and household chores just to nurse my baby. The best way to increase your milk output was to keep on latching and doing so also helped with my emotional and mental state as it made me feel that despite my low supply; it was I who was filling my baby’s tummy with milk.
A month after giving birth, my blood pressure went back to normal and I started taking malunggay (moringa) capsules. My mother bought me a pack and I took 3 capsules religiously everyday. But after I finished my supply, I wasn’t able to sustain taking the herbal supplement because it was an additional expense that we could not afford. 😥 Luckily, we have 2 malunggay trees in our yard. Why pay for something when you can get it for free, right?
I would harvest malunggay leaves every morning and I would add the leaves to our meal or boil it into tea. If we’re not having soup like tinola or halaan, I would make a simple broth with only malunggay, garlic, onion, and ginger. Sometimes the plain broth got a bit boring so I would add the leaves to this instant noodles.
After each meal, I would feel engorged and that made me really happy and motivated that I was finally feeling my milk come in. I increased my water intake to 3 to 4 liters per day and added a big glass of Milo after each meal.
Milo is rich in malt and malt is a well known galactagogue. I noticed an increase in my milk supply as I was also pumping 2 or 3 times a day. What other beverage contains malt? Well beer of course! I tried drinking alcohol but I absolutely dislike its aftertaste that I couldn’t even finish a glass.
Another milk booster that worked brilliantly for me was oatmeal. It would have been better to have used rolled oats but as it was difficult to find and more expensive than the regular ones, I opted to use the instant oatmeal instead. However, I am not overly fond of eating boiled oats and sugar. To make it more palatable, I turned it into arrozcaldo and champorado. Yum! Yum! I would also mix it with my Milo drink for my homemade Oishi Oaties. 🙂
After more than 2 months of my milk booster regimen, Sophia was finally back to being nursed exclusively. No more formula milk for her and I was able to restore my baby’s virgin gut. It took a lot of hard work and patience but everything paid off. My baby is now a toddler and she continues to breastfeed from mommy. It was the combination of the following that helped me finally ditch formula milk:
- More padede, more milk. Unlidede to the max.
- Water, water, water and soup every meal
- Malunggay everyday (capsule or fresh leaves)
- Belief in your ability to produce an abundance of milk for your child.
Our situation now is a complete reversal of what we were going through last year. My blood pressure remains to be normal, I have overcome post partum depression, and my husband is with a stable company and earning enough for me to be a stay at home mom (SAHM). We feel immensely blessed because we have our dear Sophia and she is healthy, smart, and oh so active.
Having gone through the stress and anxiety of needing to produce enough milk for your baby, I know how hard it is for a mother to increase milk supply with limited resources. Hence, we would like to pay it forward to one padede momma who may be going through a breastfeeding hurdle. For more information on our little random act of kindness (raok), please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Fluffinay
See you on FB, mommas!