“Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 – Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”
I wish I could say that my son has been purely breastfed since birth, that he has a virgin gut, that I have never let him taste formula milk but I can’t. My son was born S.G.A (small for gestational age) and was admitted to the N.I.C.U (neonatal intensive care unit) to be treated for hypoglycemia and hypothermia. We had incompatible blood and he developed jaundice. Looking back, I should have stepped in, but that was a year ago. After four long labor days at home and a painful natural birth, my son was shivering and I cannot produce milk (or so I thought) and feeling like a failure, our neonatologist explained why we have to give our son formula milk while I wept ( I have planned on breastfeeding before I even planned on getting married or having children) and my husband was trying to talk the doctor out of giving our baby formula milk (which was never in the birth plan) but we were told that newborns are expected to lose weight the first two weeks of life and my too small son has no other choice but to feed on formula because I had no milk.
Now that I can think coherently, I traced most of the things went wrong started after I gave birth. The delivery room was awfully cold that I was shivering after I gave birth. My son was wrapped in a warm blanket before being given to me for him to latch on/to do kangaroo care or what is known in the Philippines as “Unang Yakap” (read more on Unang Yakap here: http://unangyakap.doh.gov.ph/enc.html ). I tried to feed him but nothing prepared me for that first moment of nursing. I was exhausted and I couldn’t see my son’s mouth nor did anyone said anything whether he is latched on or if what I was doing was right. I wish I had someone knowledgeable and not sleep deprived for four days who can let me know what I’m doing wrong and what I can do right (I am not pointing fingers here. It’s just that it would have been better if a lactation consultant was with me at the time).
My tiny son was constantly being taken from me and put on the warmer to be measured, taken vital signs every 3- 5 minutes,etc. I should have spent more time holding him. I should have asked that they turn off the aircon because it was not only I, an adult,who was shivering but also my little boy who was so brand new to this world who needed warmth and his mommy. I could have given him the warmth he needed, he would not have had hypothermia, he would not have had chills and cause his blood sugar to drop. I could have started breastfeeding earlier, I could have tried more. I should have..I could have…
Despite the circumstances, I still pushed for breastfeeding. I almost never left the NICU. I would feed my son for almost an hour (I did not see any milk and proceeded to think that I did not have any milk, not even colostrum which is absurd but logical to my crazy mind at the time), then let the nurse or my husband or my mom give him the formula. Yes my nipples hurt, my episiotomy hurts even worse (even more so when I walk several halls from my room to the NICU every two hours) but I was determined to breastfeed. Because he was small, it was important that we keep on a schedule: feed every two hours without fail. By then, I had the help of several lactation consultants. I learned that I really wouldn’t have a lot of milk but that whatever I might have, had already been sucked by my baby. I was doubtful of course. I should have believed them. Breastmilk does not overflow, drip from your boobs and spurt everywhere to be enough. The body produces only what my baby needs. It’s one of the things that make it special. In my case, my transition milk came by Monday night. We were home by then(I never fed my son formula since we left the hospital by Sunday).
Are you still there? Please keep on reading. We’re going to the good part!
My son never lost weight and although he has never been a chubby baby and his weight gain is slow, he is very strong and healthy. He reaches all his milestones on time. Some even ahead of time. He is the love of our lives. If I love him so much, why would I give him less than what’s best? Here are my reasons for being so keen on breastfeeding and why, a year later, I am still breastfeeding:
- The bond it creates. When motherhood comes to my mind, even when I was little (I was mixed fed), I would think of a mother holding or nursing her baby. A bottle was just never in the picture when I imagined it. The feeling of being able to provide food, love, comfort and the feeling of security to our child through something which God has so generously and wonderfully designed only for us, mothers, to do–that alone is priceless.
- Our body produces oxytocin when we breastfeed which most of us know is the happy hormone! It makes us happy! Obviously, it decreases the possibility of post partum depression. And the bonus part: this hormone also helps the uterus return back to its normal size (who doesn’t want a normal sized uterus after having it stretched for 9 months and having a seemingly indisposable pregnancy pouch?). Not bad,eh?
- Studies have shown that mothers who breastfeed have lower risk of having breast and ovarian cancer. They also decrease their chances of cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure and even high cholesterol! Baby is healthy, mom has lower risk in so many diseases! Win-win!!
- Studies have proven that breastfed babies are less likely to have diarrhea and pneumonia. Unlike formula, breastmilk does not need bottles and water which can be easily contaminated. In fact, breastmilk is complete nutrition for our little ones. No need to give water because 88% of breastmilk is water. In formula feeding, one wrong move or accidental contamination and the baby gets sick. I remember my college professor who was a breastfeeding advocate, would ask during health teachings, “How old are you? In your ___years of existence, nakakita ka na ba ng utong na nilalangaw o nahulog sa lupa?” I think that pretty much makes the entire point.
- Nursing mothers need extra 500 calories per day because the food we eat, the baby also eats! In fact, we need to eat more than pregnant mothers do (Pregnant: plus 300 calories unless otherwise advised by doctor) . Who does not love eating more? The best part? It is SO easy to lose weight! In fact, I have lost my pregnancy weight in less than two months just breastfeeding (I am not a fan of exercise and diet to be honest). I fit into my pre-pregnancy bikinis four months after giving birth. If that is not enough motivation for vain moms(not that I am. Lol!), I don’t know what is.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, obesity and a long list of other diseases (read more here: http://www.examiner.com/article/55-illnesses-that-breastfeeding-helps-prevent-or-minimize). Studies show they perform better on intelligence tests too!
- Enteromammary pathway! According to La Leche League International, Whatever bacteria or viruses we have been exposed to or are already immune to, we develop antibodies for it that we transfer via breastmilk. Same goes with our babies. If my baby becomes exposed to a bacteria or virus, he will pass it on to me when he feeds. My immune system will create antibodies for it and will be in my milk so the next time my son feeds, he will have antibodies for it as well. Amazing? Oh yeah! No formula milk can do that! God designed breastmilk so perfectly that babies’ immature immune system will have the best fighting chance to survive and prevent various diseases! So yes, moms with cough and colds can breastfeed (although it is better if you wear a mask–which I do not do) because you have already exposed your baby to the bacteria or virus before your illness even presented itself. Your breastmilk can give the baby better fighting chance to not get sick than stopping breastfeeding which by now, you probably have learned, will be useless.
Now, of course there are times that your baby will get sick (mine did) but if he was not breastfed, it could be worse. Remember, breastmilk is a child’s first immunization. My son got cough and colds during flu season but unlike all the other babies who saw the doctor with the same problem, he did not have fever. He was also in a better disposition than the other babies and our (new) breastfeeding advocate pediatrician attributed this to the fact that he is breastfed.
- One of the great things I love about breastmilk is that it provides complete nutrition at zero cost. The nutritional content of breastmilk is so complete that it provides everything a growing baby could ever need and it changes its nutritional content over time depending on our babies’ nutritional needs! How cool is that?! God made it so perfect and the best part is–it’s free!!!
The only hindrances I have found are the availability of formula and the mentality that “it’s OKAY to give formula” because IT IS NOT. When they say formula is more convenient and complete, I hope the person saying that is just kidding. I was sent milk samples weeks prior to giving birth and at first I was glad I did not have to purchase formula IF I want to mix feed. Which I don’t. But. Oh. Hey, it’s available and for now, it’s free. Then I read the ingredients (as I always do before I eat something when I was pregnant) and I was appalled to see the top ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, vegetable oil! I could go on and on but this entry is long enough as it is. I mean, just imagine eating processed food everyday. I tried to taste formula milk just so I know the taste and I almost threw up! Now imagine a newborn stomach taking that in,depending on it for nutrition and growth. What a sad, sad thought.
Also, just because a person is a doctor or nurse that does not make him/her a breastfeeding expert. My take on this is that, all medical personnels must be given extra training and education on breastfeeding if we really want the medical field to be a RELIABLE source of support. Look at our former neonatologist, right? Let’s not go too far. I mean, just look at me, a non practicing registered nurse. I should have known better too!
Some may reason out, I do not have enough milk. That is just a misconception! I have been there. Send me a message so we can talk more about it. My advice? Do not supplement on formula. If I can make a do-over, I would not have had formula fed my son ever. Another advice is: Demand to be close to him. It is important that you try to feed him/make him latch on as soon as he is born. The earlier the better! He can stimulate milk production.
Some say, they are working moms and cannot breastfeed. Guess what?! You are on maternity leave so while you are on that leave, you have no excuse not to breastfeed. Talk to your human resources staff about breastfeeding law (read more here:http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2010/ra_10028_2010.html). You should be able to pump at work. I can only imagine how hard it must be BUT there are so many moms who did it and are still doing it. It just takes a lot of will power and extra effort.
Some reason out, they delivered via Cesarean Section. That is not an excuse. I can only imagine how much it hurts but you can still do it. So many moms have been there and they did it! You can too! Others reason out, it’s too burdensome. Believe me, I’ve been there (and all other exclusively bf mommas too!). I was at a certain point when I was wondering why I was still alive after being sleepless for a few months and yet, I held on and survived. My son had colic and reflux and had to be fed upright for 5 1/2 months . Those 5 1/2 months, I fed every two hours and dozed off in a sitting position. Lying down is an almost forgotten experience for me which,if it ever occurred, never lasted more than 2 hours. But I kept on going because I know I am giving God’s best to my son.
The thought that God made me for this, that millions of women since the biblical times have been breastfeeding–the way God intended babies to be fed, kept me strong. It’s a blessing to have a supportive husband too (a strong support system is a must!). And with God’s grace, I was able to make it. A day at a time. It is hard but not impossible. Giving up on our babies for convenience should not be an option. We are parents for a reason. Part of being a parent is choosing what is best for our child. Breastmilk is the best. I am telling you–EVERYONE AND ANYONE CAN BREASTFEED. I did it. You can too! It entails only a mother’s commitment, not capability (your capability is a given fact! You are enough!).
If you have a treasure, wouldn’t you share it with your child? What if I tell you that your treasure right now is available, at no cost, just waiting to be given to your baby who cannot speak for himself what he truly needs? I implore you. Please. Please. Please. Give your liquid gold to the one it was created for–your baby.
I am Diane Tolentino, a mother of a small for gestational age baby with lip tie. I have been breastfeeding for 12 months and one week as of writing this. What seemed to be one of the hardest struggles of my life has turned out one of the most beautiful. It is worth it. My child is worth it. Your child is worth it.
For Filipina breastfeeding moms and moms-to-be, you do not have to go through this alone. I encourage you to join Breastfeeding Pinays on facebook. It’s free. You need all the support you can get. Trust me, an awesome support group can make all the difference.
Here are many thoughts and reasons why we should all advocate for mothers to breastfeed for the first 1,000 days of life #BF1st1000days
Mec insists to <a href=”http://www.mecasmom.com/2014/08/do-math-aim-high-for-breastfeeding.html“>do the Math and breastfeed!</a><br>Ams, The Passionate Mom says <a href=”https://thepassionatemom.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/breastfeeding-for-a-better-future/“>Breastfeed for a Better Future</a><br>Pat says <a href=”http://www.wearandnursebaby.com/2014/08/breastfeeding-save-money-save-earth.html“>breastfeeding saves money and the planet</a><br>Cheryl, the Multi-Tasking Mama, tackles <a href=”http://themulti-tasking-mom.blogspot.com/2014/08/improving-maternal-lives-through-global.html“>maternal health as addressed by breastfeeding</a><br>2011 CNN Hero Ibu Robin highlights <a href=”http://themulti-tasking-mom.blogspot.com/2014/08/milk-mommy-diaries-guest-writer-2011.html“>gentle births and breasfeeding, even in disaster zones</a><br>Felyn stresses that <a href=”http://eypolapol.tumblr.com/post/95386493886/milk-mama-diaries-healthy-mommy-healthy-baby#.U_ar2cWSyud“>Healthy Moms = Healthy Babies</a><br>Monique reminds us that <a href=”http://anounceoffaith.com/2nd-chances-do-happen-you-can-breastfeed/“>there are second chances in breastfeeding</a><br>Normi relates how <a href=”http://www.thismommylife.com/2014/08/breastfeeding-a-winning-goal/“>breastfeeding gave her strength and purpose</a><br>Nats thanks <a href=”http://mymommykuwentos.blogspot.com/2014/08/thank-you-dr-jack-for-showing-how.html“>Dr. Jack Newman for showing how breastfeeding can be a win-win situation</a><br>Em believes <a href=”http://www.touringkitty.com/2014/08/22/breastfeeding-a-solution-to-societal-problems/“>breastfeeding is a solution to societal problems</a><br>Marge shares <a href=”http://nanaylovespurple.tumblr.com/post/95363750724/teacher-mom-breastfed-baby“>what breastfeeding has taught them</a><br>Kaity was <a href=”http://snapplaylove.blogspot.com/2014/08/breastfeeding-winning-goal-for-life-on.html“>empowered financially and as a woman through breastfeeding</a><br>Madel relates her <a href=”http://www.mommymeowmeow.com/2014/08/milk-mama-diaries-our-breastfeeding-saga.html“>breastfeeding saga</a><br>Jen of Next9 reminds us <a href=”http://attachedatthehip.me/milk-mama-diaries/“>to do our research and share what we know</a><br>Celerhina Aubrey vows to work on <a href=”http://www.celerhinaaubrey.com/2014/08/breastfeeding-winning-goal-for-life.html“>one mother at a time</a><br>Grace wants to put an end to <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/notes/gayo-gayoso/putting-an-end-to-the-usual-stories-of-toasted-coffee-over-breast-milk/10154523250885254“>stories of toasted coffee and similar stuff over breast milk</a><br>Diane shares how she prevailed <a href=”https://starsrainbows.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/breastfeeding-a-winning-goal-for-life“>when things did not go according to plan</a><br>Hazel appreciates <a href=”http://sahmommywannabe.blogspot.com/2014/08/my-milk-mama-diary-yes-we-all-can.html“>mommy support groups</a><br>Roan combines two passions, <a href=”https://homeworksbyroan.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/breastfeeding-and-architecture/“>breastfeeding and architecture</a><br>Queenie tackled <a href=”http://www.lifeofque.com/just-for-moms/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-the-best-choice-for-mom-baby-the-environment/“>breastfeeding as the best choice for the environment as well</a> and <a href=”http://www.lifeofque.com/just-for-moms/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-myths-related-to-poverty/“>breastfeeding myths and poverty</a><br>Rosa shares <a href=”http://thecareerhousewife.blogspot.com/2014/08/milk-mama-diaries-breastfeeding-and.html“>how the picture she thought of was realized</a><br>Sally believes <a href=”http://thebinondomommy.blogspot.com/2014/08/breastfeeding-winning-goal-for-life.html“>breastfeeding benefits mankind and our planet Earth</a><br>Floraine reminds us that <a href=”http://myhappybeginnings.blogspot.com/2014/08/breastfeeding-winning-goal-for-life.html“>breastfeeding helps combat diseases</a><br>Crislyn was happy to realize that <a href=”http://www.acelynprojecthappiness.com/breastfeeding/milk-mama-diaries-benefits-of-breastfeeding-financially-emotionally-physically-and-environmentally.html“>she improved her own health by breastfeeding</a><br>Armi reminds us how <a href=”http://www.mayumiandme.com/milk-mama-diaries-carnival-august/“>breastfeeding during emergencies is crucial</a><br>Arvi tells us how <a href=”http://thehappymrst.blogspot.com/2014/08/how-breastfeeding-helped-us-jumpstart.html“>breastfeeding made her look at her body a different way</a><br>Clarice elaborates on how <a href=”http://tickledmomclarice.com/2014/08/22/breastfeeding-saving-babies-and-mother-earth/“>breastfeeding saves lives and the planet</a><br>Giane reminds us that <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/notes/giane-cortazar/its-more-than-just-the-boobs/10152599848099043“>women empowerment can begin by seeing breastfeeding as more than a feeding issue</a><br>Liza thought she was only <a href=”http://mommylovesyouforever.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/breastfeeding-i-thought-i-did-it-just-for-him/“>breastfeeding for her child</a><br>
It took me a year to write this but know that I have been praying for you before you ever came to this world. In fact, before you were even conceived or conceived of being conceived. I have loved you way before I knew you. I loved imagining giving you a hug, kisses and cuddles. I am grateful that God has entrusted you to me. That He has chosen me to be your mom. I may be clueless most of the time, but God is never wrong. I was chosen for you. You were chosen for me. Your dad and I could have chosen to marry anyone, but we chose each other and that is a gift from God. But you, my love. God chose you-hand picked you just for us. I thank God for you. I thank the Lord because you are alive and healthy and thriving. I thank the Lord that He has opened my womb. That He has given us a safe delivery. That you are with us everyday to make us smile and feel silly and to be kids (with a kid) all over again.
I pray for you. I pray that God would grant you wisdom and discernment. That you would be filled of His knowledge. That you would know Him and have your mind be filled with thoughts of heaven and of the Lord. I pray that He would grant you wisdom as you go through everyday, choosing, deciding, doing anything and everything that would give the Lord glory. I pray that you would discern which is of God and which is of the world. I pray that God would grant you enough wisdom and discernment to go through life choosing Him every single time. I pray that you would use your wisdom to study well and do great things to help others. Do not outsmart people, but rather, help them when in need.
I pray for your eyes. I pray that would give you eyes that would see His beauty and glory in everything. I pray that your eyes would always look for the rainbow despite the rain. That you would look for the stars beyond the darkness of the night. That You would look up on Jesus. That God will be your guide. I pray that the Lord would protect your eyes against the enemy’s use. That even if you see the world as it is, I pray that everything you see will be for His glory.
I pray for your ears, little one. I pray that our Father would protect your ears from gossip and evil and malice. I pray that the Lord would rebuke the enemy when he whispers to you. I pray that you will always hear the voice of truth, leading you the way you should go. I pray that you would listen to the Lord wherever He guides you. I pray that you would be quick to listen and slow to anger. I pray that you would not be deaf to others’ cry for help. Use your God-given abilities to do what is right and what is good.
I pray for your beautiful lips, your gentle mouth. I pray that you would use your mouth to glorify the Lord in everything that comes from your mouth. Be gentle with your words, be courteous and polite. Be generous with praise and kindness. I pray that you would use your mouth to sing the Lord songs of praise. Use your mouth to share the Gospel to as many people possible. I pray that you would be granted wisdom and self-control to speak the right words and shut your mouth when silence is needed. I pray that the Lord will keep your mouth from slander and gossip and malice.
I pray for your beautiful nose. Do not raise it in the air to brag. The air that you breathe is not yours. We do not have any right to brag. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Raise your head to appreciate and be grateful but never to brag.
I pray for your heart. I pray that the Lord would give you an honest, obedient and humble and generous heart. I pray that pride would not have any place in your heart. I pray that you would desire God and Jesus alone and that your heart would be satisfied with their great and mighty love. I pray that you would grow up to be a man after God’s heart. Fill your heart with love and mercy and compassion.
I pray for that the Lord would always bless the work of your hands. I pray that your hands will always find something useful and worthwhile to do. I pray that you would use your hand to show kindness, compassion, justice and mercy. I pray that you would always lend others a helping hand. Do not be idle. I pray that you would use your hands to pray and praise the Lord.
I pray for you legs and feet. That the Lord will strengthen your legs and feet. May you stand whenever you stumble. Never give up. I pray that you would never stray to the left or right but continue on the Lord’s path of righteousness. I pray that the Lord will help you stand firm til the end.
I pray that you would be highly favored by the Lord and you would serve Him all the days of His life because we have offered you to Him. May you let the Lord use you to glorify His Name. I pray that our Father in heaven will keep you healthy and provide you with everything you need to survive in this cruel world. I pray that you would always remember that our home is not here but in heaven where we will spend all eternity. All these, I ask and pray for you dear son.
I pray that God would help us become the parents He wants us to be. I pray that He would grant us wisdom and discernment in raising you to be a child after His own heart. I pray for perseverance and strength when things get too tough? I pray for more and more patience and understanding. I pray that the Lord will draw us,family, closer to Him. I pray that we would honor Jesus and be good role models for you. I pray that we would serve the Lord as a family, not just every Sunday but everyday in all the little things and in everything. I pray that we would learn to stand despite having to fall at times and learn to rely on Christ for happiness. I pray that we would be able to stand firm til the end. I ask for peace and happiness until Our Father calls us home. May we do our job well here and remain faithful in everything. This is my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I gave birth to a small for gestational age baby boy who was hypothermic, hypoglycemic and since he is having chills, bound to drop his sugar even further, he was needed to be admitted to NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).
Before I proceed, let me give you a little background about myself. I am a breastfeeding advocate. I guess I have been one since I was old enough to watch tv and see the formula milk which were so common in our lifetime say how great their milk product is and yet at the end, no matter what brand, without fail, would always say: Breastmilk is best for babies until two years of age.
My faith in breastmilk was reaffirmed when I was in college and our pediatric nursing professor made two lists on the whiteboard dividing it from breast milk and formula. She then listed the advantages of formula milk. It didn’t take long. Then she spent the rest of the class listing the benefits of breastmilk. At the end, she asked us, “So, ladies, who among you here would breastfeed?”. Well, I don’t know about you but if the disclaimer on formula milks were not enough about breast ilk being the best, this lecture sealed the deal. I was sold. From then on, I have this conviction: I will breastfeed.
Fast forward 10 years later from that fateful lecture. I was pregnant with my first born. We’re having a boy! I was so psyched on breastfeeding, I have read articles on how to increase milk supply. I ate lactogenic food-even oatmeal which I hate! I was 8 months pregnant then and I kept telling myself I need to produce a lot of milk when the baby comes out. I drank water. A lot. My husband would monitor how much I drank each day. I thought, I have always wanted this. I’m ready. We never bought bottles. We were aiming for direct feeding. I have to establish my milk supply. I have to avoid nipple confusion. And so it goes.
Then I gave birth. To this precious little angel. So precious and yet so little. We tried to latch but he couldn’t get anything. He was crying. I held him. We cuddled. He was hungry. I tried to give him my tiny breast. There was nothing. The nurse came and checked on him. He was hypothermic and hypoglycemic. They tried to keep him in the warmer but his temperature wouldn’t go down. They had to place him in the incubator. I was heartbroken. That was not part of my birth plan. I wanted a chubby baby and an abundant milk supply. I prayed for it! Why is everything not going according to plan?
They suspected infection. He was started on IV antibiotics. The neonatologist talked to us about formula milk. My husband was angry (well, at least he sounded angry), I was crying and incoherent. I just spent Monday evening to Thursday on labor. I gave birth 9:23 a.m. and this conversation is happening 3-4’ish. I had not had a decent sleep in what felt like ages. I am in pain. I was broken. There was no way I could deal with this right now. I begged the doctor to let me breastfeed. The doctor said it is expected that newborns drop their weight the first two weeks of life but we could not afford that because he is too little and already hypoglycemic. We cannot wait for a day or two until my milk comes.
I wept. I have been a mom for barely a few hours and I was already a failure. I couldn’t even produce milk to feed my son. “Why Lord? Why?” We conceded. We let them feed him formula but on one condition: I feed him first before they offer the bottle.
I seek the help of lactation consultants. I was desperate but I am not giving up. I wanted this for as long as I can remember. I have wanted this for other babies–how much more my own? I remember the moms asked for my advice while I urged them to breastfeed. I am practicing what I preach. The nurses and my lactation consultants would tell me, sometimes it takes about 2-3 days for the milk to come in. It will come. Just you wait. I couldn”t wait. I pumped round the clock after trying to nurse my son. I pray silently everytime: “Lord, provide milk for my son as you have provided manna in the dessert for your people. Please Lord, let me feed my son as you have designed it.”
I relearned different feeding positions-all of which had new meaning to me now that I am the one actually doing it. I was taught to massage my breast. I was taught to drink lots of fluids and to get as much rest as I can. I was too stressed out. This is Friday already and I have yet to see a single drop of milk from my breast. I am getting depressed. I visit my son every two hours in the NICU. I was still in pain. I had to walk several hallways to get to see him and then get back to my room. We fed every two hours. I would go there before 12 and he would latch for so long, he would fall asleep on my breasts. We’d end at around 1 and then they would give the formula. I would burp him, sometimes they do. I would leave around 1:20’ish and go back at 2. This goes round the clock for several days. I felt like I could collapse anytime. I was so tired. It would have been easier to give up. But I didn’t. I was glad I didn’t. I’m still glad I didn’t.
He was jaundiced. I found out our blood was incompatible. We’re living in Northwest Indiana and although it is still summer, it is almost fall. The days would soon be shorter. There are more grey days and on those precious and rare sunny days, the wind was chilly. He was given poly-vi-sol for iron and vitamin D. I continued to breastfeed. At this point I was able to express 5-10ml. They would give it prior to giving formula. I would still feed him directly prior to the bottle. The blood results came back and showed he had no infections. Thank God! I breathe a sigh of relief. They weaned him off the IV fluids and the incubator. He was able to tolerate room temperature for the first time. I cried happy tears!
Sunday came and at 3 p.m we were finally discharged. I still couldn’t produce milk. I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t see it dripping from me but I let my little one latch on me. He had a good latch. We’ll be alright. The LCs (lactation consultants) assured me that my milk would come anytime now. Sometimes, I think if it’s easier to give up but I think of all the benefits of breastmilk and the ingredients on the can of formula samples several milk companies sent me. I shuddered. I prayed for strength. I prayed for determination. I prayed for milk.
We went home. I ditched the formula. We were given a lot of formula milk to take home but used up only two bottles then I told myself, “No. Stop. Go cold turkey”. I do not want to rely on formula. I am enough. I breastfed Jacob despite not seeing or feeling milk in my breasts. On Monday night, my transition milk finally came. What the doctor said was not enough milk was colostrum. Of course it was not overflowing. In fact, it was to be expected. I was deceived because I was not well informed. The things I read were not enough. I thought my milk, my capacity to produce food for my son was not enough. I was deceived that I was not enough. The formula milk remain untouched.
My journey started a year ago on August 15. We are celebrating our breastfeeding anniversary soon! It was not an easy road. He had colic. I eventually had engorged breasts from too much milk (oh the irony! And I later found out I was not supposed to pump the first 6 weeks). He could not empty both breasts. He had reflux for 6 months. He latches for a long time and falls asleep. I had to feed him upright for 5 months and 2 weeks which means that for 5 months and 2 weeks I almost mostly spent most of my days and time (even sleep) in a sitting position. A few days after he turned 11 months, I was added by a friend to a group “Breatfeeding Pinays (BFP)” and I have been blessed to finally have the support I needed for the past 11 months of my journey alone which included only support from my husband because we are living far form family and friends.
Breastfeeding is hard work. It made me wonder how I am still alive after so many sleepless nights when my baby could only rely on me for food and God is so good. He provides the strength and resilience and grace enough for each day and we just somehow always make it through. It is hard work but NEVER impossible. I believe it takes more will power and commitment more than anything. God made you. He designed you. Women from thousands of years ago had been breastfeeding. You can too. Just last week, I found out that he has a lip tie. That is a different story to be told at a different time but now, some of the problems we encountered during Jacob’s first 6 months finally made sense.
Maybe most of the things I wrote doesn’t matter to you, but you know what kept me going? It was the thought that God made our body so unique that everything that happens in it is such a wonder. Can we fathom how a human is formed inside us? How wonderfully we were designed for child birth? How God provides even for the newborns that He made food for the little ones that not only is free-but so perfect and ideal, that it provides all the nutrients a growing baby needs and that the nutritional content of the milk changes as the baby grows? Can we fathom how this body, this human body can generate this liquid gold that has been, over decades and decades past, tried to be replicated by formula milk companies and yet they can never come to doing something exactly like it? Manna was given to the Israelites for forty years so they may have food while they wander in the desert. Women are given breastmilk to provide nutrition for our newborns. It is as God has designed it. Do you know when manna stopped coming down from heaven? The day after the Israelites have eaten the produce from the promise land. If we are supplementing with formula, how can we expect to keep up with our supply when the baby has a different source of food? In short, the law of supply and demand applies here as well.
I could go on and on about this but it’s so hard to squeeze in a single entry. My breastfeeding journey has yet to end. I am now still breastfeeding my son and enjoying the perks-the bond, the nutritional content, a milk perfect for brain development among many others, it’s also his first immunization and last but not the least the cost (it’s free!). I still have have sleepless nights. I have things yet to learn. But the most important thing is, I went on. I did not give up and finally, I am giving my son the best thing only I can provide and glory to God for it.