This is my first time to share a part of my breastfeeding journey. Actually, I have several draft posts about my breastfeeding stories waiting to be finished and posted. However, for some reason hindi ko sila natatapos. I think it’s because subconsciously I judge myself as someone who is incompetent to write about breastfeeding. Also, I want to avoid adding undue stress to other mommies who are not breastfeeding. While I highly encourage and recommend breastfeeding, I would never judge or belittle a mother who is not doing it.
As some of you may have known by now, I did not breastfeed my firstborn. I mixed fed my second child and then exclusively breastfed my bunso for only two months, then mix-fed na rin. I did encounter numerous struggles in my breastfeeding efforts. I suffered from dehydration, engorgement, clogged milk ducts, low milk supply, battered breasts, cracked nipples, embarrassing let down and even MPS and back pains. That’s why I strongly believe that for a mom to succeed in breastfeeding she needs all the love, care, and support from the people around her, most especially her partner, in case she has one.
I do not really know how mommies from the previous generation did it, considering the children back then are usually sunud-sunod. Is it because they worked from home, you know the house chores and did not have to endure traffic, pollution, crowded and noisy places and stressful workplaces and co-workers? I really do not know. What I do know are the important things we breastfeeding moms would want others to do for us as part of support. Daddies, get your pen and paper ready, these tips may come in handy!
Please always refill our water jugs or tumblers so that we stay hydrated. Water intake is crucial in producing milk and for the health of mommies. Without enough water, mommies would not be able to produce milk. Dehydration, on the other hand, poses other health issues for the mommies such as high blood pressure. It happened to me several times. High blood pressure makes one dizzy and nauseous. Remind us to drink water if you have to. When taking care of babies, especially newborns, moms tend to forget to take care of themselves.
Mind the meals. Put an extra effort to prepare or buy foods that are recommended for breastfeeding moms. Soups and broth dishes help in increasing the milk supply. When I was suffering from low milk supply, I was frustrated and got really depressed. So, please, give us the right food so we can produce enough milk. Then, we do not need to feel down and blue! P.S. Sure I could prepare and buy my own food, it’s just that the fact is, breastfeeding is a tiring activity by itself.
Stay beside us if you have nothing else important to do. It’s not that we want to bind or tie you with us. It is only because we need an extra hand once we’re glued to our nursing chairs or beds. We need someone to fix our pillows behind or hand us over the water jug, adjust the aircon setting or dim the light. It may sound like we wanted an alalay but I assure you we don’t. We’d gladly move around and do things on our own if only we’re allowed by our babies. This is especially true for the first two months of the baby.
Let us take a rest. Let us take a nap. We need the energy to be able to breastfeed effectively and properly. We’re not some milk producing machines. Even in a side lying position, I cannot seem to have a good sleep. Sure, I shut my eyes but the discomfort in my arms and hips (perhaps because of my weight) disturbs my sleep while other mommies and babies are more comfortable in sitting positions.
Allow us some me-time, and alone time. Don’t get me wrong. One of the best feelings in the world is when we are taking care of our offspring, nursing included. However, if you’re sleep deprived, feeling heavy and ugly and your body is tired, you get cranky too and out of your mind. But, a little alone time recharges us and makes us ready for the next challenges of breastfeeding.
Allow us to spend money to make our breastfeeding journey a lot more comfortable. If we want to buy that costly nursing pillow, let us. If we want nursing tops, don’t deny us. If we want nursing bras and covers, support us. Encourage us to spend for our comfort even if we are not breastfeeding for life. Comfort is such a small consuelo for any breastfeeding mom.
Fortunately, I have a very supportive husband. However, he’s not the type to do research on what food is good for me. But, if I order him to buy something, he’ll gladly do it for us. Up until now, I’m still struggling with low milk supply. And, I find it hard to stick to the recommended diet and frequency of pumping. I am not asking for anyone to put us, breastfeeding mommas into a pedestal because the truth is we’re just like any other mother out there who’d do everything she can for the welfare of her baby. But, our success depends not solely on us but moreso on our support system.