“Don’t cry over spilt milk”
Anyone who has had the privilege of being a breastfeeding mum can totally relate to the pain of spending what seems like an eternity pumping milk for our precious little ones – only to spill that amount of milk later on.
But what if your milk supply is insufficient to keep up with your baby’s feeds despite spending hours hooked up to the breast pump or having your little one latch on you?
There are many remedies to help breastfeeding mums to increase their milk supply, from power pumping to persevering with latching sessions. But one of the top favourite remedies is this: consuming lactation bakes which range from cookies, muffins and even brownies!
The secret behind these lactation bakes lies in the lactogenic ingredients such as rolled oats and brewers yeast that are known to be “milk boosters” – and nobody does this better than Joanna Goy, founder of Singapore Lactation Bakes (SLB) and mum to Jolinda (8), Jophia (5) and Jorissa (3).
Being a low-supply mum herself, Joanna struggled to keep up with her Jolinda’s milk feeds and agonised over the fear of a further dip to her supply. When Jophia was born, she found herself in the same situation – only this time around, she learnt about lactation cookies and gave them a try. Seeing how her yield turned around for the better, she was then inspired to share the benefits of these lactation bakes with fellow nursing mums, which then marked the start of SLB.
Here, Joanna shares the ups and downs of her journey as a “mumpreneur by day, mother by night”, along with some tips to help fellow breastfeeding mums work towards a successful journey of nourishing their little ones for as long as possible.
What’s the story behind Singapore Lactation Bakes (SLB)?
SLB was started because I wanted to solve an essential problem for mummies in their journey of motherhood, starting with breastfeeding.
When I first became a mum, I suffered from postpartum depression because my first baby (Jolinda) was not able to latch on successfully. The guilt of not being able to provide for my child caused me immense stress, which led to the inability to breastfeed for more than 9 months before I had to give up.
So, with my second baby (Jophia), I took to reading intensively about the production of breastmilk in new mothers. I realised that my diet had some missing nutrients, so I decided to create my own lactation bakes to include these elements. Amazingly, within a week my body started to show results and I was able to breastfeed Jophia with excess milk to spare.
After my maternity leave, I went back to my job as a banker but would find myself thinking about my own experience and wondered what other new mummies might be going through in their motherhood journey.
I spoke to some of them and realised that most mothers were facing the same issue as me. Over the course of 2 years, I’ve experimented with the key ingredients to make delicious lactation bakes and sent them to mothers all over Singapore. SLB’s reputation as an effective and tasty lactation bakes grew and so I left my high-paying job as a banker to dedicate my life towards this cause of helping new mummies.
Here at SLB, our company motto is: “Mummies first and Profits second”. We believe in going the full distance for mummies, so we’ve made our business to be more than just lactation bakes.
Besides treating themselves to lactation bakes like cookies and muffins, what other advice would you give to breastfeeding mummies who are facing low milk supply?
First of all, get into the right position. A good latch will ensure that your milk gets from your breast to your baby efficiently and in a pain-free way. Your pain and baby’s lack of swallowing indicates a problem and the first suspect is the latch or position.
Secondly, go hands-on. Encourage milk let-down and flow by applying warmth to your breasts, shoulders and upper back before nursing. Breast massage and compressions definitely help.
Using a good pump helps to “empty your breasts” completely, sending signals to your body for more milk production after each feeding. However. do note that you cannot “empty your breast” completely as your breast is constantly producing milk. Pumping in between feeds as often as you can help to build up your supply even more.
Remember to also stay hydrated! Keep a bottle of water near you and drink while your baby does. A warm cup of lactation tea will help you relax and so you’ll produce even more milk, which makes for more pleasant and effective nursing sessions.
Last of all, do not get stressed up. Rest, rest and rest. Having your partner take care of the baby for a few hours and taking a good nap works wonders. Stress is the No. 1 Milk Killer.
Apart from low milk supply, what’s the most common issue that breastfeeding mums struggle with and how can they overcome this?
Sore nipples are a frequent complaint of many mothers.
It is common to feel some discomfort when the baby first latches on, especially in the first days after birth before the milk kicks in. This type of soreness will usually ease up after the first few sucks, especially once the milk lets down and flows freely.
Nipple soreness usually begins during the first few days of nursing, peaks on the fourth or fifth day, and then ease off each day after that. Soreness should lessen greatly on days 7-10, and by the time the baby is 2 weeks old, nursing should be pain-free.
For breastfeeding to be comfortable, your baby needs to have the entire nipple and part of the breast in his mouth, and the nipple needs to be near the back of her mouth where the palate is soft. This good latch is more likely to happen if the baby latches on with his head tipped back so that his/her chin is pressed into mum’s breast and his/her nose is away from the breast.
Of course, every baby and every breast is a little different, so you may need to adjust the positioning to find what works best for both of you.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in juggling motherhood and Singapore Lactation Bakes (SLB)?
I am a daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, mother and the founder of Singapore Lactation Bakes. It is not easy to juggle these roles simultaneously especially when there’s a need to choose between the kids or work.
I think the biggest challenge is to deal with “the guilt”. As you know, it’s always a struggle to strike a balance between the two.
In a nutshell, I can only say it is never easy or even possible to find the perfect balance. I am still trying to master it all, as life is all about learning and improving. We can only get better at what we are doing. Just keep striving and smiling!
What’s your parenting style and does it differ with each of your kids?
I believe I’m somewhat in between a tiger mum and a chill mum as I believe in allowing my children to self-learn and explore while I guide them whenever they need me. This gives them the freedom to learn whilst I keep guard and ensure that they’ll always have mummy’s arms wide open for them to run back to.
To me, having children is all about striking a balance in everything we do.
What are some of your key values or beliefs that you have successfully applied to the growth of Singapore Lactation Bakes and the upbringing of your kids?
I think growing up in a hawker environment has given me the courage to stay strong.
I had to help out in my parents’ stall from dawn to dusk in a hot environment, meeting all kinds of people, which moulded me to become a strong individual. Having resilience and grit is very important in everything you do, and with a little dose of faith, we can do wonders!
What’s the most fulfilling thing you have experienced as a parent?
Motherhood is the most rewarding job on earth, one where I find the greatest satisfaction.
Every day, when I open my eyes, my daughters greet me with a bright smile and this fills me with love and the courage to be the best mother that I can be. They hug me and tell me how much they love me, and I am instantly rewarded. Their love and optimism give me the strength to strive on when feel I defeated.
Complete this sentence: Life as a mumpreneur is…
All about supporting and inspiring other women on the path of turning passion into a business. We struggle, we juggle, we balance and we empower.
What advice would you give to the mums who are contemplating leaving their full-time job to start their own business?
It might seem like a scary decision to make at first, leaving something you are comfortable with to enter a world filled with wonder and mysterious roller coasters.
But I urge all women out there to take the leap of faith. Find within you the true strength and resilience to drive that passion. Dig deep, look hard and give yourself that chance to push ahead.
A big thank you from Wonder Years to Joanna for sharing her journey in helping mums work their way through a successful breastfeeding journey!
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