Lessons on Breastfeeding

Friday, January 18, 2013

I have a draft on how I celebrated my 31st birthday. But who really cares about a 30 something mother turning another year older right? So it's still in my drafts. Let me just tell you that I love birthdays. I love celebrations. Heck, I love anything that would allow me to celebrate. But just to sum it all up. I am happy that it was my birthday and I am glad I was able to celebrate it with the people that truly matters to me.

So let me just talk about what I have been up to lately -- I gave birth! To a beautiful, perfect, sweet, little baby girl we named Sam. Oh she is such a sweetheart. And so I am spending about 70% of my day now breastfeeding her. And since my newsfeed (in facebook) is now filled with friends who just gave birth or who are just about to, I decided to do this piece instead.

I just thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on this as I have done here (<--click) initially. Being a second time breasfteeding mama, I am more mature now. There's less drama this time. You will not believe how such of a drama queen I was during the first time. I even called my Pedia, weeping in the middle of the night.

Which brings me to now. Doing this for the second time, I will definitely not declare that I am an expert on this. I am not a formula hater as well. I will never look down on a mom who decided to bottle feed their kids. Nor will I declare that breastfeeding is for everyone. It is still your body, your life, and your child. Ultimately, you will know what will be best for your kids. Let no one take that feeling away from you.

So who am I? I am just a mother who is very, very determined to breastfeed her children. I will not enumerate the health benefits of breastfeeding anymore plus all other numerous advantages (I mean it's free, is there anything cheaper than that?!). I am here to tell you the things that helped me stay committed to my decision.

1) Breastfeeding is something you learn. I took all three breastfeeding classes offered by Medela Moms. I bought books, browsed the internet, read tons of mommy blogs for inspiration, attended a La Leche League meeting, even went to the classes offered by The Medical City. The more you know the less likely you will give up when you hit a roadblock.

2) Arm yourself with the right tools. As it will hurt (extremely - for me at least) during the first week, get a good nipple cream. I used Lansinoh. I also bought Avent Breast Shells. Good pairs of nursing bras. A nursing cover so you can continue to breastfeed even if you have visitors. That's basically all there is to it. (Note - especially to first time moms: try to limit your visitors in the hospital. As you are still trying to learn the ropes of breastfeeding and you might be more self conscious ask your well meaning friends to visit you about two weeks after giving birth already so you're sure you've already mastered breastfeeding by that time.)

3) Educate everyone that is close to you on your decision. Get their support and buy in. The last thing you need is a voice discouraging you. Although, since it is not a perfect world you will always have people telling you things you do not need to hear. During these times, just smile and ask them to get you a glass of water. :)

4) DO NOT BUY FEEDING BOTTLES (yet). Lest you be tempted, stay away from these until you are a few weeks away from returning to work.

5) Don't be insecure with your milk supply. Size does not matter. Never compare yourself to other moms. Keep telling yourself that you have more than enough for your baby.

6) Just to reiterate. It will hurt. I just squeeze and break my husbands fingers whenever it hurts extremely  to just release some of the anger 'energy'. Do believe that in a few days it will go away. (Also, this would be a good time to go back and read all the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding just to push yourself. 90% of the time it hurts because of an incorrect latch. So have the patience to teach yourself and the new baby the proper technique. In a few days, it's going to be smooth sailing believe me.)

7) Do not forget yourself. Eat! (Breastfeeding moms burn approximately 500 calories just by breastfeeding). By eat, meaning a proper balanced nutrition. Drink plenty of fluids. I was eating plenty of galactagouges (foods that help increase milk supply) like oatmeal, halaan, warm soup, malunggay leaves, and the like. Oh, and also indulge every now then (go eat that sundae you've been craving). :)

8) Breastfeed on demand. Nurse as frequently as you can. Both Eli and Sammy are forever attached to me during their first weeks. It's okay. They like to nurse for plenty of reasons and it's NOT because they are not getting enough.

9) Finally, so you can also get that much needed sleep during the night: master the side lying feeding position. :) Believe me, this will save your life!

Okay what else? I am pretty sure there might be a couple of things I might be forgetting but those above are pretty much the most important things that I can remember. Oh, and here are the sites that I frequent to the most: Kellymom, Dr. Sears, La Leche League International. Also some blogs: Chronicles of a Nursing Mom and The Leaky Boob. And there's plenty more, numerous forums and website all dedicated to this. Just have the patience and determination to stick by with your decision. And hey, take it one day at a time to enjoy this period of your life to the fullest.

Cheers mommies!


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