I decided I’d breastfeed long before I got pregnant. I think it’s primarily because of effective advertising. The people behind it succeeded in making sure people will remember the message like a song: “Breast milk is best for babies up to 2 years.” Additionally, I’ve seen campaigns emphasizing how our babies are not cows so they should be feeding on breast milk.
I’m writing about breastfeeding because I saw on Twitter that August is National Breastfeeding Month, and August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week. I want to share my experience without simply echoing what’s already common knowledge for everyone.
ABOUT MY MILK PRODUCTION
I’m very thankful I have a good amount of breast milk. I’m not sure if it’s just my body or I guess the Natalac capsules I’m taking is doing a great job. I’ve been prescribed by my mother-in-law who’s also an OB-GYN to take this food supplement since I was six months pregnant, and I still do until now. If you’re still in your pregnancy stage or currently breastfeeding your little one, I suggest to ask your doctor about Natalac if you want to try it.
When you have a good amount of breast milk, it’s important to empty your breasts. A nurse warned me about this, but I didn’t expect to actually experience it. On the fourth night after giving birth, I woke up in the middle of the night because of chills. It was scary and I did panic. Apparently, it’s because I have so much milk. My daughter wasn’t with me yet, hasn’t learned to latch correctly, and I haven’t pumped. Oversupply, if not dealt with immediately, can lead to a condition called mastitis.
HOW I LEARNED TO BREASTFEED
We most definitely didn’t want my daughter to be confined in the hospital after she was born but at least one advantage was that I was able to get a 7-day crash course from the nurses on the basics and necessary things to do in taking care of my baby. My daughter was not allowed to room in with me. I got discharged ahead of her, so I just visited her at the nursery to feed her. The nurses and resident doctor guided me on how to breastfeed. They also gave me tips on how to pump and store milk. Most women will get these information from their moms, mom friends, or the Internet. It was convenient and helpful that I got instruction from health professionals. I even think hospitals should actually have breastfeeding education programs for first time moms before they get discharged. Perhaps some hospitals are already doing it. That would be great!
MY BREASTFEEDING LIFESTYLE
Not only is breastfeeding cost efficient, it’s travel friendly. I remember when my younger brothers were still babies, we would bring bottles and portioned formula milk. I think it’s pretty bulky to pack and bring. Our daughter goes wherever my husband and I go, and we’re kind of always on-the-go. It’s convenient to not have to do the extra step of sterilizing bottles, packing up, making sure there’s enough portioned milk. I just strike anywhere! I’m not even the type to get shy. I believe breastfeeding is natural and to normalize it, moms should have the freedom to do it without being embarrassed.
I can’t talk much about pumping milk because I only did it when my daughter was still in the hospital and when I mixed it with her solid food on her 6th month. I first tried hand express after I gave birth, because we haven’t bought a pump yet. What we got is a Looney Tunes Manual Pump, the type that was recommended by the nurse at the hospital. Since I’m a stay-at-home mom and we’re practically together 24/7, my daughter just feeds directly.
WHAT I WEAR AS A BREASTFEEDING MOM
What I spend on are breast pads which I buy from Lazada. Baby Moby Disposable Breastpads is extra absorbent. It costs me Php 6.50 per piece. In terms of clothing, I’ve used maternity bras and slim breastfeeding tank top with built-in maternity bra. However, right now I’ve switched to wearing tubes instead. It’s much cooler to wear and easier to use for breastfeeding. Wearing tube was actually a suggestion of a mom friend, but I only tried it just recently. I found tubes costing Php 60 per piece. I used breastfeeding cover before but it became more of a hassle for me. It’s an extra object to pack and I have to wear it before I can feed an already crying and impatient baby. Plus, my daughter pushes the cover away so I may get exposed. I tried the suggestion of my sister-in-law to just wear two layers of clothing, which is really more efficient for me. There are a lot of breastfeeding clothes brands which have really stylish and nice designs. I bought a few myself and received some as gifts. But I never got a hang of it. I end up just lifting the shirt because it’s faster.
With all the talk about breastfeeding, I know moms can’t help but feel pressured if they don’t have enough milk. I don’t think it’s right to make moms feel guilty if they can’t breastfeed, if they choose not to, or if they choose to mix feed. Our generation grew up on formula milk and I think we turned out fine. Breastfeeding campaigns are there to inform and encourage moms to do it. At the end of the day, what’s important is what will be good for your baby’s health and what works for you. Nonetheless, I really, really hope all moms are able to breastfeed and will choose to do so. Happy national breastfeeding month!