Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Joys and Benefits of Breastfeeding

Before anyone assume that I maybe pregnant or plans on breastfeeding very soon, allow me to correct those wrong assumptions (if any) that first, I am not pregnant and second, have no plans of breastfeeding again. Heavens, after seven kids who have an endless appetite for food,laughter, feel good movies and with attitude that give me all sorts of headaches, I believe I have done my contribution well enough to say "NO."

So why did I choose to write about the joys of breastfeeding and its benefits then? Simply because out of my seven kids, five have been breastfed and such experience brought a lot of good memories for me and my children. Why only five and not all of them ? Because I did not know how to do it right with my eldest daughter. As for my fifth child who happened to be a boy, I often wondered if he was a lost descendant of Count Dracula. I would rather not write about the graphic details on how he breastfed but I was afraid that time that I will not be able endure the pain so I chose to bottle fed him early. As for the other five, it was like a walk in the park when I breastfed them  especially with my youngest son who did not give me any problems at all,until he started walking that is.


 So why did I choose to breastfeed?

At the time I had my children, I was unemployed. Thus it was very practical to breastfed not only to save on money but because it was very convenient especially during the baby's nap time and in the evenings when you put him to sleep. The mere fact that yo do not have to get up and mix the formula was a great help especially if you do not have any hired help. Also, breastfeeding was such a great way to bond with your child. You do not only get to look at your baby's beautiful face but you could comb his hair, clean his ear, cut his fingernails all in ease while breastfeeding at the same time. You could even talk or sing to him as well. But the most important thing is to you get to catch up on some sleep especially during the evenings when you needed rest most of all.

There might be first time Moms who have difficulty on breastfeeding their babies which was to be expected. Before any mother can breastfed, preparations need to be made so that her milk will flow naturally. Allow me to share some tips handed  down by my own Mom who also had breastfed my siblings and I for two years at least.

First, have time to massage your breasts especially on the last trimester of your pregnancy. Though some women already lactate while they were still pregnant, others need time for their milk to flow. Massaging your breasts and cleaning your nipples with warm water will help a lot to open the ducts so milk can flow easily.

Second, eat lots of food rich in iron. Malungay or Moringa leaves  and "dahon ng sili"  are a great source of iron. You can put Malungay leaves especially in " chicken or fish tinola." Food like "sinigang"  "nilaga," "tulya," or any variety of soup  will surely increase the flow of breast milk. And if you find such food choices a bit fancy for the budget, you can be creative. You can try "sinigang na salmon,"(if you have canned salmon) or "mongo." Even drinking milk or hot chocolate will help increase your supply of breast milk. Now if you are one person who do not eat those kind of food then it is about time you learn how, that is if you really want to breastfeed and save a lot of money.



Third, breastfeed your baby from day one. If you feel that your milk is not enough to satisfy your baby, then do not loose hope easily and be tempted to bottle feed him. Be patient not just to your newborn but to yourself as well. The more you breastfeed your baby, the easier for the milk to flow easily.

Fourth, if you do not have a maid or a baby sitter and your baby is wailing to be breastfed, take a few minutes to rest if you were in the middle of finishing a chore or you just arrived from work. This is to prevent your baby from "digesting the milk coupled with stress,' which is not good because it will just be wasted. You might be surprised that your baby will not be able to digest it properly and will just poo the breast milk that he got from feeding while you were tired or stressed out. The same thing if you were emotional and were thinking unhappy thoughts while breast feeding. Thus it is advisable to breastfeed while you are relax and full of positivity which not only helps the flow of milk easier but your baby's physical and his emotional well being as well.

Fifth, if you have been breastfeeding exclusively and decides to mix feed your baby, do it gradually so your baby can adjust as well. You can even talk to him and explain the reason why. That's what I did to my children and even if they were already mix fed, I made sure that breastfeeding was still enjoyable for both of us.

These are just some of the tips that one may find helpful especially if they were having second thoughts about breastfeeding. Personally, I really do not agree when some mothers say that their babies do not like their milk. Either they gave in easily or just decided to bottle fed their babies early. Generally, all mothers have the capacity to produce milk and breastfeed. Though breastfeeding is a choice, it really does not matter if you decide to do it exclusively for as long as you want to, mix feed early or bottle feed your baby from day one. As long as every Mom is fully aware of every choice that one makes and accepts the consequences after that, then that will just be okay.

So for all the Moms who have chosen to breastfeed your children, let them know your stories once they are old enough to understand. It will may just be one of the most treasured memories that you will look back and hopefully learn from it all.