The most beautiful moment in my life was about to happen. I would finally cradle my firstborn in my arms. But February 1986 looked bleak. There were rumors of an impending civil war. I turned to my husband “what now?” He hugged my worries away and laid out a plan. We will head off to Benguet, safe and sound from any gunfire. The thought of being far from civilization frightened me. Will we survive? Without a doubt, I wanted to breastfeed my baby but I only had breastfeeding books to read. I had no mentor because my mom died when I was a teen. No breastfeeding clinics either. Pediatricians prescribed formula milk right after delivery.
Though the civil war never happened, I was still determined to breastfeed. To motivate myself, I pictured this scenario: “Imagine yourself, isolated in the mountains without any access to stores. Just you and your baby. How will you feed your baby? ” I imagined I could feed myself but my baby would be dependent on me.
It was not easy at first because my nipple hurt a lot but I persevered and thought about the health benefits. My baby enjoyed the benefits of "Colostrum (or better known as liquid gold)," the first liquid that comes out for the first few days. Imagine, my baby receiving this very rich source of protein and, most of all, immune bodies – to fight off infections.
Breastfeeding provided me opportunity to sleep with my baby as I nursed her. I never had sleepless nights. The skin-to-skin contact also helps in transferring good bacteria from my skin to my baby.
I also reaped benefits from breastfeeding. Studies show that breastfeeding increases the release of oxytocin, a hormone that causes the uterus to contract and help it regain its normal size faster, and eventually leads to faster weight loss for me. I was back to my slender figure when my baby was four months old.
Mothers are also assured of good protection against pregnancy at least for the first six months, if they are exclusively breastfeeding, which means the baby is fed only breast milk (not even water). After the sixth month, when other foods are introduced, breastfeeding times may become lesser, so the protection no longer holds true.
Breastfeeding is now an advocacy in my blog since 2007. The breastfeeding advocacy includes protection, promotion, and support. “Protection means you fight those people who are fooling us. Promotion, that you make mothers want to breastfeed. And support, because even mothers who want to breastfeed need to be supported. They don’t have models to guide them; their own mothers didn’t do it anymore. And people around them are using bottles. So even if mothers decide to breastfeed, if there is nobody to help them, they end up succumbing to social pressure.”
That beautiful moment in your life will soon happen. Let me know if you need any breastfeeding support and information.