Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Battle to Win

From the moment we planned on getting pregnant I've already set my heart that I am going to breastfeed. I am very much aware of all the benefits of breastfeeding to both mom and baby plus I always love the tender sight of a baby being breastfed by the mother.  And so when the time came, I did what I knew I had to do to be able to breastfeed Little Spanish Pinay.  It wasn't as easy as I thought especially with people around giving their opinion and unsolicited advices (and criticisms).  I didn't get the necessary support from the hospital where Tala was born either.  But what I have are my husband's support, the book I read about breastfeeding and the inspiration I have from my mom who breastfed all 6 of her children.  So the moment the nurse handed me Tala, I immediately positioned her to feed. The only thing I had in mind back then is for her to start sucking so milk can start to flow. I didn't have much idea if I was doing it correctly. I just knew it hurts. But I tried to endure it as I just want her to keep on sucking. That was a mistake. She wasn't in the right position that's why it hurts. I read about this but it totally got out of my mind as I was too focus on her to start sucking and getting the hang of breastfeeding. The first few days were really tough.  I've had sore wounded nipples for like 2 weeks, experieneced chills and a little fever. What's worse is that I was constantly being criticized for spending too much time breastfeeding Tala. There goes the constant chat about spoiling her and getting her used to my nipples. I just turned a dear ear. I know that I need Tala's stimulation for better milk production. It just felt right for me to offer her milk everytime I hear her cry.  It was my mother's instinct taking over.  I also tried to avoid pacifiers while milk production wasn't established yet. Another thing I got criticized on. And then the worst of the worst, I am constantly being told; "You probably don't have enough milk that's why Tala spends so much time feeding from your breasts. Why not try to give her formula as supplement". To think people who are giving me these comments are moms themselves! Big shame. Don't they know that this is the number one culprit that sends breastfeeding down to the drain? Once formula is given as a supplement, the baby's demand for breastmilk will lessen. If the demand is low, supply will be low. Putting the blame on a mother's milk for every thing that happens is beyond me; Baby demands more time latched on the breast - mommy doesn't have enough milk. Supplement. Baby is fussy -baby's hungry coz mommy doesn't have enough milk. Supplement. Baby doesn't sleep well - baby doesn't eat well coz mommy doesn't have enough milk. Supplement. Why has the society turned into the number one enemy of breastfeeding? When babies demand more time latched on, it is because they need it to stimulate milk production. When baby gets fussy because they are hungry often it is because mommy needs more stimulation to produce more milk. These are all natural process. Nature's way to help moms regulate their milk production. But instead of letting nature take its own course, people interrumpt it with pushing moms to provide formula. Isn't that a disgrace? Not only did I personally experienced this but have seen happening to other moms and new moms - know. Some mommies would give in to this social pressure especially when the pressure comes from other "experienced" moms, such as their own moms or mother-in-laws. Why wouldn't they? These very same people are people they trust. What I don't understand is that after all our moms and other moms of the old times took care of their children when formulas are unheard of, they've started to become advocates of it. It's like formulas are so great they are here to make braestfeeding a lot easier. No sir. Nah-ah. Formula is what kills breastfeeding. I have nothing against formula. Feeding one's baby with formnula is one's choice. And choosing that doesn't make a mom a bad mom. Not at all. It's the same with breastfeeding... it's one's choice.  And I do believe that when a mom chose to breastfeed, she should be respected and supported and not be pushed towards using formula. Sure, breastfeeding is a lot of work especially at the beginning. Almost all the moms and moms-to-be I know always says they would if they can. Of course they can. The sad truth is that the society would come to making them believe that they don't have enough milk so they need to combine breastfeeding with formula and then slowly, towards formula feeding exclusively.

Mothers are becoming victims of the battle between breastfeeding and society. The problem is that we are unsuspecting of this battle and so, fall victim of prematurely ending milk production. Until now, i get social pressure about giving formula even from my own pediatrician. When I told her one day that lately, Tala is waking up at the middle of the night so I wonder if something's wrong. What do you know...her immediate reply is for me to give formula at the last take of the day. She told me I probably don't have enough milk anymore. I should trust her as she is the expert and has degree about children's health but I asked myself what is her basis on saying that I don't have enough milk? Tala is gaining weight with a high percentile. Sheks very active and happy baby. I don't understand. People can curse for disobeying our pedia but let's just say I'm stubborn. I mentioned this to my midwife and here's her take on it: Little Spanish Pinay is in a period if rapid growth and so gets hungry easily and demands more milk especially at night. So she asks for milk more often to also stimulate the breast and tell my brain that it needs to produce more hormones for milk production as she is growing fast and thus needs more milk. Now that, I can accept. So for now, there'll be more waking up at nights. My midwife's last statement: Don't give up. 

It's a battle and as promised, not to my midwife but to my very own Little Spanish Pinay, I won't give up.  So help me God.

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