Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Month! For the occasion, I wanted to share 7 things that helped me in my breastfeeding journeys, my BF BFFs! I breastfed my first baby, David, for a year and now am currently breastfeeding my second baby, Ethan, who is 3 months old.
They say that breastfeeding is 90% dedication and 10% milk production. Which makes sense because the dedication really is the hardest part.
You cannot give from an empty cup so hopefully some of these help you fill your cup and get the milk flowing.
Photo from the AsianParent Philippines
I don’t even know where to start in talking about how this wonder plant is just plain amazing. Malunggay will be a staple in your breastfeeding journey. The actual leaf, powder, capsules, drink, cookie - take it in any form that suits you starting when you are still pregnant at 6 months . For my first pregnancy, I actually started with the powder form (available at Echostore Cebu), which I put in almost everything I ate. Morning oatmeal, juice, rice, etc. The taste was starting to bother me so I shifted to capsules. I started with 2 caps of Mega Malunggay (available at BaoBao Babies, MoMa) daily. When I was breastfeeding, I shifted to the cheaper (and more readily available at all leading pharmacies) Natalac. And now for my 2nd pregnancy and baby, I’m taking Moringana capsules (which I hoarded from the Breastfeeding month sale at babymama.ph). I take 2 a day but when I need a supply boost, I take 3. Of course, have the malunggay soup when you can too. I started drinking malunggay while still pregnant with David and my milk came right away! And I have been blessed to have had no major problems with supply since. Same goes for Baby 2 too!
The malunggay goodies I hoarded from the babymama.ph sale
2. Haakaa Pump
This is probably one of the best inventions made to help breastfeeding easier. My only regret in buying it, when I was breastfeeding my first baby, was that I didn’t do it sooner. Now, with my second baby, I was able to build my stash earlier by catching “jealous boob” letdown. No milk wasted! Now with my baby at 3 months, I “lazy pump”/catch to almost 4 oz per feed! The pump (available at BaoBao Babies) comes in 90ml and 150ml. I got the 90ml one first cause I didn’t think I would be able to catch so much! Luckily, a friend got me the bigger one! Now there’s a Gen 3 where the bottom is removable and becomes a bottle so you don’t have to transfer your milk in another bottle so absolutely no drop is wasted. You can check out the whole set at milkandhoney.ph. Continuous innovation, this brand is love!
3. Freemie Cups or any Hands Free Collection Cup
Where was this during my first breastfeeding journey?? I actually hated pumping before because not all nursing bras are hands-free bras (and 2 years ago they were hard to find and pricier than a normal nursing bra), so you had to change or hold the pump for 15-20mins. Such a hassle and you’re not able to do anything else. I ended up pumping in the car a lot since I don’t work in an office setting. And the bottles sticking out are a bother when you’re trying to do other things like cook or wash dishes or having a drink in a coffee shop. Thanks to the Freemie Cups, I pump absolutely everywhere. I discreetly inserted it one time at a coffee shop and the waitress asked me if it was a push-up haha! You just insert it in your bra and voila! Easy to clean also. Spectra has it’s own version too. You can purchase these Freemie cups from babymama.ph and the Spectra cups on Lazada.
One of the mommy perks of breastfeeding is the excuse to eat all these yummy lactation treats. I really thought at first that these were just for fun but the one day that I ran out of treats and didn’t eat any, my supply really dipped!
I really noticed an increase in my supply with Keiara’s Revel Bars, which was part of the sampler pack that I first ordered from them.
The Lacatation Sampler Pack from Keiara's Goodies. Spot the revel bars!
I have to say that my favorite are the healthy and yummy Lactation cookies from The Good Farm which is choc-filled with cacao nibs! I love how I've gotten a freebie with all of my orders including their Malunggay Coffee, malunggay capsules and their best-selling keto chocolate cake. They deliver on the same day and have the best service!
Inglorious Cookies’ version is sinfully delicious though and just makes me very happy (which increases your milk supply, so yes! Pre-order (the need at least a day’s lead time) here).
They are all Cebu-based so if you live in the 032, we’re lucky we have these entrepreneurs catering to our milking mama munchies! You can also opt to make your own goodies by including galactagogues such as oats, Brewer’s yeast, fenugreek, almonds and good ol malunggay powder to your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.
5. Mother Nurture Malunggay Choco Mix
This should probably fall under Malunggay or Lactation Goodies but this deserves a spot all on it’s own because while breastfeeding both my babies, this is my early morning treat - a cup of hot (or lukewarm or re-heated because kids) Mother Nurture Choco. This drink, aside from malunggay, has medicinal herbs ashitaba and gotu kola. A quick Google search on these herbs reveals tons of health benefits such as being anti-oxidants and of course, help nursing moms boost their milk supply. This drink is sweetened with Stevia which is a healthier substitute for sugar. This product is proudly Filipino and was the brainchild of a social mompreneur who is a staunch breastfeeding advocate. You can read more about the product on their website: https://mothernurtureph.com/. You can find their products in Baobao Babies or hoard them on Shoppee (I buy from this seller: happybabymommy)
6. Good Fats
Omega 3 fats, DHA and EPA are essential for brain development which is why taking supplements during pregnancy is beneficial for your baby. Continuing to take them during breastfeeding also ensures you and your milk and your baby continue receiving these essential fatty acids as well. Fatty milk also makes your baby full longer - which means longer rest/sleeptime for baby and mommy (yes!). My baby also weighs 7.3kg at 3 months (but at 61 cm, which is tall for his age group, but yes, my baby is gaining weight very well with my breastmilk!). Prenatally I took Mosvit Elit and now take DHA/EHA soft gel supplements (I get the big bottles in Healthy Options). However, please note to consult your OB-GYN before taking any supplements.
7. Support Group
When I was pregnant with my second baby, one of the things I honestly wasn’t looking forward to was breastfeeding again. Don’t get me wrong, it truly is very fulfilling and has the best reward but it’s not easy. It’s less sleep, less time for yourself and can bring a lot of anxiety especially during your first time. You don’t know if your feeding him enough and it can also get frustrating when he’s attached to you for an hour already. Sometimes the hormones get you weepy thinking if this is all you get to do for the day. And it really helped whenI you saw online that you’re not going through this alone. The local FB group Milk Making Mommies / Cebu Breastfeeding Club & Breastfeeding Support Group has helped with that. Here you can also find answers to questions you have as well as maybe help out with other moms who are going through the same thing you are. You can also ask or give milk donations here!
If you are more a private person, a WhatsApp group with mommy friends is another option. I have one where we share everything from teething and growth spurt woes to the latest online sale! Of course it also really helps when your husband/partner and the family around you are supportive of you. May it be ready to give you a glass of water and some munchies when your sitting down or be the one to burp and cuddle them after feeding so you can grab a few zzs. My husband has created a little corner for me for feeding complete with extension cord so I can plug my phone and my laptop so I can Instagram or watch Netflix. My mom also really helped me out by buying me breastfeeding friendly tops and of course, being very eager to carry my babies when it’s time to burp or just to let me sleep for a few minutes. My single friends also don’t mind when I have to feed or pump while I’m out with them and didn’t stop inviting me out when I started having kids,
You really cannot give from an empty cup. However big or little way the people around you help out, anything that lightens the load and helps mom be less tired or stressed helps get the milk flowing.
1. Seve's Mom Nursing Scarf
I only have one of these and I’ve gotten so much use out of it. It’s a pretty scarf that stretches out enough to cover your boob and the baby. Perfect for travel! I got mine at Baobao Babies and you can also order direct from the Seve's Mom FB page
Wearing my Seve's Mom scarf while pumping at a cafe. I was using the Freemie and didn't need to cover up but it was cold.
2. Honeysuckle Breastmilk Foodbags
These foodbags come in 4oz sizes which are perfect for storing and thawing in just the right amounts after. These are very durable and I haven’t experienced spilling with these. When you store it flat in the freezer, it takes up little space and can be arranged neatly even in a small area in the freezer.
You can also get an adapter so you can attach the bags directly to your pump! These are all available at Rustan's Cebu.
3. PetitBebe PH Mommy bag
This is a splurge I bought for my second pregnancy! This bag doubles as a sterilizer and cooler in one. Perfect for pumping on the go. It looks so pretty as well so I don’t mind bringing this one around! You can order from their Facebook Page here
4. Power Pumping with my favorite Medela Pump
I've had my Medela Swing Maxi pump since I had David and I love using it at home especially for power pumping. Here's a helpful infographic on how to do it early in the morning to increase your supply.
To moms out there reading this and have your own breastfeeding BFF's, please do share! I found my BFFs through other moms as well :)