For first time mothers, breastfeeding is arguably one of the many challenges they face. These adorable creatures are very tiny and mastering when to feed and how much to feed them, can be a daunting task.
Journalist (Media Personality), Communications Advisor/Consultant and mother of two boys, Joy Doreen Biira proudly tells me she is a sort of a champion with the second baby. She has mastered all the techniques of handling an infant.
‘’I know when to feed the baby. I can differentiate between the baby’s various cries and know which one means “I’m very hungry and want to breast feed” and which one is telling me “I’m bored and looking for something to pre-occupy me” breast feeding.’’ She confidently says.
‘’With the first one, everything was new, from breastfeeding to bathing the baby to knowing what foods to eat and not eat that will affect both the baby and me. Then there were all kinds of people playing expert and telling me what to do and what not to do. Oh it was overwhelming!’’
She acknowledges proper planning as one way of tackling breastfeeding challenges. ‘’ I draw my schedule and know how many feeds the baby will have in a day.’’
Nevertheless, things can get out of hand at times, or even beyond you, especially leaking breast milk. I learn from her that the brain has configured specific times as breastfeeding times for mothers and that the milk will just flow no matter where you’re.
She vividly remembers of a time when such happened to her.
‘’There was this one time I forgot to carry breast pads soon after reporting back to work (first baby was about 3 months). So I’m going about my business when I begin to feel an unusual warmness only for me to reach into my jacket and it was milk leaking.’’
‘’Thank God I was wearing a full suit, hehe, reached out for tissue in my handbag real quick. Since then I never forget to carry breast pads. I even carry them just in case someone else might need them. With the second one like I said I’m a pro’’ she continues.
Joy is no doubt a successful career woman. She late last year exited mainstream media to focus on Communications & Digital Strategy. #BiiraOnline
Just about two months after she delivered her second baby, she had to travel abroad for work. Although she made plans even before she delivered, I am curious to know how she managed to pull through.
‘’I pumped milk and stored it in the freezer to take him through the days I was not going to be around and also got additional supplementary formula, in case the milk ran out in my absence. I also took the baby for regular paediatrician check-up to be sure all was fine with his health. Then off I went full of guilt. I’d have travelled with him but my schedule had long work hours’’
Speaking about pumping enough milk that would last while away, I am intrigued to know, from her experience, how can breastfeeding mothers boost their milk?
‘’Eating the right food has helped me boost breast milk.’’ She narrates
‘’Foods like green vegetables, avocado, white meat; fish and peanut are plenty on my daily menu. I also drink lots of porridge, ginger milk tea, fresh watermelons, apples as well as oranges.’’
‘’So I’d tell breast-feeding moms to monitor your baby’s growth through the foods you eat. A well-fed baby will add between 800 and 1100 grams every month. When my baby gets gas or is constipated I check my diet then adjust E.g. beans give me gas and the baby gets it too so I go easy on those.’’
Like she says, a well-fed baby will add between 800 and 1100 grams every month. This tremendous growth is an indicator that soon breastfeeding days will be over and time to ‘cut the supply’ is fast approaching.
Joy tells me that her first baby was very calm.
‘’I gave him breast milk exclusively for 7 months, and then started supplementing with formula. At this point we were gradually weaning him (introducing him to solid food) though I still breast fed him during the nights. When he turned one year old, he just stopped breast-feeding on his own.’’
As we wrap up the interview, Newton Kung'u, Joy’s husband has maintained a low profile. I am eager to find out how he has made breastfeeding a smooth experience for his celebrity wife.
‘’My husband is very committed with it.’’ She confesses.
‘’He will go out of his way for the babies. I remember with the first baby, I just never seemed to grasp the technique of burping the baby and he seemed to do it in seconds. So I’d breastfeed baby and hand him over to burp him when he was available.
‘’With the second one he has since learnt to change diapers and also enjoys bathing the baby once in a while. He does it all voluntarily except waking him up in the middle of the night’’