I love watching telenovelas, local and foreign. One of my favorite shows currently is Jane The Virgin.
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I really like the story line of a pregnant virgin, due to wrong insemination, and how she copes up with her life and her plans with the unplanned pregnancy. The story has a very light take in life, and how it can sometimes be like the ones you watch in mexican telenovelas. Has a lot of ups and downs, but still continues because that is just how life is. Anyway, one of the reasons why I liked it even more was because it highlighted Jane’s desire to exclusively breastfeed Matteo. This is very new to me because local shows here in the Philippines seem bent to highlight formula milk as part of their story line. It will always be like this:
Mom and dad fights because mom will ask dad for money to be used to buy formula milk for their child
Single mom or mom needs money asks a relative for money to buy her child formula milk
This is a bit disappointing because it is becoming a repetitive theme. I know two shows from ABS-CBN that used this story line instead of promoting breastfeeding (Nathaniel and Ang Probinsyano). The question in my mind is why this is becoming a part of their programming instead of promoting breast feeding? I just wanted to put it out there, you know. Because it doesn’t really help us breastfeeding moms push forward the advocacy of normalizing breastfeeding. Why? Because even media outfits highlight formula feeding (believe me I don’t have anything against formula feeding because Alex was given formula for two weeks) instead of mixing it up and adding breastfeeding to their main story line.
Now this is why I like Jane The Virgin. From season 1 it became a show that felt closer to what some moms experience – going to classes and even discovering baby wearing! What made me fall in love more with this show is the first two episodes (well granted that they only aired two episodes, but those two were just packed with amazing real mommy goodness).
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For the first episode, let us set aside the part wherein Matteo was kidnapped. Jane felt for a time that she wasn’t being the best mom that she can be to Matteo. Why? Because they were having problems, with her milk coming in and with Matteo’s latch. This is such a big issue that breastfeeding moms experience, even I experienced this and sadly I resorted to the top-up method. This is the reason why Alex was given formula for 2 weeks, I didn’t believe in my body’s capacity to produce milk (sadly I became a member of Breastfeeding Pinays a few months after I gave birth to Alex). This top-up approach is not really beneficial for mommy and baby, because mommy won’t be able to respond well to baby’s need to eat therefore lesser milk will be produced. This is why Jane said that it is not an option for her (good for your Jane!).
Jane instead attend a lactation class, wherein she was told to shove her boob whenever Matteo latches to help improve her latch. But still Jane wasn’t confident that her body is producing enough milk for him. Why, you may ask. The silly baby is feeding every 30 minutes, which after Rafael’s research is because he was cluster feeding! Ah, made so much sense and lo and behold Jane’s milk came in and Matteo gained weight (as shared by his pedia after his second check up).
Now, this is where I would want to say thank you to the writers of Jane The Virgin. What you did for that episode and the whole deal when Jane struggled to breastfeed Matteo was amazing. It is something that moms can relate to and at the same time it helped normalize breastfeeding (and even share what moms experience). This is something that I hope and wish local shows would do, promote breastfeeding. Normalize it so that moms would discover another alternative to formula milk. This is so that moms will be curious about it and be able to discover the choices that she has in feeding her new born child (so that she will not automatically think of formula milk as the default route).
As a last note, I am not against formula feeding or mix feeding what I am for is informed decision making which seems to be lacking nowadays. To share, again as I mentioned already Alex was formula fed, mix fed and eventually was exclusively breast fed until today. The decision to breastfeed her was because I wanted to provide what I think is best for her after doing as much research as I can.