I've been meaning to write and share about my breastfeeding journey, so to all the moms who have been asking, this is all for you :)
While I was still pregnant with Nala, my husband and I decided that I will exclusively breastfeed her for at least a year. I deliberately asked my husband if he’s 100% in full support of this and he agreed with me. We had a game plan, he’ll make sure he will "shield" me from those who will have not so nice comments and opinions about breastfeeding. Especially during the first few days when the struggle is at its realest. He’ll drive them away nicely the moment they start uttering words that goes something like—- formula milk is way easier than all the struggles you’ll have to endure, or your baby is not getting enough milk why not use the alternative for an easier life? I'm sure they mean well but these comments are somehow disheartening, discouraging and the ones that definitely won’t help during the first few days of this journey you and your child are about to take.
I breastfed my first born Nathan for about a couple of weeks before he turned a month old. The doctors said I overworked myself too much or in filipino term, “nabinat”. I started passing blood clots and I had to take medications to stop the bleeding which didn’t allow me to breastfeed anymore.
10 years later, the campaign that says breast is best really caught my attention and awareness so I decided I'll do everything I can to breastfeed Nala.
The first few days was the HARDEST. Putting it in all caps does not even come close to emphasising how hard it was. Mending a C-section, could barely walk and get up, hardly no sleep and the pains of swollen, engorged breasts not to mention sore nipples from unli-latching. I tell you, Nothing compares to the pain of wounded nipples. I am not trying to discourage you by telling you this but really, the pain is real. That toe curling, breath holding, teeth clenching pain when your baby latches onto your wounded sore nipples. I still get goosebumps just by imagining how it felt. And no matter how painful you know it will be, you still give your sore beat up nipples to your baby because she needs to feed. You don’t hesitate. You anticipate the pain and you do it all over again.
I had baby blues days after giving birth. And I noticed it would happen every time I feed Nala. As soon as she latches and starts sucking, I instantly feel sad, it feels like happiness is being sucked out of me. I googled it and saw that there are actually 3 things a mom can feel whenever she connects with her baby, first is the feeling of love, you feel so inlove with your baby and everyone around you. Second is the feeling of longing, you want to be touched, held, embraced, appreciated. Third is melancholy, the feeling of sadness and emptiness that creeps in whenever you breastfeed. I think I got the latter. Thanks to google I then knew that its a normal feeling and that eventually it’ll come to pass.
Nala has been to three countries to date, we went to Singapore when she was about 6 months old, and then Phuket during the holy week and USA last summer for our family trip :) One of the reasons why I was confident in taking all those trips with her was because she was a 100% breastfed and I didn't have to worry about bringing milk, feeding bottles, cleaning materials, sterilisers and etc.. I, the lone provider of milk was with her all the time. :) She was also just starting to eat solid food and it was easy to find food where we went.
10 months and I am still breastfeeding my little girl and I thank God for that. And since I am a working mom, she’s used to feeding breastmilk from the bottle as early as 2 months. What I did was when she was about a month old, I would pump milk and feed her using a bottle once a day everyday so that she won’t get confused, thankfully it worked. She’s comfortable feeding from the bottle and latches whenever I come home.
When it comes to increasing milk supply which is something I am often asked about, I took and ate everything that says “will help increase milk supply”. Everything. From Malunggay soup, malunggay capsules ( I used Natalac) , coffee with Malunggay (Mother Nurture), lactation treats (milking bombs is my favorite!)... Everything. And I guess the collective powers of all those helped increase and maintain my milk supply. More than that I think its putting yourself in a happy disposition and filling your days with positivity also helps increase your milk supply. Stress is the number 1 enemy of breastfeeding, surround yourself with positivity keeping in mind that you are giving the almost perfect food that your body provides for your child. I also religiously pump every 4 or 6 hours whenever I am at work.
Nala is a year old now, my milk has slowly stopped after my trip to Europe with my husband whom I have neglected for the past year since our daughter was born. It was a bitter sweet ending for me, I couldn't stop myself from crying the moment I realized that Nala will no longer want my breasts when I come back from our trip. But then I was happy I was able to exclusively provide her milk for 1 whole year which was not an easy feat especially for a working mom like me.
Breastfeeding my baby is truly a wonderful journey. Aside from being able to give my baby the the best there is, it's the bond we both share is what I treasure the most. The way she looks at me and smiles happily while she feeds, that look of satisfaction only you can provide.
It is truly one of the most beautiful miracles of life, one of God’s amazing gifts to mothers. Though it was one of the hardest things I had to go through, I would gladly without a doubt do it all over again.
I salute all moms who have devoted their lives into giving the best for their children. at the same time I also believe that to each his own. We all have different stories as mothers but one thing we can all agree on, we all want what's best for our children.
Cheers to this lifelong journey we call motherhood!!!