August is the birth month of my eldest and second child, and this month also marks my 6th year of motherhood and breastfeeding. Yes, 6 years of “incredible” motherhood. I can still remember day one: I was in the hospital awake for more than 24 hours with the baby I longed to see and touch for nine months– this time latched on me all day (and night) long. The mixed feeling of happiness and exhaustion. Plus the frustration when she cries aloud when I try to unlatch her. I am crying out of sleeplessness and pain. Being a first-time mom, I felt not enough, aggravated by the spectators around me. I almost gave up in my few weeks of postpartum, I even questioned my decision to exclusively breastfeed, ”Can I really do it?” It’s not easy to be a breastfeeding mom. But again, it’s a decision, and I told myself I’m going to stick with it.
With all the challenges I experienced in my breastfeeding journey, it is so easy to resort to formulas. Let’s face it, it’s easier to mix formula than to pump precious milk out of your breast or latch your little one almost all day if you’re direct feeding.
But why did I choose to breastfeed despite of?
Aside from the economic advantage for us moms, (I can’t stress out more than enough the idea of saving money if you choose to breastfeed. You can do your own math and wow yourself) what is more amazing is how liquid gold provides the best nutrition to our babies and brings impressive health benefits both to us and them. Today, more efforts are being done to promote and normalize breastfeeding as it is really a natural, God-given gift to both the mom and the child. Oh yes, let’s include the dads; because breastfeeding is really a gift for the whole family!
Like the other first time breastfeeding moms, there was also a moment when I doubted myself if my baby is getting enough or am I producing enough. There were more questions than answers. But what I am certain about is I am a mother and I am made to nourish my baby. I don’t have overflowing milk but I can say that my breastfeeding powers improved every child. I have learned many things from my supportive co-breastfeeding moms that I personally applied in my breastfeeding journey (and worked!) that I would like to share with you. Here are some of them:
What you eat, your baby eats also. So I keep in mind to eat meals heavy on fruits and vegetables. It is important that we fuel our body with healthy, nutrient-rich foods after giving birth. We need to be healthy and strong so we can take care of our kids without neglecting our own health. Include foods rich in Folic acid, iron, and calcium in your diet. The healthier we are, the more suit our body to produce milk.
Top of my list is the nutritional powerhouse, Malunggay. I include this superfood to recipes and also take it in any form there is available like tea, juice, and supplement. In my experience, aside from its superb health benefits, it also helped boost my milk supply.
Keep yourself hydrated.
Depending on your activities and location, nursing moms just really need 8-10 glasses of water. It really varies how much water a person needs, for instance, in my case, I drink no less than 2 liters of water (not including other healthy drinks and soups) daily to keep myself from dehydration.
Stress can sometimes lead to low milk supply. Nursing is both a physical and a psychological thing—if you can stay relaxed, think about the happy aspects of parenthood and your new baby and remain confident about breastfeeding, you boost your chances of success. The usual reason why newly nursing moms are stressed is because of some people criticizing their decision to breastfeed. Try not to mind them and instead, educate them with the wonderful blessings brought by breastfeeding.
Find time for relaxation.
Huh? Relaxation what?! For moms? Yes! No matter how busy our schedules can get, we moms need some time off. Seek help from your husband or family members to relieve you for a while in taking care of your newborn just for you to have some time to breathe. Don’t feel guilty about asking for support. Just think about it as giving yourself some time to rejuvenate so you can be the best mom you can be. A relaxed mind and body help increase milk production. For my relaxation, I always have Oleia Topical oil bottle in handy. It helps me de-stress and also effectively relieve my body pains from a long, tiring day.
Latch. Latch. Latch.
Breastfeeding follows the system of “Demand and Supply”. The more the baby latches and empties the breast, the more that the breast will produce milk. Added bonus: when your baby completely empties a breast, they are sure to get all the foremilk and fatty hindmilk behind it, which is great for their development. Aside from unlimited latching, I used to tandem feed my kids when one birth overlaps with a toddler. Pumping also helps increase production, though I find hand expressing more convenient and healthier for the breast tissues.
Have a Breastfeeding Support Group.
I wouldn’t have made it where I am today without my breastfeeding support group. When I was a new nursing mom, I felt like giving up with my decision to breastfeed because of some circumstances (the idea of low milk supply, family members discouraging me) but because of my more knowledgeable and experienced co-breastfeeding mothers that supported and encouraged me, I am here, celebrating my 6th-year milestone. Having them is like a genuine treasure a nursing mom could ever find. We share ideas and challenges and support each other. This could be your husband, family members, friends, or even strangers walking the same journey of breastfeeding.
Lastly, Enjoy the journey with your little one! Breastfeeding is not permanent. One day your child will wean whether you like it or not. Your little one will no longer be a little one in a few months or years. Their clinginess will soon be gone before you know it. Overcome the challenges of breastfeeding together. Cuddling, playing, nursing day in and day out… all of these you will miss one day when they are babies no more. So enjoy and treasure every breastfeeding bonding moments you have.
Oleia honors all breastfeeding moms. Your sacrifices to make your breastfeeding journey successful means pure love for your child that no one can replace. If you are pregnant and thinking of breastfeeding, I congratulate you in advance! It may be difficult in the start but rest assured you will soon get the hang of it and you are giving your best of the bests to your child. Enjoy the journey, mommy!