Lactation struggles are common among many mums who breastfeed. Even those who may have had an easy journey with their first baby could end up with problems with their second one.
And it’s really a hard journey to navigate! Postpartum stress can be a beast and according to Seleni Institute what’s usually referred to as the “baby blues” affect 80% of mothers because the happy hormones that helped to sustain a healthy pregnancy will significantly drop post birth. Couple that with the usual trails of having a newborn in the house and of perhaps being a new parent and having breastfeeding problems can be a burden that is hard to bear.
Hardest of all is when a mother anticipates eagerly a positive, possibly romanticised idea of bonding, breastfeeding and baby but ends up with a milk supply or a baby who can’t latch.
Our March Mum of the Month braved through these trials and tribulations of lacking milk supply and overall anxiety. We felt that her journey is an inspiring one that really embodies that old adage of “if at first you don’t succeed”. Well guess what? She emerged on the other side not just with three happy and healthy babies, but with a business of her own to boot!
A PERIOD OF HIGHS AND LOWS…
Joanna Goy, started her company Singapore Lactation Bakes after facing personal struggles with low milk supply for her babies.
“When my eldest daughter Jolinda was born, I was over the moon! I could not wait to breastfeed. But it turned out that I was a slow and low yielder,” she shared. “Breastfeeding became a struggle. I was constantly gripped by the fear that I would not be able to provide an ample supply of milk to meet her growing needs.”
This threw Joanna into a state of anxiety and thoughts on whether or not Jolinda would have enough to drink for her next feed would plague her daily.
“The first time I used my breast pump was when Jolinda was only three days old and I couldn’t even produce a single drop of milk,” she laments. “My milk only came in on the fourth day and the supply was dismal - just 30 to 50ml per pump session.”
This situation was compounded further when she returned to work. In an attempt to juggle a hectic work life, family life as well as the newfound role of being a mummy, she found it increasingly challenging to find time to pump. This eventually led to a decrease in her milk supply.
A few years later, her second daughter Jophia was born. Concerned with the prospect of again having a potential low breast milk yield, Joanna immediately started intensely researching on various ways to boost her milk supply and to have a more positive breastfeeding experience. After joining many Mummy groups, one solution which received rave reviews stood out for her: lactation cookies.
FROM LOW YIELDER TO SUPER MILKER!
Initially, she was skeptical; it sounded too good to be true. Her husband even scoffed at the idea that eating a cookie would magically produce more milk. But Joanna had exhausted all other means and thought, “why not?”
Lactation cookies available commercially tended to be costly so Joanna began by baking her own. Her first batch of cookies was delicious! But unfortunately Joanna did not see an immediate increase in her milk supply after eating them and was disappointed. This all changed when a few days later, she noticed that her milk production steadily increased.
“That was the first time that I was able to produce around 80ml in one pump session,” said Joanna happily. “My impatience had gotten the better of me at first! Three months later, I noticed that my milk had not only become thicker, but I was also able to yield a lot more. Even after latching Jophia on, I was still able to produce 300ml of milk in a day!”
Eventually when her third baby Jorissa was born, Joanna no longer struggled with breastmilk woes and boasted a freezer full of frozen breastmilk. She also embarked on baking lactation cookies, cakes and muffins professionally to help out other mums faced with supply issues.
THE HEGEN DIFFERENCE
As her milk supply increased, Joanna could pump on the go and was pleased with Hegen’s simple “Press-to-Close, Twist-to-Open” system that minimised transfer and spillage (and thus, wastage) of her precious milk. She even demonstrated its use on an Instagram post, which also indeed also showed evidence of her now-bountiful milk supply!
“The Express-Store-Feed system really helped me so much by saving all the hassle to wash many unnecessary parts,” she gushed. “Love the manual pump as it works as a milk saver for me too. I find the Hegen pump small, stylish and convenient and really helps me preserve my milk as I don't have to transfer it to another container.”
With the hard times behind her, Joanna hopes that her personal struggles and lessons in breastfeeding can inspire hope in others who are facing similar issues.
Her message to other Mummies who also face low milk supply? “Don't be too hard on yourself,” says Joanna. “Do what you can and know that you have done your best as a mother and that your kid has already benefited in ways beyond your imagination.”