Note: This post was inspired by this article on GoBreastfeed.com.
I am a breastfeeding mom and proud of it.
Or at least, I was a breastfeeding mom until I had to wean my son early this year.
I never knew there was such a big to-do over breastfeeding until I made the choice to breastfeed my eldest. True, I was not a breastfed child; there were multiple complications that prevented my mother from doing so. But when I found out I was about to become a mother myself, there was no hesitation: I was determined to breastfeed my baby.
I've said it multiple times before that I credit a very dear friend and Sister, Tatiana, for giving me the best ever encouragement when I revealed my decision to breastfeed. She told me to not be disappointed or discouraged if I can't; it won't make me any less of a mother and it wouldn't harm my relationship with my child in any way.
Most people, I think, would see this as the complete opposite of encouragement. But to have heard this at a point when I needed reassurance the most was exactly what I needed. I took what she said to heart and waited for the day I would finally hold my little boy in my arms.
It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.
WARNING: Okay, before I continue with the next paragraphs, I'll be discussing something very intimate and I want you to know that now. If talking about such intimate parts of the human anatomy offend or make you feel awkward in any way, please do stop reading right now and find another entry to enjoy.
I worried that he couldn't latch at all. During our First Embrace (Unang Yakap), he got so frustrated because he couldn't fit his mouth around my nipple. Imagine the horror of that for a new mother: my child can't breastfeed because my nipple is too big. I did not even know that was possible.
We couldn't room in immediately either. I had urinary tract infection during the third trimester and our selected pediatrician wanted to keep him in the nursery for a 24-hour observation period to make sure that he was completely unaffected by my affliction. So, I had to visit him there myself. Unfortunately, a midwife had gotten it into her head, for some reason, to give him glucose water--standard practice prior to the system-wide implementation of encouraging breastfeeding--which had two effects: first, that he would prefer to just settle down and sleep in my arms, and second, the said midwife got a telling-off from my godmother (who was also my anaesthesiologist).
After the 24-hour period elapsed, I immediately requested for him to be brought to me. Unlike most new mothers I know of these days, I did not attend any classes to prepare myself for giving birth or parenting, or anything of the sort. I was going to wing it like my mother did. So of course, I was worried. I didn't know about hand expression so I could check myself for the colostrum that was supposed to have already come in--truth is, I didn't even know what it was called until after we came home from the hospital and did proper research. All I was focused on was to get him to latch and start getting his milk from me.
Can't say it didn't work.
By that evening, we were changing wet and dirty diapers. Of course, I didn't know how well this actually reflected what he was getting from me, only that I confidently knew that without any input, there wouldn't be any output either.
By his third day, we were cleared to go home--and about to face our next set of "challenges".