When I started this blog, I knew that one of my posts would definitely be about breastfeeding. It’s been one of the many blessings I thank God for everyday, and has been a healthy reminder of His design and how that is always the best course to take. As I mentioned in my previous post, my son Gabbie was born prematurely and when he was born, he was fed through a tube that went straight to his gut. Seeing him so small and fragile, I knew instinctively, even without prior knowledge to the immense benefits of breastmilk at that time, that my milk would help him, and that cow’s milk would hurt his premature digestive tract more. (True enough, one fellow mom at the hospital shared her story of how she was unable to produce enough milk and so had to feed her baby Nan. Her baby would only poop once every three to four days and would strain hard just to do so. Her baby was as small as Gabbie at that time—barely 2 Kgs). I do believe that every mother CAN produce breastmilk, but not every mother knows or believes she can. With the lack of knowledge and support, coupled with the aggressive marketing of infant formula manufacturing companies that make formula feeding seem so much easier, breastfeeding is just deemed too hard or even impossible. But believe me, it is neither. Allow me to share my personal experience with breastfeeding:
- · Breastmilk contains antibodies that boost my baby’s immunity from many kinds of infections and viruses. That’s the kind of panatag that I enjoyed especially since my baby was born prematurely hence, more susceptible to viruses and diseases.
- · Optimum nutrition. Gabbie was born barely three pounds. Now, his weight is right where it should be for his adjusted age. He’s healthy, strong and heavy!
- · Matchless bonding sessions. I missed my baby for more than a month after I delivered him. Breastfeeding sessions were exactly what we both needed to feel the love, warmth and provision.
- · Forced rest for me. We have a new baby, we don’t have household help, and my to-do’s just keep on coming. But with Gabbie asking to nurse every two hours (Yes, every two hours still!), I’m forced to sit, rest, hold him close and spend some quiet time, read, watch TV, or go online.
- · Sleep-inducer for baby. When Gabbie is sleepy or fussy, breast is the answer. It comforts him and calms him.
- · I have a happy baby. The moment he opens his eyes in the morning, he smiles. He smiles at people, he shrieks in delight at Gigglebellies videos, he babbles and giggles when talked to. I do believe breastfeeding has not only given him food for survival, it helped him thrive.
Why do I believe that every mother can produce breastmilk? It’s simple. If God gave you a baby, wouldn’t He also give you the provision for your little one?
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Matthew 6:26
And when God gives, it is good, pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2). Read about breastfeeding benefits in a nutshell and see just how mom’s milk was created to be the best for baby: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfeeding/why-breast-best/breastfeeding-benefits-top-bottom
|The happy breastfeeding pair|
From my experience, research and support were very essential in helping me persevere. Two of the most important things to take care of first and foremost are to establish milk supply and for baby to develop or maintain a good latch. I had to work on both since my baby was not with me for the first several weeks. So I had to pump milk every two hours, as if he was with me already, and gave the supply to the hospital. This helped me set up a good supply in time for Gabbie’s most-awaited arrival. However, when I finally got to nurse him, it took awhile since he was used to being fed effortlessly through a tube. His latch was wrong and was painful for me. This is where support is very much needed. Hubby was great and our friend, certified lactation counselor Abbie Venida Yabut (0917-8292268)of La Leche League http://www.llli.org/philippines.html helped baby with his latch, and other BF issues. I also went to see a lactation specialist medical doctor, Dr. Pat Kho (0917-8505872) at Makati Medical City. There are also many support groups online and mommy blogs (I follow Chronicles of A Nursing Mom) to help moms gain more knowledge and support.
Motherhood may be challenging but breastfeeding really helped me enjoy my nurturing instincts as a mom—to be able to provide nourishment, comfort, security and love to our baby. And I realize those are the very things that God provide for me too as His child. Indeed, parenthood is one of the best perspectives in understanding God and His heart, and breastfeeding has been one of His instruments in helping me act out what I now understand.