Mother’s Milk (blog created November 25, 2007)
I was a young girl when I first saw our helper breastfeed her baby boy. Shocked by the exposed mammary gland, I tried to figure out what she was doing. Oh, feeding her baby boy! I did not know that those two frontal bumps had milk in them. The baby boy fell asleep after the feeding that signaled his mother to put him down and go back to work.
Fourth year high school, graduating, we are required to submit a term paper. As I was browsing through magazines in our library to look for a topic that interests me, an article in bold letters struck me, it said, “BREASTFEEDING: BEST FOR BABIES”. I forgot what magazine that was but surely I found my topic for our term paper. I researched on the topic and finally got to finish my paper in time. My English teacher then asked us to defend our topic. She asked me about the benefits of breastfeeding which I quickly answered. Her final question was, ” If you have a baby of your own in the future, would you breastfeed then?” Without batting an eyelash I answered, “Of course!”. Then she followed it up with, “What if you have to work, how will be able to feed your baby?”. “If I have the chance to stop working for a year then I would do that to breastfeed my baby”, was my reply. She gave me a smile and gracious grade at that.
Fast forward, pregnant with my baby boy. My husband and I attended a breastfeeding seminar at Asian Hospital. There we learned how it really works. We were coached and taught by the wonderful breastfeeding advocates who later became very good friends. It was my goal to really breastfeed my baby.
I gave birth a few months after and tried to breastfeed him in the nursery. I would go down every 2 or 4 hours and try to feed him. Though I found out later that the nurses gave the babies formula in the nursery that is why whenever I try to nurse him, he does not seem interested. But still I tried as per the nurses’s instruction. We went home that afternoon and the baby was crying relentessly, I gave him my breast but he was pushing it away. I tried for a few minutes still the same response. I felt frustrated and cried because I felt he was rejecting me. I asked the helper to buy formula because he would not stop crying. I was so disappointed with myself and could not stop crying. I tried to breastfeed him for 2 to 3 months only combined with formula feeding. Until I finally gave up and let the formula do the feeding.
I was so envious of mothers who breastfed their babies for a long time. My sister in law who breastfed all her babies until they were a year old, a friend who breastfed until 3 years old (gosh) and my best friend who did it for 2 years i think. I secretly wished I did the same. Though I knew it was the best food for babies, I failed to give my son the best.
Three and a half years later, I became pregnant again. This time i vowed to give it my best in feeding my baby. I had to undergo a C-section this time because of fetal distress. I remember asking for my baby girl to be roomed-in just after a day. I wanted to do things right this time. The pediatrician asked me if I really wanted her to be roomed in despite my stitches and I said yes. So there she was, my baby girl,so tiny. I tried to latch her on and feed her. And that continued until today.
She is almost 14 months now and still won’t let go of me. Slowly I am trying to wean her from my breast. I could still remember the engorgement I had when the milk was coming in. I felt like my breast would explode because of the production of milk. There were times I could not breathe at night because they feel so tight and painful. Plenty of times I told my husband, I am giving up because of the pain but still I did not. Teething is the most difficult time. I thought all the nerves of my body connived to cause pain that I found myself crying like a little girl. But all those pain and tears were part of it. Now, she is very strong, active, talkative, and smart girl. She may be a bit tiny, I don’t know if its because she is breastfed or she just got her mom’s genes… But she is healthy and I will surely miss our bonding moment together.