Breastfeeding, My Best Decision Ever!

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 - Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic.  Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries."

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I have been exclusively breastfeeding Skye for 6 months. I’ve reached my minimum target! Hooray!!

My breastfeeding journey was never a walk in the park. I can still remember the first week. Oh such painful nipples.  The seemingly endless issues of low milk output and making the people here at home understand how to properly feed the baby. It was tough. But all of it was worth it.

August is breastfeeding awareness month. And honestly, I find it so hard to believe that mums like me, need to promote and encourage fellow mums to choose breastfeeding. When in fact, it should be our first choice, right? Because our boobs are created to nourish a child. We are supposed to produce milk for our little one. And our baby deserves to be nourished in the most natural way.

Again, I am not against mums who formula feed their child. I am a formula-fed baby myself. And I would never tell you that Mila failed on being a mother to me because she didn’t. She was actually great! Ok fine, pwede na din! Char! :-D

Although I can’t help but wonder if she’ll still choose to formula-feed me if she was well informed.

I know she wasn’t. Because she’s the first one who questioned my ability to produce enough milk. Mila’s the one who questioned my decision to unli-latch the baby and hold her in my arms for almost 24/7 until she’s 2 months. Who told me that I am a bad mum for allowing my child to starve coz I follow the 1oz/hr rule when I’m away. Ayun nung na-overfeed nya at sumuka, nagsisi din sya.

But now, 6 months after. And after seeing how healthy my baby is - she was convinced! And was actually telling every mum she know that breastfeeding your child would be your best decision ever.

I am empowered by the thought that my mother now trust me. She accepts the fact that even after 4 child, she’s still not that informed. And I, on the other hand, thank that I had my child in this generation where information is at our fingertips. Now, I share to her whatever it is that I learn from reading up. And we both use that information to nourish our respective child. Me, with Skye. Mila, with Boi. For those of you who don’t know Boi, he’s my 9 year old brother with cerebral palsy and global developmental delay. He’s our forever baby. :) And yep! I call my mother Mila, her nickname. Yun ay pag hindi sya galit. Syempre pag mainit ang ulo Mama dapat kundi palo ako. Hihihihi…

I live in a compound. Most of them are not well off. Before becoming a mum, I didn’t really notice that almost all of them formula feed their child. E nakakaloka naman kasi dito, every year may baby.

When I got pregnant, I read up everything about parenting and that’s when I decided to exclusively breastfeed the baby. I learned that it reduces the risk of asthma and diabetes – both run in the family. I learned the dangers of formula feeding. I made an informed choice and I am glad. Bonus na lang ang katotohanang, nakakatipid ako ng napakalaki dahil hindi ako gumagastos para sa gatas.

So I don’t understand why most mums here at our place, our barangay, opted to formula feed their baby when they barely have enough to feed themselves and the rest of the family. Ang kakarampot na kinikita ay napupunta sa gatas ng bata. And worst, some would even offer Bear Brand or Alaska to their 2 month old babies. Formula milk brands that are not even designed for infants. Dahil yun ang mura. Dahil dun hindi nagtatae ang bata. It breaks my heart to see babies that are not gaining enough or not hitting milestones. Babies na halos buwan ang tinatagal ng ubo at sipon. And all of them are telling me that the reason why they stopped breastfeeding is because – “wala kasi akong gatas” or “mahina kasi ang gatas ko”. That, my friend, is a very big proof that they are not well informed.

Imagine if all of them breastfeed their child. Well, most of them are stay at home mums anyway. They could have saved a lot of money. Nalalaan sana sa ibang bagay ang pera, gaya ng edukasyon ng mas nakakatatandang anak o pagkain para sa pamilya. At higit sa lahat, mas healthy sana ang mga anak nila. I only know 1 cousin who breastfeed her baby. At yung anak nya lang ang tinatawag kong chubby-log. Kahit “tirik king” ang bata, kasi tumitirik ang mata pag nilalagnat, siksik padin ang katawan. And the baby was able to recover fast. I guess the reason why he’s tirik king is because both parents are smokers. But still, I believe that the breast milk saved the baby over and over again.

But hey! I am very proud. Bakit kamo?! Lahat ng nanganak after ko, are now breastfeeding their child. Probably because they saw me. They realized that it can be done. Narinig ko once si Mila talking to a pregnant neighbor and telling her “Kita mo yan si Nene, may pambili ng gatas pero nagpapadede. May trabaho pero nagpapadede, nagpa-pump ng gatas para sa anak nya. Ang laki ng natitipid nya. At healthy pa ang apo ko.”. And then one time she was telling another mum who just gave birth “Hindi mahina gatas mo. Ganyan si Nene noon. Akala ko din mahina gatas, sabi nya ganun daw talaga pag bagong panganak ang bata. Ikaw nga ba naman nasa loob ng tyan ng 9months, malamang paglabas mo din iiyak ka ng iiyak at magpapa-akap ka kasi bago na ang paligid. Matatapos din yan. Pag pinadede mo yan ng powder makakatulog lang daw yan dahil mabigat yun sa tyan. Magtiis ka! Ginusto mo yan diba?! Kita mo apo ko healthy na bibo pa.” Hahahaha! Sya na ang well informed. Pwede ng lactation consultant ang lola mo. :-D

Pero it’s true! You could actually see the difference between my baby and the other babies here. Probably also because most mums here can’t afford those expensive milk. Sabi nga sa inyo diba? Yung iba Bear Brand or Alaska powder lang talo-talo na. If only they breastfeed their babies, sana mas healthy ang naibibigay na gatas sa anak. Sana hindi sakitin. Sana hindi gumagastos ng malaki para sa gatas at gamot.

So now, as a mother, I am determined to promote breastfeeding. One mother at a time. One baby at a time. One family at a time. And eventually, madami sana akong mahikayat. Madami sana akong matulungan. Madami sana akong maturuan. Madami sana akong batang ma-save. Madami sana akong pamilyang matulungan maka-ahon sa kahirapan dahil mas marami sanang pamilya na pipiliing magpasuso at ilaan sa ibang gastusin ang pera nila.

Sana wala na kong marinig na “Mahirap kasi kami. Wala kaming pambili ng gatas.”. Coz hello?! You don’t need to buy milk. You produce milk. Ang gagawin mo lang, papadedehin mo sayo ang anak mo. At bilang ina, masasabi mo pa sa sarili mo na kahit papaano nakakatulong ka sa gastusin sa bahay dahil ikaw ang “pagkain” ni bunso.

Every time nakikita ko ang presyo ng formula milk sa grocery - I can’t help but smile. Every night pag umiiyak ang bata at hindi ko kailangang bumangon para magtimpla ng gatas - I can’t help but smile. Every time I pack our diaper bag and realize how light it is - I can’t help but smile. Every time I see my baby so healthy, so strong, so bibo – I can’t help but smile. Every time I talk to neighbors and encourage them to breastfeed and would show them my baby as proof of my claim – I can’t help but smile. Every time the baby cries and I’d pop the boob to pacify her – I can’t help but smile.

I’ve made the right decision. I’ve decided to breastfeed my child. I’ve made an informed decision. I gave my daughter the best food for her. I am one proud mama here. I am one proud breastfeeding Pinay.


Here are many thoughts and reasons why we should all advocate for mothers to breastfeed for the first 1,000 days of life #BF1st1000days:

Ams, The Passionate Mom says Breastfeed for a Better Future
Cheryl, the Multi-Tasking Mama, tackles maternal health as addressed by breastfeeding
2011 CNN Hero Ibu Robin highlights gentle births and breasfeeding, even in disaster zones
Felyn stresses that Healthy Moms = Healthy Babies
Normi relates how breastfeeding gave her strength and purpose
Kaity was empowered financially and as a woman through breastfeeding.
Madel relates her breastfeeding saga
Celerhina Aubrey vows to work on one mother at a time
Grace wants to put an end to stories of toasted coffee and similar stuff over breast milk.
Diane shares how she prevailed when things did not go according to plan
Hazel appreciates mommy support groups
Roan combines two passions, breastfeeding and architecture
Floraine reminds us that breastfeeding helps combat diseases
Crislyn was happy to realize that she improved her own health by breastfeeding
Clarice elaborates on how breastfeeding saves lives and the planet
Liza thought she was only breastfeeding for her child

6 comments:

Daniel Kaity Bato said...

True! Breastfeeding our little ones is one of the BEST decisions we can ever make. It really takes time AND effort. But all of the sleepless nights and "weird" stares are so worth it!(:

reigningstill said...

Super agree Daniel. So worth it! :)

~currant7 said...

Congratulations on the 6th month milestone on breastfeeding your baby!
I also feel the same way - the best thing I can give my children is to breastfeed them.:)
Great entry!

Celerhina Aubrey said...

Thank you.

Raine said...

had fun reading your post.ang cute niyo naman ng mama Mila mo hehehe i agree with everything you said.it's really too bad that most families are not informed/educated about breastfeeding, ang laking tulong sana sa kanila esp. yung mga hirap sa buhay

Celerhina Aubrey said...

Tama! If only they were informed properly. Pero yung iba din kasi tumitigil sa pagpapadede dahil gusto makaalis ng bahay. Nakupo!

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