The Top Up Trap

Posted by tricia mae lim on

     I have mentioned in the past that I wasn't the most educated mother with my first born back in 2008. My husband and I were quite young and we just rely heavily on our elders. We didn't know back then the wonders of breastfeeding and how majestic our bodies are.

      Whatever you are picturing in your mind now is exactly what I was -- bought the most expensive formula milk and water on the market, making formula milk on top of our necessities and this was when I just gave birth! I was able to breastfeed but I couldn't remember the vivid moments between my son and I. If I think about those missed moments, I feel regret and sadness. I could have given him the cheapest yet the healthiest source out there, my liquid gold.

At first, I felt I didn't have enough, I was scared my breasts won't work. Nobody had explained to me as well how our mammary glands work and how amazing they are. The biggest regret I had during those times is that I didn't research enough for it. If I could have read the right books, instead I wallowed with Nicholas Sparks. Haha! When I gave birth via CS, I remembered my husband opening the can of formula milk we brought in the hospital (THE HORROR!) as opposed now, nobody can even bring a grain of formula milk inside! So at the start really, there was no Unang Yakap or The First Embrace. (For more info, click here.) I don't remember the right people who insisted my baby to latch on me, nobody encouraged me that I am enough and capable to feed. It is saddening to think about it but I cannot do anything but just corrected my knowledge when my 2nd son came. Going back, I remembered always using our bottle in the hospital and I was embarassed to breasteed because there were a lot of male nurses and doctors. When we went home, I remembered trying to breastfeed just because my breasts hurt and they were engorged. Oftentimes, I was so tired so out of 12 feedings in a day, 90% of it were fomula milk. Now, if you noticed, I doubted myself thinking I wasn't enough (step 1 of the trap and  totally a mindset and not proven since I didn't pump or measured my output), then I top it up with formula (step 2), then my baby sleeps longer due to the heaviness of the content (step 3), and I get to sleep more -- imagine the feedings I missed, I signaled my body to create less since the demand is low (step 4). And that vicious cycle continues until your supply will dry up and your glands won't make anymore, leaving the mother feeling useless and sad like I did before.

      When new clients approach me, I don't automatically push my products to them, I usually assses and ask them important questions for them to understand how the law of supply and demand works in breastfeeding. I usually ask them, their babies' age, feeding pattern, if the mother is working or not, pumping or directly latching and etc. If you are breastfeeding, you don't really need my products to survive, all you need is your baby's demand and the rest will follow. I do not condemn people using formula milk, in fact, I push moms if they need to rest and if they don't have an extra stash. If you will be doing a feeding using formula though, I suggest pumping or hand expressing in exchange of the missed feeding, that will help maintain your milk supply.

    Now, before you grab that bottle make sure to ask yourself, is it really worth it? You have to remember this sleepless and exhausting ordeal will not be permanent and forever. It will just pass and before you know it, your baby will wean. Don't make the same mistake that I did. 

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