I’m a first time mom to a lovely little boy we so adore. Even before I got pregnant, even when I was still single, I somehow already resolved upon myself that I’m going to breastfeed. It wasn’t because of any prodding from anyone. I just knew that’s how I wanted to feed my baby. And then when finally when it was my time to be a mom-to-be, I learned that my Mom supports breastfeeding and strongly advises Moms to be to breastfeed their newborn. Being an officer from the Health Sector, just recently, her eyes were opened to the many benefits that breastfeeding gives to both Mommy and baby. I was not a breastfed baby, by the way. My Mom said she didn’t have any knowledge on the subject when she was a new Mom. She just listened to the advice of the elders. During those times, it was a question of what infant formula you are feeding your baby. That was the Status quo. And of course, she didn’t know any better. Oh, how she abhors what the milk companies did during her time.
Anyhow, I was on the right path, I have a supportive Mom advocating breastfeeding. I have a loving husband who also agreed with me at the onset that our baby will be breastfed. I read and researched a lot about breastfeeding. I even attended a breastfeeding class by L.A.T.C.H in Medical City. I was uber confident that I can pull it off. I rehearsed the latching techniques and feeding positions in my mind 24/7. I was super excited to breastfeed.
Then came D-day. Lyndel was born via emergency c-section so he wasn’t roomed in right away. I panicked because I was only confident and prepared to breastfeed after having a normal delivery. Having a c-section meant my baby won’t be roomed in with me right away. I feared that my milk let down won’t be stimulated. I’m so grateful that our pediatrician, Dra. Cristina Bernardo (The Medical City) is a Lactation Consultant. She was there when I gave birth and helped me with my first feedings. She also positively encouraged me and even applauded me for being so determined to breastfeed my baby.
The first two months were the hardest. As breastfeeding is a learning process, we both had to deal with our learning curve. Day in and day out, I had to best figure out how best to hold him in my arms so he will be comfy. We used a nursing pillow and even other pillows of all sizes just to make it work for the both of us. For Lyndel, he had to learn how to latch properly. Since he didn’t know any better yet, I would cry everytime he latched because it was so painful. My toes would curl or sometimes, I’d need to have a pillow or an object that I could kick to somehow ease the pain. We also dealt with nipple confusion. During his first weeks, there was time when I pumped and fed the expressed milk on a bottle. We did this because we were scared he might not be getting enough milk. This just led us to nipple confusion. It was really terrible. There was even a time when he didn’t want to feed from me; maybe because he felt that the milk letdown when feeding on the bottle was faster than when he fed with me. I sought help from L.A.T.C.H and thankfully, I had Bessie Campillo as my counselor. She has been very gracious with all my concerns and worries.
I went back to work five months ago. And I can say it hasn’t been the easiest. I have to balance working, meeting deadlines with pumping and night feeding. On days when I have to be on meetings, I always lug my pump bag with me and pump wherever I can. I have pumped in all sorts of places actually J At a client’s super immaculate cr, inside the car while on the way to meetings, at a corner during our Christmas party. All these made me more determined to express milk as often as I can.
Breastfeeding made me a responsible adult. I’ve become more conscious now of what I eat and drink as this interferes with my milk quality. I have also realized that I am a determined and persevering person. This learning can also be applied to other things – that with the right attitude and determination, you can really achieve whatever you want to achieve. The road may not be all rosy at the start but surely, you’ll find this overwhelming fulfillment in the end.
Please do read the other blogs of the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival Participants