I know that recently, all my posts are about my pregnancy and giving birth. Even my photos are all about my baby boy. The truth is I can’t stop myself because this is the highlight of my life right now. And the happiness and satisfaction it brings me is just simply indescribable. I’m probably on chapter 2 of my life’s second book now and I’d like to share with you my ongoing journey of breastfeeding.
Even before I found out I was pregnant, I always thought that I would like to breastfeed my future babies. And then I got pregnant and decided that I would, indeed, breastfeed my baby. I didn’t really know anything about breastfeeding and whatnots; well other than the fact that breast milk is the best for babies. Until I joined the Facebook group called Breastfeeding Pinays. Stating the obvious, the group is focused mainly in promoting breastfeeding amongst mothers and expectant mothers. The information I get from this group is really amazing and surprising at the same time.
Here are the few things I learned from the group:
1. I learned about ‘Unang Yakap’ wherein the baby is immediately handed to the mother after delivery with no need to clean up. This is to allow the baby some skin to skin time with the mother right after coming out into the world and to let him/her crawl up to the breast and latch on. This is a wonderful experience for the mother and the baby as seen in this YouTube video. It’s the baby’s instinct to latch on immediately. They know how to take the breast from the moment they are born.
2. I learned about the colostrum which is important for the baby to drink during the first few days after delivery.
3. A newborn baby’s stomach is the size of a marble so they don’t have to be fed too much especially of formula milk. If you feed them too much, their tummy would be bloated and stretched and the mom would have a problem providing him the right amount of breast milk especially if the mom is still on the stage of establishing her milk supply.
4. Feeding your baby formula milk will only ruin the gut lining of his stomach/intestine. It will take 4 weeks of exclusively breastfeeding your baby to rebuild what has been ruined.
5. You have to wake your newborn every 2-3 hours to feed. The amount of milk they ingest is so little and breast milk gets digested easily that he/she has to feed frequently. Not doing so might cause your baby to starve and be dehydrated.
6. You have to let your baby latch to stimulate your body to produce milk. It’s not true that if you don’t see milk dripping from your chest then you don’t have any milk. All moms have milk. They just don’t know how to get it flowing.
7. It is not really necessary for any supplementary vitamins for babies who are breastfed. Moms’ liquid gold (a.k.a. breast milk) contains all the nutrients babies need.
8. Babies don’t need water for the first 6 months of their lives. Breast milk is already part water. Giving water to babies younger than 6 months can be dangerous.
9. Breastfed babies are safe from getting obese.
10. Foremilk and Hindmilk. Foremilk consists mostly of water which quenches baby’s thirst while hindmilk consists most of the nutrients, fats etc. that baby needs.
Prior to joining the group and wanting to breastfeed my baby, I didn’t really scrap the idea of feeding my child formula milk. But when I learned the benefits of breast milk and the dangers of formula milk, I was certain I didn’t want formula milk. Unfortunately, since I had to go under emergency caesarian procedure, I didn’t get to experience the ‘Unang Yakap’ as I was under general anesthesia. Lucio was also given formula milk in the hospital which I couldn’t avoid.
While still at the hospital, I tried to breastfeed him. Of course he was a little bit fussy but he became comfortable immediately. When he cried too much, I decided to ask the nursery for formula milk. I regulated the amount of formula we fed him because he was prone to vomiting after feeding. It was during the third day when I proved to myself that I have milk; it was all over Lucio’s cheeks!
We weren’t really exclusively breastfeeding for the first 3 weeks. But then I decided to eliminate the formula and exclusively breastfeed him. The experience is liberating. Information about the benefits of breastfeeding is all over the internet. Majority of mothers who choose to formula feed their little ones because of various reasons are misinformed.
Breastfeeding is not at all easy. It’s a struggle especially in the beginning. I even requested my mom and husband to be added in the Facebook group so that they can read through tons of posts regarding breastfeeding. I need all the support I can get. It’s quite painful as well. I may have a high threshold for pain but there are times when I feel like crying. But despite the pain and suffering, I wouldn’t change my mind about doing it. A little sacrifice is nothing compared to what I am providing my little boy.
To end this post, let me share a short story. While at the hospital for Lucio’s 2nd month vaccination, the pediatrics doctor asked me what I was feeding my son. I simply answered “breastmilk” and gave her a big smile. She replied “Very good! First mom.. First GOOD mom”! After checking up on Lucio and saying good bye and thank you to the doctor she added “thank you for breastfeeding him. He will get all the benefits in the world.” I am, indeed, one proud breastfeeding momma!