One thing I am happy to tell you is that I am a breastfeeding mom. I have been breastfeeding all my three girls for 8 years now. If you were to ask me if it was difficult doing it for 8 straight years, yes I had my challenges but I was able to do it and I became committed to do it for my children. When I became pregnant with my eldest I never had the slightest idea how to do it. It was one of the things my mother told me before she passed away. She said I have to breastfeed for at least a year or maximum of 2 years if I can.My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and died 2 weeks before I gave birth to my eldest.
At first it was so awkward doing it in front of others. I was so private that I wanted to feed most of the time in my room. I was even shy doing it in front of my family members. It was tough when I had to go out with my baby. I always had a jacket or shawl or a big cloth diaper to cover myself whenever I had to feed.I always felt naked doing it. I think during my time, there wasn’t much noise about breastfeeding except for the usual milk commercial afterwards saying “breastfeeding is still best for babies.” Also, there weren’t any breastfeeding centers in malls. Those times I dreaded shopping. One time,I had to run to a loo to change my daughter’s nappy in a local mall, I was even asked not to do it in front of everyone. The janitor even had me wash my daughter were she was washing her mops. Do you believe that? I couldn’t argue with her because I was holding my kid who was already uncomfortable with her soiled diaper. That time, that mall did not have changing tables. I don’t really go out that often, but if I do its usually with my in-laws and when I had to feed in the middle of shopping I had to sit in a discreet place and feed. I’m just glad now that it’s entirely different these days for new moms out there.
With my experience feeding my girls, my first year feeding them is usually the easiest. I ate as much as I can but avoided a lot of things that I might pass on to my kids.The good thing about breastfeeding is the bonding I made with all my kids. Aside from the usual health benefits the children received from breastfeeding, my husband and I computed how much we saved from not buying formula milk just for 2 kids in 6 years.It was roughly P576,000 – more than half a million!! We have not accounted our third baby whom I am still feeding up to now! Another thing I really love about breastfeeding is that there’s no spoilage. During my time, those electric breast pumps that really work were so expensive. I could not afford them. I had one electric pump (cheap one) and one manual but I cannot make it work so I hardly store milk. It’s a good thing I was home most of the time. I have to give credit to my mother-in-law who was so patient teaching me what to eat and help me especially during my first time to have a child. I have also rediscovered the joys of cooking malunggay in so many ways. And also I think what made me lactate more is having fresh fish our meals during my trips to my husband’s province.
There is this certain Zen in breastfeeding. I’ve learned that I should calm myself first before breastfeeding. In my 8 years of feeding, I’ve had more patience in motherhood than I can imagine, and I don’t know if I will be that patient if I was not breastfeeding. Did I mention that my children are not sickly? Of course there’s the occasional colds and cough but nothing more serious than that. When my kids get sick during their infant years, they tend to feed more. I read in some book that breast milk has some analgesic properties. I’m not saying it should be the only cure, but when I’m breastfeeding my sick child, I feel that she gets better, faster.One thing though is that a breastfeeding mom should always nourish herself with the right meals, right supplements and of course plenty of rest if your time allows it. I also think, family support is important, especially from the spouse. It’s a good thing my husband and my in-laws are big believers of breastfeeding.
My girls will grow up and one day I will tell them the same thing my mother told me. If they will become mothers, they should also embrace breastfeeding.