Friday, March 18, 2011

My Breastfeeding Story

"Welcome to the first Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (March). To celebrate National Women's Month, our participants share how breastfeeding has changed them as a woman. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."

For me it was a no brainer. Even before I gave birth to Berry, I knew I was going to breastfeed her. I had done my research, and I knew all the benefits of breastfeeding that no one could persuade me otherwise.

It also helped that my friend Tet was such an advocate of breastfeeding. She attributes her daughter Eliana’s good health to breastfeeding. Eliana never got sick until she was a year old, and only because she caught colds due to their constant air travel. And well, a huge convincing factor was that my friend Tet was so skinny, no one would have guessed that she had given birth at all! So yeah, breastfeeding appealed to my vanity too! Hahaha!

I continue to breastfeed Berry until today. She is 21 months now, and what I can guarantee is this:

* Berry is a very healthy baby! The first 18 months, we only went to the doctor for her scheduled immunizations, that’s it! Like Eliana, she only got colds around the holidays because we were flying in and out.

* It’s true what they say that breastfeeding helps the uterus contract. Whenever Berry would drink her milk, I could feel the inside of my tummy throbbing and contracting. In two weeks, my baby belly was gone. I lost all the baby weight in one month. Without any exercise, if I may add!

* Breastfeeding is so convenient. If Berry needs to feed any time, any where, I don’t need to prepare a bottle. I would just lift or unbutton my shirt, and voila! Instant milk!

* No bottles mean a lighter diaper bag too!

* When I think of the amount of money we saved by not buying formula, I really can't help but get a kick out of it. That's a start-up fund for  Berry's college education right there.

Proponents of breastfeeding also believe that breastfeeding strengthens the mother and child bond. Berry and I are very much bonded I would think, and at this point, we can really pick up on each other's cues even with just eye contact. When something funny happens, or when she gets naughty, even without speaking, when we look at each other we just both know how to react. It's like an unspoken bond. Especially precious now because it's how we communicate, given her limited vocabulary.

The only real challenge to breastfeeding was of the sartorial sort. I had to find clothes that were stylish but breastfeeding friendly! I eventually found the perfect pieces for nursing, which you can read here. Here's my typical breastfeeding outfit (i.e. button down shirt & jeans, don't forget the breast cover, I think a big shawl or huge scarf is a stylish alternative):


Judging me from my "cover", no one can really guess I still breastfeed right? I just look like any girl on the street! LOL.

So yeah, about all these supposed physical and lifestyle changes - you know, breasts sagging, mastitis, cracked nipples, crazy sleepless nights, I was lucky that I never went through that. My mom is very spiritual and I just took her advice to pray while breastfeeding, recite the rosary or read the bible. This isn't spiritual mumbo jumbo. I would like to think it was my faith and belief that I would have an abundant milk supply that kept the milk flowing. Especially since Berry is allergic to dairy and still wouldn't take soy or goat's milk.

Did breastfeeding change me? Both yes and no. I am still me, in fact, even better.

P.S. A couple days ago, Daphne Osena-Paez, breastfeeding advocate and UNICEF Special Advocate for Children, asked me to help spread the world not just about breastfeeding, but EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. No water, no baby food, no formula. She says this practice alone can save the lives of thousands of babies. I've tweeted this and continue to share this with all the moms I speak with, but let me use this  post as a platform to spread her message as well.

P.P.S.- Thanks for inviting me to join this Carnival, Cai

10 comments:

Mec said...

With my first... I just unclasped my old brassieres and hitched up my shirt and that was that.

Now, I have invested in nursing tanks that don't require bras anymore. I could never get the hang of the nursing bra talaga...

Jenny said...

you are the perfect example of a stylish breastfeeding mom!! and really, all you need is your breasts and a baby and stylish clothes :D thank you for blogging about breastfeeding and spreading the word!! we need more celebrities to promote breastfeeding!! can i just say that Berry is looking like a female harvey but stylish lang. haha!

apples & dumplings said...

Y got colds at 3 months because of the erratic weather last January. But she recovered fast.

Thanks also for taking the time and joining the carnival! :) I remembered you breastfeed so I took a whim on emailing you.

cai

Teacher Mama Tina said...

I totally love your post! :-) And I am one of those moms who hasn't invested in nursing tops or dresses or tanks (YET! LOL!) but just find ways to breastfeed no matter what I am wearing. Nowadays, my trusty Maya Wrap doubles as my breastfeeding cover. :-) Rysse hates being covered up when I nurse her, and always tries to push any cover I use away, so I just try to cover up as best I can! :-) Here's to all nursing yummymummies out there!

Frances said...

My challenge with breastfeeding was the fact that I had to be within hollering distance from my son! I express just 10 oz of milk, no matter that my pump is the best in the market. So I can't really be more than a few hours away from the baby.

Sartorially? No. I just wear whatever I want! Then I just pop the boob out! Modesty was never my strongest trait! =D

Eubelle said...

it is definitely the trick for a flat tummy! breastfed both my girls :) and for anyone out there looking for the best nursing bra...bravado is the best!

CHRISTINE DYCHIAO said...

Try Bravado nursing bras, Mec! The best! Got that tip from my friend Belle, who breastfed her two girls with much savvy & style =)

Thanks Jenny, happy to join your wonderful idea to promote breastfeeding! Oh and yes, Berry is such a carbon copy of her dad. Even strangers who see her and Harvs would tell me, "She looks like her dad!". The only thing she got from me I think is my love for clothes, shoes and bags, hahaha!

Happy to be part of this Cai! Thanks for asking me!

Thanks Tina! I am quite proud to say I haven't spent on nursing clothes up till now, I think we can really do without anyway! Good thing Berry doesn't mind being covered with a nursing cover still, hay! =)

I get you about that time constraint Frances! Tried it once or twice and I realized there's a 3 hour limit nga. As for clothes, I am too conscious outside the house and I have this crazy delusion that I should be Sartorialist ready at all times, hahaha!

You're such a lifesaver with those Bravado bras Belle! I swear, they are the best! Thanks talaga!

ocmominmanila.com said...

Tin, I'm so proud of you for BFing for 21 months!! I breastfed exclusively for 10 months and mixed until M was a year. It's definitely worth all the hard work =) And soon, I will BF again. Hope I have more milk this time around.

trina said...

i love the berry story where mom would ask berry to feed her babydoll and she would pretend to breastfeed the doll! most of the kids here bust out the fake disappearing milk bottle...

Busy Bees said...

hey i have actually became a blog follower a few months before:) so nice to see you join the mama milk carnival too. I admire the fact that you can stay in style and look polished without a yaya!!

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