04 April 2013

Distant Breastfeeding? Yes I Can!

I am roughly 202 kilometers away from my kids. I have to travel about 4-5 hours before I get home. I just don't have the endurance and passion for driving (aside from I don't own a car) so I just usually load a bus and sleep all throughout the travel. But I do not get tired...because just that thought that after that long journey, those tiny little cute arms of my little Echo and Alfa will wrap around me gives me adrenaline rush.

That feeling doubles up when I see my fridge full with my expressed milk...What? Me, breastfeeding? Yes SMC readers and I tag it as "Distant Breastfeeding," for others, Exclusively Pumping.  I as a baby was breastfed for almost a year (according to my mother). Unfortunately for several reasons, I breastfed Echo only for three months. Now that Army is already here, I want her to enjoy what her older brother should also have enjoyed...and that is the opportunity to breastfeed for a longer period of time.
My Precious Milk Stash....
The Breastfeeding Support meeting conducted by La Leche League last March 9 was my main driving point. If earlier I knew that I can still produce milk through using a good pump, I should have done the same with Echo. Also, with the help and encouragement of my mommy group The Mommy Avenue (formerly Avenue for Mommies Online),  my dream of having a longer breastfeeding period with Alfa gradually becomes a reality.

How do I do this? Here's how:
1. Have the fortitude to breastfeed.
     If you think you can, then you will have milk. It's always in the mind.
2. Have a support system, may that be your husband, parents, caregiver, etc.
   For me, my husband, my parents and my mommy group are my support system. Maybe without them, I'll prefer getting a can of formula milk than to make an effort expressing mine.
3. Invest on a good breast pump.

    Salon Empress Atty Mary Pauline Danga-Obias who happens to be my friend and Echo's godmother was generous enough to lend her single electric breast pump. In my perception, an electric breast pump is more applicable for a working mommy like me.
4. Inform your boss.
     There are neither offices nor boss alike. Working environment also differs specifically between a government owned against that of private owned company. In order for you to sneak out of your desk every three hours, you must inform your boss that you are a nursing mother and your intention to pump at a regular time. Some will understand you while some will have a negative comment about it. You can't blame them. Not everyone will understand you. In my case, I was lucky enough to have an understanding boss.
5. Invest on a good Insulator Bag.
     You successfully expressed your milk for days, froze it and ready to be shipped. Your travel time is about 5-6 hours. You arrived at your destination with your milk stash....spoiled.

     No matter how plenty your milk stash is, when you do not have the proper bag with you, expect that those precious storage bags will just be wasted. You don't have to buy expensive insulator bags. I myself got my insulator bag for Php 500.00 and it worked for me.
6. Invest in chillers/ice-packs/dry ice.
     When you choose using dry ice everytime you ship your milk stash, you have to be cautious on not having a direct contact between the dry ice and the milk since dry ice has a poisonous substance.

     With this, I personally chose buying two chillers as part of my provision in shipping my milk stash. It kept my milk stash cold until I reach my destination. I bought my two ice packs for Php109.00 each.
7. Create a schedule.
     Just like what Miss Abbie Yabot have taught me, you must have a schedule of expressing your milk.  Ideally, you may set it at every two hours (I can't do that since I have work) or every three hours (that's my schedule). Take note mommies, DO NOT WAIT FOR YOUR BREAST TO BE ENGORGED. Engorgement is a bad sign. It will lessen your milk supply. If you can't do with three hours, at least do not exceed with an every four-hour schedule.  
8. Take supplements suitable to your taste.
     You may have a malunggay capsule in your medicine cabinet. Drinking about two capsules every after meal helps in producing a lot more milk. Likewise, it also contains iron which aid in post-partum recovery specifically if you've undergone CS delivery (like me).
     If malunggay capsule does not fit your taste, you may have healthy snacks of lactation cookies, muffins and cupcakes. It is already available online.
9. Take a glass of water prior and after expressing milk.
     This will not only maintain your breastmilk supply but will also keep you hydrated. You are drinking fluids for two.
10. Keep away from caffeine for the first six months of lactation.
     I myself am a confessed coffee-addict. You may sip your favorite machiatto flavored coffee or have a cup of your favorite mochaccino. But you maust also change it with a glass of water. 3-4 oz of coffee a day is tolerable.
11. Invest on a BPA-free storage milk bag (space-saver).
     Since I have to be away from my baby during weekdays, large amount of milk is stored in my freezer. To be able to bring it all at home, I have to buy milk storage bag instead of breastmilk bottle container.

For a working mommy like me, stress is inevitable. One day or two, I also experience low breastmilk supply. But do not be discouraged. You must keep your focus. Reading helpful materials like this will also aid you. I am not an expert but what I am sharing you now is my own personal experience. In the next few weeks or so, I will once again attend breastfeeding related meeting and definitely will share it with you again. Happy Distant Breastfeeding!!!