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  • Sitti Shares How She Got Through Painful Latching, Gassy Baby, and Overactive Letdown

    The first-time mom has been breastfeeding her daughter exclusively for nine months and counting.
    by Kitty Elicay .
  • Breastfeeding is beneficial for your baby and you, but it can be demanding physically, emotionally, and mentally. That is why many nursing moms celebrate when they overcome breastfeeding challenges, no matter how minor it seems.

    New mom Sitti Navarro-Ramirez posted on Instagram the story of her breastfeeding journey so far with her daughter. “I have been exclusively breastfeeding Lilibubs [her daughter] for nearly nine months now, and I thank the Lord for the gift of breast milk,” she shares in a lengthy caption.

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    She adds, “When I was pregnant with her, all my readings have pointed to the many benefits of this liquid gold, that’s why I have set my mind to nursing at least a year.”

    Setting a goal is one thing, but accomplishing it is an entirely different matter. Sitti admits that her journey wasn’t always smooth sailing. “I honestly could not have held out this long if it weren’t for my husband, my mom, and the countless other mommies I exchange breastfeeding challenges with online,” she says.

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    Sitti mentioned some of the breastfeeding issues she encountered. If you’ve had similar experiences, here are some tips that might make your journey a little easier.

    My nipples hurt whenever baby latches

    “Sobrang hapdi, sobrang sakit” is how Sitti described the first few days of what she calls “unli-latching” with her baby. But a friend pointed out, “Your nipples will toughen up.”

    Sitti shares her body adapted to her daughter’s latch eventually. “I think after the first three weeks, nasanay na nga ang katawan ko na may dumedede sa kanya.”

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    Nipples can get sore when breastfeeding for the first time, but according to Noelle Pollack, birth and postpartum doula from the Pinay Doulas Collective, prolonged pain may stem from an improper latch.

    To know if your baby is latching properly, feel the palate behind your teeth — it feels hard, right? If the nipple is in that area of your baby’s mouth while she feeds, it will hurt. To lessen the pain, aim for an asymmetrical latch and position your nipple farther in the baby’s mouth. The baby’s mouth should be wide open with her lower and upper lip flanged out (like a fish). Make sure your areola, and not just the nipple, is inside your baby’s mouth.

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    My baby chokes while feeding

    Sitti shared she was blessed with an oversupply of milk for the first three months after birth. But it also came with another challenge: an overactive letdown. Her baby would cough and seemingly “drown” while feeding.

    Having too much milk in the breast can cause milk to flow rapidly. Your baby may gag and choke since she’s forced to gulp milk down while feeding. It can cause gassiness and spit-ups, as well as overfeeding.

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    Try and remove a little breast milk by hand expressing. Do this before breastfeeding. Not only will it get the milk flowing, but it will also soften the breast so your baby can have an easier time latching. Make sure to breastfeed often, at least eight to 12 times a day.

    To slow down the flow of milk, try and breastfeed your baby while laying on your back or reclining on a chair.

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    I have a gassy baby

    Perhaps because of her oversupply, Sitti shares that Lilibubs was also gassy during the first few months of breastfeeding. “There were moments when I blamed my milk for it,” she admits. “My mom encouraged me when she said, ‘Never doubt your breast milk. Kaya nga sabi breast milk is best for babies up to two years.” It gave Sitti the strength to continue on her journey.

    Breastfeeding is not the sole culprit of gassy babies. Your diet can also be a factor, so you have to monitor your baby for any reaction two to four hours after feeding.

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    To prevent gas in infants, don’t forget to burp your baby after or in-between feedings. Pediatrician Dr. Ina Atutubo says babies can be burped every five to 10 minutes of feeding even if they are breastfed.

    Too much gas can be a symptom of colic, but experts say you don’t need to stop breastfeeding even if your baby is battling colic. It may even help comfort your crying baby. Skin-to-skin contact is also a tried and tested method to calm fussy infants.

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    Breastfeeding is a commitment. As you experience ups and downs, it’s important to have people around you who can rally and give you the support you need while you go through this journey. You can find it in your family and friends, as well as breastfeeding support groups, and online communities like our Parent Chat and Facebook group, Smart Parenting Village, where moms empower fellow mothers.

    As Sitti says, “To all the other nursing moms, mahirap man, marami kami who will support you. Tuloy-tuloy lang tayo para sa mga anak natin!”

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