I have exactly seven days left to return to work from my maternity leave. I usually start pumping and storing breastmilk three weeks before I resume work from leave. With my first daughter, it was smooth sailing. I had no issues producing milk. I used to pump dry my two breasts in the morning for her first two feeds before leaving for working.
And by the time I get through the morning meetings in the office around 9am, my breasts will be heavy and full of milk. I sometimes pumped twice at the office before I got off work at 3pm.
With my second daughter, recovery has taken longer than I imagined. My body is not like it used to be. Lately my breast doesn’t produce a lot of milk to have me pump the extra and store. I have had to fall on formula after I exhausted my stored up breastmilk.
I have struggled to deal with the guilt of my body not producing enough milk for my second daughter. And the desire to do same if not better for my second daughter just as I did for my first. You need to be in my place to understand. It is not as if formula feeding is bad, but it is a personal preference to breastfeed.
Thankfully, with only a week left to return to work, my body is back to producing milk like before and I cannot express in writing how happy that makes me. To be able to pump more than 120ml from one breast is unexplainable.
I’m finally in a place where I have told myself that at any point before my daughter turns 6months if I need to supplement with formula,I’m still a good mother and I still love my second daughter just as much as I love my first.
Anxiety;This is me right now. The best word that describes how I’m currently feeling. The thought of returning to work from my maternity leave makes me anxious 😔😔😔
I do miss work and I’m excited to see all my colleagues again.
But the thought of returning to work has influenced my milk production. I’m doing all the right things but supply has still dropped. I have gone from breasts being engorged with milk everyday and wetting my breast pads to just enough to feed baby.
I need to produce more milk to be able to feed her each day before I resume work and also store enough for her feeding when I return to work.
With my first daughter, milk production was not much of a problem, I also used to pump and store at work. The trick was pump in the morning before I leave for the office. That was her first feed of the day, and then the stored milk is thawed,warmed and used in her subsequent feeds. And then pumped twice at work when the day is not so crazy; before I get off work at 3pm.
I’m sure someone is asking why I’m stress about breastmilk when there is another option in variety of baby formulas??
My answer is ; personal choices.
I do not fault anyone who makes the choice to formula feed her baby nor anyone who decides to combine breastfeeding with formula feeding.
Trust me; I know breastfeeding is hard work; but I choose to do it.
There is this kind of guilt mothers feel especially when they have more than one child. You cannot help but want to do same for each child if not more than you did for the older ones. That is where I am right now. I just want to do six months exclusive breastfeeding just like I did for my first daughter.
If anyone should ask me about how I did it, I will never be able to say how. Two years ago I didn’t know how my life could change after the birth of my daughter. No, I didn’t have it all figured out before she arrived. Yes, motherhood was new to me too. Motherhood is such that no matter how much you think you have read or heard, you are always in for surprises.
The birth of my daughter introduced me to the NICU world too. My doctor had told me about the possibility of having a preterm baby and the possibility that she was going to spend time at the NICU. Truth be told, I always prayed for her to be born full term. I simply didn’t want her to be taken to the NICU. I had not read a lot about the place, but from the little I had read,I just knew I didn’t want anything to do with the NICU.
God had His plans though. On the 24th of September 2018, at 2:44pm my daughter was born after 36weeks. Regardless the steroid injections my doctor gave me just so her lungs could develop faster and increase the probability of not needing the NICU, she still ended up there.
I met my daughter on 26th of September for the first time after she was born on 24th. That was when I had the energy to walk from my ward on the 6th floor to the 3rd floor where the NICU is located . (Because wheelchairs are not allowed in the NICU) It was love at first sight.I just couldn’t help it, she was so tiny but so perfect.
On her birthday my foundation was born. My encounter with the NICU gave birth to Friends of NICU . I have dedicated my life to Awareness creation about the NICU, soliciting for support for NICU’s in Ghana, Paying NICU bills of needy parents and also being a support system to NICU parents.
As my daughter turns two today, Friends of NICU is also 2years. With a grateful heart, I say we have come this far by the Grace of God.
Happy Birthday to my NICU miracle.
My First fruit… my daughter Ewuradwoa. I love you so much. I’m grateful that you chose me to be your mother. And your birth gave me another purpose in life.
World breastfeeding week 2020 was from 1st to 7th August. This year’s theme is “Support Breastfeeding For A Healthier Planet” Before I became a mother, I do not remember topics such as this catching my attention not to think of writing about it.
Motherhood indeed changes people. You pour out so much love into a new life.You care so much for the new born and protect the little one with everything you have got.
Due to the fact that my daughter was born early and so spent time at the NICU,she developed neonatal jaundice. Even though she was put under the light as part of her treatment , breastfeeding her worked magic in clearing the jaundice completely. Adequate amounts of breast milk increases a baby’s bowel movements, which help secrete the buildup of bilirubin.
At the NICU we had specific visit hours for mothers/fathers. The time was an hour to breastfeed, change diapers if necessary and bond with your baby. I always took advantage of that 1 hour. There were times my baby will be asleep during the visit and there was nothing I could do to get her to feed.
The nurses encouraged us to express milk and leave it behind for our babies. I never did because I was unsure of how the milk was was going to be handled. (My paranoid self)
I watched my 2.1kg baby girl more than double her birth weight after we left the NICU in just a matter of days.
I was constantly concerned about eating right and how my body will produce enough milk to feed my little one.
Soon my 3 months maternity was almost over and I just had to intensify my pumping routine. I started storing milk towards my return to work.When I returned to work I always tried to find time to pump at the office. It was really tough I kid you not.
Sometimes work got so overwhelming that I returned home with two heavy and painful breasts full of milk.
I was determined to at least do 6 months exclusive breastfeeding. I saw how much weight my daughter gained month after month. She never got sick through out her first early year. And so I support the idea of breastfeeding; if only you have the supply, and you are in a place to do so and baby also accepts the milk.
Truth be told that breastfeeding is no child’s play. The struggle of eating right,trying to stay in the right frame of mind so that your body can produce enough milk is real.
I had a friend whose baby really ate a lot. Supply of her stock of breast milk run out quickly when she returned to work. It was really tough on her because her baby always rejected formula. She tried every brand on the market but her baby rejected it.
She was constantly stressed and her body could not meet the demand needs at a point.
Breastfeeding is not an easy job but worth the hustle.
You need carbohydrate rich diet to increase your milk supply; and that can make most women gain weight.When you gain weight people make unwelcome comments about your weight gain.
I have another friend whose body over produces milk so supply is not a headache for her at all. There are several women who have shared stories of how their babies weaned themselves off breast milk before they clocked 6months old.
I understand that everyone’s motherhood journey is different, so is breastfeeding. It is therefore unfair to try to shame any woman who makes the choice to do 6 months exclusive breastfeeding,formula feed her baby or combine both.
Do not judge if you have not walked a mile in anyone’s shoes. The most important thing here is the love being emptied from the mother to her baby.
Remember that your body produced a miracle; and brought forth another life.To any new Mom out there, you are doing amazing already. Ignore all the critics and keep up the good work.
Happy Breastfeeding Week To Every Woman out there.
Proverbs are wise sayings that are password guided . It often needs to be decoded with wisdom before the ordinary mind can understand. If the literal translation is used, it makes less sense until it is decoded to the understanding of everyone. That is when the true meaning is appreciated. Africa is known for its Proverbs. Here are a few from Ghana.
1) Woforo Dua Pa a Na Ye Pia Wo:
Literal Meaning: It is when you climb a good tree that we push you.
MeaningDecoded: Society supports a good course not a bad one and so if you need support chart a good course. Basically, Society supports and identifies with good deeds.
2) Tikro Nkoro Nko Agyina :
Literal Meaning: One head (or person) does not hold council.
MeaningDecoded : We cannot refer to one person discussing an issue with himself as a meeting. We need a group of people to hold a meeting. This proverb is similar to the English one that says “two heads are better than one.”
3)Hu m’ani so ma me nti na atwe mmienu nam:
Literal Meaning: It is because of “blow the dust off my eyes” that two antelopes walk together.
Meaning Decoded : Two is better than one. The benefit of having a supporter with you is enough to see you through. Thus this idea of collaboration rather than competition is the message being communicated here.
4) Aboa bi beka wo a, ne ofiri wo ntoma mu :
Literal Meaning: If an animal will bite you, it will be from your cloth.
MeaningDecoded : It is likely that the people who will harm you are those close to you.
5) Anoma anntu a, obua da :
Literal Meaning: if a bird does not fly, it goes to bed hungry.
MeaningDecoded: If you want to make a living, you must make a move or take action. You cannot do nothing and expect not to go hungry. It can also be understood as “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” for the bird takes risk by flying, yet, without that there will be no hope of finding food and starving will kill it. This applies to us men too.
In conclusion our Proverbs as Africans makes us different. I remember I read some Nigerian books in my Literature class and it was filled with proverbs. That makes us unique. We the new generation of Africans should endeavor to pass it on so that it is never lost.
Before I became a mother, I used to follow so many beauty pages mainly because I have a side business in makeup artistry. I still do, but something else has taken over that spot of being number one priority since September 2018.
The birth of my daughter also gave birth to my foundation; Friends of NICU . She was born preterm and had to spend time at the NICU. After my NICU journey/experience my priorities changed. A foundation was created to support NICU’s in my country Ghana. We also raise awareness about premature birth and challenges. We have also been a supporter to others who are going through a similar experience.
As a result I looked out for similar pages in other parts of the world doing the same work as I am doing in Ghana. Pages with focus on raising awareness on Prematurity and NICU experiences worldwide. They are also parents who have experienced the same thing I had gone through as a Preemie Mom.
Ever heard the saying “the Pen is mightier than the sword?” Yes, it is. Allow me to add my own twist; now the computer is as powerful too. In the age that we find ourselves, digital media seem to be competing with traditional media.
This makes digital media just as powerful as the pen. Whatever is put out there must be well thought through. Therefore, before you hit the “Send” button ask yourself if whatever information you are sharing is authentic. Ask yourself if you can defend it till the end. Ask yourself the intended purpose. Ask yourself if it is of any benefit to anyone either than yourself. Ask yourself if it’s a good enough material that is worth sharing.
I have seen people in the past make some wild allegations against others; only to retract and apologize later. Mostly the harm caused by such publications are irreversible. An apology doesn’t always fix things.
With the power of technology, everything that is posted online is never lost even if it is pulled down.
So to my fellow Africans, do not be in a hurry to be the first with the news. But be concerned with verification and the accuracy of whatever we share
Let us not hide behind our computer screens and create chaos; remember that is also as powerful as the pen if not more powerful.
Some time back I joined a group of Female Bloggers in Ghana on Facebook . But I cannot remember the last time I was on that page. This is a reminder for me to look out for more Bloggers from home.
Today’s topic has opened my eyes to the fact that I do not know and follow a lot of Ghanaian Blogs. However I have quiet a number of African Bloggers that I follow and love. I met some of them last year through the Winter ABC Challenge.
Here are two bloggers who l look forward to receiving notifications from every time .
1) Joseyphina : I have always admired her writing. She is so consistent when it comes to blogging. I get at least one notification a day from her. I also enjoy reading her blog.
2) Everything Marriage: This Blog is mainly about relationships and marriage. I love the freshness it brings to the table with how he articulates his opinion .
To all the Ghanaian Bloggers out there, you are doing amazing. Let’s connect.
Social media has currently become part of our everyday lives. It has come to stay for that matter. More often than not, there are always double sides to everything. Just like drugs that are supposed to cure a particular illness can still open people up to negative side effects. Social media is that guy. Depending on how you use it, it can be all good but it has negative sides too. Here are some of the things social Media has taught me.
1) Business/advertising : .Through the power of technology it is now very easy to start a business online. Some Social media platforms helps in bringing sellers and buyers together. Advertisement can be run to connect your business to the right customers . Be careful though, not every business on social media is genuine . I had to learn the hard way.
2) Can be addictive: Social media can be addictive. I have learned how to prioritize and make use of my time.
3)Not everything you see on social media is Real: Most people live the fake life on social media. With a lot of photo shop apps, people have perfected how to live a lie. Do not feel pressured to live your life based on what others are doing.
4) When it gets overwhelming, it is ok to take a break .