Breastfeeding Woes

In Real Simple's 18 Common Phrases to Avoid in Conversation, it touched on the topic of breastfeeding.

Don’t say: “Do you plan on breast-feeding?”
Why: The issue can be controversial, and she may not want to discuss her decision publicly.
Instead say: Nothing. Unless you’re very close, don’t ask. If you slip, make up for the blunder by adding, “And do you feel comfortable telling me?”
Finally, there is a "rule" which explains that breastfeeding is not something you openly talk about. Especially when there are issues that go with it. Not a lot of people realize that breastfeeding could be a sensitive issue. It is to me.

My intention was to breastfeed my firstborn exclusively. I was all psyched that that was possible. I was ready for breastfeeding; I was equipped with the best breast pump, feeding bottle with disposable liners, nursing pad. I did not have any thing should my baby be formula-fed.

Then Javi was born and my breastfeeding nightmare began.

No one thought me the proper latching. Milk was not coming out. I did not know what to do. I felt so alone. I couldn't run into anyone who could help me.

In breastfeeding the first few days are crucial. And I screw up those critical days. I wished there was a lactation consultant available who would have guided me and would have told me what I was doing wrong.

I was the ideal candidate for breasfeeding - a stay-at-home full time mother who knew the benefits of breast milk and had every intention to breastfeed. I had all the time in the world.

I did everything to increase my milk supply. I was downing malunggay capsules like they were candies. I even had rashes from all the shellfish I ate. But my efforts only allowed me an ounce of milk every time I express. I fed Javi the few ounces I could express.

I never experienced engorgement. None at all.

I contacted LATCH and even made a friend with their Cebu-based counselor. I went for a lactation massage but that did not help one bit. I may have been too late. The manghihilot's explanation was my body is not built for producing and storing milk. It sounded absurd as I believe that God equipped every mother with the ability to breastfeed. There was no formula during the time of the mothers in the Bible. Then I realized that the lifestyle now is much different from the time of the Biblical era. And it is possible that certain factors of the our current lifestyle did contribute to my low milk production.

I try to stay away from breastfeeding mothers who think it is a grave sin that I do not breastfeed and that their children would be more intelligent and talented than mine. They are lucky to have had it easy. It is not the same for everyone. I have tried and I failed. So please stop pointing it out.

This experience has prompted me to be vocal regarding my support for the Reproductive Health bill. The RH bill promotes breastfeeding through joint effort between local and national governments. It is not enough to see the words "Breastmilk is best for babies." What we need is to educate the mothers. I hope to find lactation consultants nationwide and not just in the posh hospitals in Metro Manila.

Maybe I'll get my chance to breastfeed when God blesses us with another baby in the future.


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