As I go through motherhood, a lot of things came across my way. I was a first-time mom at the age of 25. I was clueless and did not exactly know what to expect. When I gave birth to my son, Dave having only my heart and soul, nothing much to offer, nothing much to give. One of the biggest challenges for first time mothers is breastfeeding. Admittedly, among my 3 children, Dave was the only one whom I have not breastfed. I did not have enough knowledge about breastfeeding back then. And truthfully, I was not really determined to pursue breastfeeding at all. That indeed was something I regret until this very moment.
Fast forward, when I had Jaslene, almost 4 years after. I was more drawn into learning the basics of breastfeeding. I had become more mature and my support system was truly incredible. My husband was all for breastfeeding. He even bought every breastfeeding essentials that he thought could make my life as a breastfeeding mom as easier as it could be. I successfully breastfed for 9 whole months, but eventually had to give up because I did not have the luxury of time to express my milk in the office on a timely manner. I know I could have done more than that and I wish I did.
Then in 2018, I was blessed to be a mother for the third time. Maddie came in the wee hours of that day. Unfortunately, she was not able to latch on me right away. Because of an infection, she needed to be placed in the NICU for medication. I was really disappointed. I felt so bad that I was all geared up ready to breastfeed but I couldn’t, my Maddie just couldn’t. Maddie stayed in the NICU for a few more days.
I expressed my milk tirelessly every other hour to boost my milk supply and so I can bring something in the hospital every time I visit my newborn. Everyday, I was getting ready for the big day when she can finally be nourished directly through by breast. I regained my strength I was inspired to do my utmost to feed my baby as soon as I could hold her in my arms. I was able to directly feed her 5 days post-partum and that was truly an amazing and fulfilling experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Maddie is 18 months old now and I don’t see any sign of her weaning. Although, I hear a lot of comments that she is now too big to breastfeed, I am keener on continuing to feed her until she decides that it is finally time to kiss my breast goodbye. I still love to feed her, to hold her and to embrace her even if it means that she cartwheels on me most of the time. I no longer feel embarrassed breastfeeding in public and I keep my head up high each and every time. Also, I stopped thinking that my milk is not enough. In my heart of hearts, I know that it will always be sufficient. I will always be enough.
Just this month, my niece gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Like any other first-time moms, she is really having a very difficult time to breastfeed. From inverted nipples, to low milk supply, to engorgement of her breasts, everything seems not falling into place. Looking at her, I saw the 25-year old me, struggling, barely hanging and even questioning whether I can give something to my baby or not.
I didn’t want her to give up on breastfeeding her daughter Bailey so easily just like I did almost 11 years ago. So, I made myself available round the clock to provide anything I can. I was a cheerleader; I was a fan of each of her breastfeeding milestones. And oh, did I mention that up to this time, I still breastfeeds my grand-niece (Yes! I am a breastfeeding Lola and I love it!!) from time to time which I enjoy so much!
I can’t imagine the day, when my breast will no longer breastfeed both Maddie and Bailey. Maybe I will somehow feel a longing or may be feel heartbroken too. But I will continue on, as long as my breasts are needed. And giving all the love I’ve got.
But if the day comes that direct breastfeeding is no longer an option for me, I will still be a cheerleader, a fan, an encourager and a believer that breastfeeding mothers can give enough nourishment and love not only to their own child but to every child whose mother is going through breastfeeding challenges as well. Making a difference is not only for us. But the impact will be much bigger, when it is shared to our fellow mothers!
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