Friday, February 14, 2014

Breastfeeding is Love: Why I breastfeed 'til 2 and beyond

When I got pregnant with my eldest, I never knew anything about breastfeeding. I was fed with formula. My sister was given formula. My aunt gave up breastfeeding and pumping milk by the second month, as far as I could remember when they lived with us and I remember her using that "bicycle" horn pump that was the manual pump in the 90s (which I learned later on was very unsanitary). But I was determined not to wake up in the middle of the middle, measuring powder, testing water temperatures, and then finally giving that formula to a hungry, cranky newborn.

So I researched all that I could about breastfeeding, and learned all about the benefits of breastmilk, especially to those whose families have allergies, genetically inherited diseases, etc. I went to free breastfeeding talks (because honestly, J wouldn't tag along with me if there was a fee and I need my driver), attended the first Baby Shower by Medela Moms and The Breastfeeding Club... and then I gave birth.

The first few days went on a blur. I was constantly breastfeeding Jake. I endured engorgement, sore nipples, cracked nipples (thankfully, not to the point of bleeding nipples), sleepless nights, continuous baby carrying, little to no breaks... And then it got easier. At this point, I was back to work, lugging my breast pump to keep up with the supply and demand of my eldest, and then direct-feeding once I'm home. And this is when I can say that breastfeeding is love.

It is difficult for a working mother to continue breastfeeding her child once her maternity leave has ended. There's the question of where she can pump, how to set expectations with her boss about having a strict pumping schedule, bringing the breastpump and accessories, then bringing home the expressed milk. And she would be repeating this cycle for the next... oh, I don't know. At least 18 months? It's no wonder a lot would give up breastfeeding their children by around the sixth month and succumbing to the colorful and enticing advertisements of formula milk.

But I didn't give up. I love my son and because of this, I love breastfeeding. I love giving my child the best start in life. I love knowing that I am providing him exactly what he needs at that time of day, at his age. And I love the bonding that we share, that quiet moment when he nurses from me when I am home. Why else would I lug my pump, the insulated bag, bottles, flanges, aside from my usual office bag paraphernalia? Why else would I bring my pump and remembering to express milk when I went to dinner outs with my friends? Why else would I limit my outings, my "me" times so I could go home and nurse directly instead of pumping milk and prolonging my absence from my child?

It's a sacrifice I am willing to make, and did again, for my second son.

It's now two months since I stopped expressing milk for my youngest son, tho sometimes it feels longer than that. We have not stopped breastfeeding, though. In fact, as soon as I arrive home, bag and all, Gabby would already ask for milk. And he could not be persuaded otherwise even if I wanted to pee, or to change clothes. And I would most of the time let him. Because I love him. Because I love breastfeeding him. Because I love knowing he still gets what he needs at that time of the day at his age of 22 months. Because I love reconnecting with him after being away in the office for almost half of a day. And I would continue to do so until he says he doesn't want to nurse anymore. When he says he's too old to be breastfeeding from mom. Or when I get pregnant again and I can't imagine how to position myself or him.

This post is part of the "Breastfeeding is Love" blog link up party. 
Please feel free to visit other posts from fellow mommy bloggers on the joys of breastfeeding! 

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Louisa said...

I admire mom who breastfeed even when they still work especially those who work outside the home. I also did that for a time and I can relate to the difficulty, especially when finding the time and place to express at work. I was so determined to breastfeed my child and spend as much time with him as possible which is what started my journey to working at home. :)

Teresa said...

Congratulations on breastfeeding your kids that long! Breastfeeding is indeed no easy task but it's very rewarding both for mom and child.

Sally Yu said...

Hi Mommy Pat,

Upon reading your post, I really can relate to your narration from how you started attending breastfeeding talks down to limiting your outings. That's also how I went through. Now that my child is already 14 months old, I only express milk when I know I will be out. Same here, I love how my baby would sign and ask for milk once I got home from my half-day outside errands. It really feels comforting, relaxing and sweet, knowing that somebody needs you for nourishment and soothing. :)

The Binondo Mommy

Mitz Leviste said...

I admire breastfeeding working moms! It's such a challenge to work and continue breastfeeding at the same time. I'm fortunate to be able to work from home. If not, I can't imagine how I would be able to pump with my super hectic and stressful corporate job before! Kudos to you mommy Pat!