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If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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Things I wished people told me about Breastfeeding

I honestly thought I’ve gotten this nailed by now since it’s my 2nd time doing so but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. I knew I wanted to give my daughter the best, and that includes feeding her breastmilk (list of benefits you can easily google). Previously I was an over supplied mom so that includes me getting engorgement and fevers a couple times a week, it was tough and it came to a point where I started to resented breastfeeding because of the pain and fear of developing mastitis.

I kid you not that it’s not an easy journey especially for some of us who don’t really have much support from our own spouse or family (older generation mostly FM their kids). They do not understand what we breastfeeding mothers go through just so we can provide our little ones with the best milk they can get. There are many mental reminders we have to set daily like having to feed/ pump on time or else we might get engorgement or risk our supply dropping, watch the kind of food we eat or drink, making sure we wear clothes that’s easy for the baby to access (goodbye long turtle neck dresses), wearing our breast pads to avoid embarrassing leaks, and the list goes on.

These are just some of the things I wished that someone told me much earlier to prepare me for what’s to come if I were to embark on this journey alone. A lot of things I’ve learned along the way thanks to experience (my 1st) and some researching (Google & YouTube is really helpful in certain situations but if in doubt always consult a doctor). Being in a foreign land and not really yet familiar with their support systems available, I went through tons of trials and errors before being where I am today. Though I’m not a pro and still learning from it every single day; let me share some of my tips with you. This might be useful for young moms out there who want to breastfeed as well and don’t know what to expect.

Note: In every country they do encourage mothers to breastfeed, unless the mother’s condition doesn’t allow her to do so, then do not fret. Remember, not breastfeeding doesn’t make you less of a mother. What matters is that you tried, though it’s encouraged to BF for at least 6 months; some mothers can’t (health/ work) or just aren’t meant for it (mental health/etc). So whatever the circumstances are, don’t let other dictate how motherhood should be for you :)

Gonna miss this milk drunk face

1. Lactating

Not everyone’s milk kicks in immediately after giving birth (natural or c-sec) and every birth is different as well. My first, I was immediately latching & producing more than enough immediately after delivering whereas my 2nd despite latching a few hours after delivering, my milk didn’t kick in till a week later so the hospital had to top up FM for lil penguin as she needed to remove the meconium (baby’s first poop, it’s sticky black goop) from her system. That fact hit me hard in the face because I was trying my best to “establish my supply” by latching often after delivering but ended up having to top up. So new mommies, don’t feel bad; sometimes it can’t be helped as certain things takes time. Never put your child’s life at risk just because of your stubbornness, remember FM is not poison it’s your backup so that your child doesn’t go dehydrated while your milk supply is slowly growing according to your child’s needs. Once your supply is stable, you can by all means stop using FM and fully breastfeed all the way.

2. Sore Nips

Seriously painful moments.. I remember clearly how painful it was with my 1st, it was super sore from the frequent latching and pumping that I wanted to just give up. In mom groups they’ll often tell you that it means your baby is latching wrongly. Let me tell you this, yes that can be one of the possible reasons but if the latch is correct and you are still experiencing some form of pain especially during the first 1-2 weeks after delivering then that is TOTALLY NORMAL. There’s nothing you can do until your nipples grows accustomed to the latching, trust me after that you will have iron nipples lol, in the meantime just keep them clean and dry after every latch. This is the first time our nipples are being used to feed a baby, obviously the skin around it is going to feel raw and painful so just check your latch and hang in there the pain will go away eventually. If the pain still persists you might want to check if your baby has a tongue/ lip tie that may be contributing to the latching pain.

It's normal to be obsessed with numbers but it isn't healthy, try your best to think happy thoughts despite the lack of sleep and horrible day you just had or treat yourself to that chocolate cake; who knows it just might be your milk booster. 

3. Managing supply

This one is really a trial and error moment for a lot of us, what works for others may not work for you so no one can tell you what’s right for you here. Food and time plays an important factor in our milk production, some foods may kill our supply while some foods may increase it. Just because you hear people saying cabbage kills their supply doesn’t mean you have to avoid it unless you have tried and proven it yourself. Because to some of us cabbage poses no threat to us lol, IF consumed in MODERATION. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods (sushi, etc), enjoy them occasionally in moderate quantity but make sure to be careful not to get food poisoning as that may leave you dehydrated and dry up your supply too. Drink tons of water daily (not sweet drinks). I still have my occasional caffeine fix so it keeps my cravings at bay!
There are many lactating teas/ cookies/ brownies out there, make sure to do your research before consuming them, always check the ingredients in case of allergy and remember moderation is the key. Best to avoid taking booster pills or mystery shakes if possible (*cough* MLM stuff*). 
For fully expressing moms (pumping) you must always follow and arrange your pumping schedule accordingly, missing sessions may result in your supply dropping or at risk of getting a clog which may lead to mastitis. If you know your work meeting is going to clash with your usual pump time, then pump once just before the meeting and immediately after once done. We should always be flexible and not expect the world to revolve around us, just because we are breastfeeding mothers doesn’t mean we deserve special treatment from our employers, understanding yes; but at work we are still employees like the rest of our colleagues. It’s good if they are but that’s not always the case so be mentality prepared for this, discussion is always the key.

4. Menstrual Cycle
You know how all those prenatal classes telling you the importance of breastfeeding and how it plays a role in family planning because it stops your period. Let me break the REAL news to you, breastfeeding alone doesn’t guarantee you being infertile until you stop. Some of us lactating women do get our periods after our lochia (after confinement month), though it may take some time to regulate back to our normal fixed menstrual cycle (it’s being messed up from our lactating hormones) but it means we are still at high risks of conceiving again right after giving birth. Doesn’t matter what circumstance because everyone is different but best to know this beforehand than to be caught off guard like I was. 
I was told by nurses that when I breastfeed I would enjoy period free months till I stop but that wasn’t the case for both my girls, my 1st was exclusive BF while my 2nd was mix feed and both ended up with same results; I started menstruating again after 40 days of giving birth. Some moms have conceived even without menstruating while breastfeeding (means they are ovulating at some point) so for proper family planning you might want to look at non oral contraceptive methods. 

5. Weight Loss

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of breastfeeding promotes weight loss, but let me break it down to you that if you gained extra 20-30kg during your pregnancy term and not carrying twins, don’t expect breastfeeding to make you lose all those extra weight. Unless it’s a medical conditioned that suddenly made you gained massive weight (some people have that), your only reason is giving in too much to your “pregnancy cravings aka eating for 2 excuse”.

Calories eaten vs calories used. Simple rule. And of course your metabolism rate.

We naturally gain weight from all the unused calories consumed everyday leading up to our current scale number so before you go on blaming pregnancy and breastfeeding made you gained weight, you might want to check on the choice of foods and drinks you are taking in. Not everyone of use have the time nor motivation to exercise but by being mindful with our intake alone helps a lot in our weight maintenance. Exercising is definitely one of the best ways to get back in shape quick, even if it’s daily 5-10mins of yoga/ light home workouts, it does make a difference over time if you are persistent. Get those yoga mats and sports bra out -comfy ones, not the kind that make you twist your arm just trying to get it off and some easy core exercises like planking to help tone those lose belly and muffin top!

 Using my Bravado Body Silk Seamless Yoga bra to keep my oppai in place

Here is my list of favorite workouts that I like to do for a full body session and you only need to do 2-3 sets of 30 reps (more if you are capable) within 10 mins.
  • Planking (60 sec/ 1 min)
  • High Boat to Low boat
  • Leg Rise
  • Squats (or lunges)
  • Star jump (for cardio)
  • Chair dips (or push ups)
All of the doesn’t require any gym equipment and can be easily done at home while your baby naps, don’t have to do all if you are not used to such workouts. Start slow and add in new exercises to your regime once you are comfortable with the previous workout. If you have back problems best to consult with a chiropractor or an orthopedist before doing any workouts. Going out for walks with your baby in the evening can also be a form of workout!

Back in KL I used to be lifting weights during my pregnancy (yes I’m abit hardcore) but kinda toned down and feeling lazier these days haha and i usually don’t like wearing sports bras too because they are just too tight fitting to the point it hurts but with my current breastfeeding friendly sports bra it doesn’t hurt my oppai at all and it keeps it in place while I work out. Think I’ll continue using this even after I’ve stop breastfeeding because it’s so comfy!

6. Clothes

Styling my Bravado Original Nursing bra with my sheer top

A lot of times I see moms dressing in really dull baggy clothes and usually it’s supposed to be “breastfeeding friendly” with all those boob pocket slots/ hidden zips picked out of the typical mom store shelves; I feel like crying because I once too was brainwashed to think that I needed those clothes for the sake of breastfeeding but here is a trick that I learned from breastfeeding 2 times (level up already yo!) is that you DO NOT NEED to sacrifice your cute wardrobe just to breastfeed. And I’m not asking you to modify your clothes either, of course the ones with buttons down front are one of the best options around and did you know you can wear your knit clothes or none button tops like normal? I was so prepared to say goodbye to my knits initially but winter is brutal and I need them so I found a method by wearing my breastfeeding bra and a low cut heat tech with my knit on top. So whenever I want to breastfeed I just pull my knit top up and heat tech neckline downwards just enough to feed the baby without exposing my belly or any other parts!!

Wouldn't have survived winter and spring without my knits, and i could still BF without flashing my oppai or other body parts

It works so well that I did this method with all my clothing and I still get to style myself like normal! For countries like Malaysia I understand it’s hot so back in KL I would wear a thin white/ nude color tank top inside underneath my sheer tops; Same concept just different clothing materials.

7. Bras

This one is super duper important because I know many moms out there who often prefer to go around bra-less while breastfeeding which I wouldn’t recommend because by the time you are done (let’s say 2 years) your oppai would probably be long enough to flip over your shoulders! I used to work in a lingerie line and maternity bras were also part of it at one point, it’s not just a marketing gimmick because in reality we do need bras to stop our oppai from sagging prematurely! Your oppai isn’t gifted with special powers to defy gravity after giving birth mamas so it’s good to equip yourself with the basic knowledge of bras, those who say they are not comfortable to begin with; here are a few reasons why:

Not wearing properly fitted bras, like according to your actual size (not too big nor too small) quite a number woman out there are wearing wrong sized bras to begin with as they have not had proper bra consultation before so it’s important to get yourself measured first before purchasing any bra (online/ offline) and never go along with “agak-agak”. Don’t ever skimp on bra quality as the fabric and workmanship plays an important supporting (pun intended lol “ bra support” geddit??? I’m so Lame haha) role. To the untrained eye a bra is a bra and all the same, but to a trained eye they can see the cup and material difference immediately if you put a high quality and a cheap bra next to each other.

Most maternity/ nursing bras I’ve seen out there are no doubt either too fancy or looks too “grandma-ish”, I prefer to keep it simple, light and comfortable as breastfeeding itself is already a tiring job (especially with struggling fussy baby), the last thing I need is having an ugly bra demotivating me, causing an itch or whatnot. 

That is why I love my Bravado Nursing Bra, the choice of material is certified to Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX® to ensure products are free from harmful substance. Bravado Nursing Bra is breathable, absorbs & dries sweat fast, comfortable and lightweight against your skin. 

First lingerie closet rule, always get comfortable & supportive Bra!

Though the traditional wired bras are needed for support, but there are many wire-free bra options out there these days designed to support your oppai in a more comfortable manner, I seriously can’t remember when was the last time I wore any wired bras after discovering the wonders of wire-free bras lol.

Seriously once you go wireless, you’ll never go back.

And to be honest, I like how Bravado Body Silk Seamless series feels luxuriously soft against my skin (made from 91% nylon, 9% spandex/elastane) and I kid you not aside from my normal nursing bras, even my current workout nursing bras are seamless as well. 

I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found out of Bravado Body Silk Seamless Yoga nursing bras, I repeat SEAMLESS GYM + NURSING BRAS!! 

Snagged a couple of them with a heartbeat, not only it’s soft, it’s made with “Silver Breeze” technology as well so that my oppai region stays odor free from all the sweating. 

Interestingly that, each of my Bravado Nursing Bra came with a “Bra Conversion Kit” so i can convert my nursing bra to a “regular bra” once i’ve decided that i’m done with my nursing journey. Boo yah! Killed 2 birds with 1 stone with this purchase, don’t need to shop for new bras after this; can continue using my Bravado bras. That’s seriously a genius concept.

So glad that I found them, so now I’m sharing with other breastfeeding mommies out there. Remember that breastfeeding journey isn’t forever so why not make it a memorable one by living your life as it is meant to be. Do not downgrade yourself because of BF, go ahead wear nice clothes (except 1 piece long turtle neck dresses la, that one impossible to search for oppai unless strip naked lol), workout and feel good because you deserve it mamas!

Own your breastfeeding journey.

If you are interested to get these Bravado bras, you can purchase them from Babyland SS2 or Button & Wheel.

They have sizes from XS up to XL, i'm usually a 34B so i could fit into Bravado size S comfortably. You can refer to Bravado Size chart to measure your Bravado size if you are unsure of your size.
For more information regarding the Bravado Nursing Bra, you can visit to their official website at https://www.bravadodesigns.com/

With the end of this post, it officially marks the 7 month of my breastfeeding journey. Not going to lie that it wasn't an easy journey and many times i've considered giving up but guess my laziness to wash bottles and pump everyday was a good motivation in a way. My initial goal was 3 months, and then it increased to 6 months which i never expected to reach because it felt so far away and look where we are now lol. Let's see if i can keep this up till 12 months, gonna keep my fingers crossed for this one because my menstrual cycle has recently regulated so it's really tiring for me to keep up with lil penguin's demands. If i do stop tomorrow, at least i know that i've persevered this far for the sake of my baby :)

So if you feel like giving up halfway, ask yourself whether you want to wash bottles and pumps everyday lol. Joking!

Honestly, from one mama to another anyway is fine as long the baby is full and happy, cheers and Happy Mother's Day!

Yours Truly,

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