Yesterday, my little girl turned one! (YAAAAY)
I met my first big goal as her mum, which is to breastfeed her exclusively for a year. Great big pat on the back for me (woot woot!). I never really thought that I will be able to complete breastfeeding my tiny human for 12 whole months! Why? I usually hear moms saying (even my own mum) that the milk just goes away after 6 months or that the milk is not enough that is why they switch to formula or they get sick and switch to formula. While I totally understand mummies who mix feed or formula feed their tiny humans, I had set that goal of mine even before she was born and I was determined to keep at it for as long as I can.
To say that my breastfeeding journey was a walk to the park would be an untrue documentation of my experience. I did go through a lot of downs which almost made me quit in giving her my liquid gold, but discipline, determination, and confidence in myself helped me push through. (ACHIEVE!) I mean, I experienced having an extremely low output (at 2-3 oz per pump) when I had to deal with extreme work deliverables paired with 5 hours of sleep. Still I pushed through and decided to help myself by going crazy over lactation treats.
The biggest challenge I faced was acquiring chicken pox! In my mind, how will I continue breastfeeding my bunny when I have pox all over my body? Can I breastfeed her even if I have it? Can I still pump even I have pox? Will my meds be bad for her?
So I researched and researched, and I did find the answer thanks to the breastfeeding groups I was a member of. I persisted in breastfeeding her. My aunt, mum, dad, and e took care of her while I was sick. I pumped in the morning, but eventually direct latched her just making sure that I cover my whole body and just expose ’em mountains. I will hand her off to my mum, dad, aunt, or e after. I wasn’t allowed to carry her or kiss her or hug her until the pox faded. At night, before we enter our room I sprayed lots and lots of Lysol and again covered my whole body, just exposing ’em mountains as she slept next to me. This was us for a week and a half. Thankfully she never got the pox, and I succeeded in breastfeeding her even if I had the pox. (If you have it and your breastfeeding, suggest you continue breastfeeding. Chicken pox has a two week incubation period meaning your tiny human was already exposed to it so she actually needs your milk more!)
Now, even if I hear other people telling me that I don’t have milk anymore and should switch to formula I just say no. I still have a bigger goal in mind, which is to breastfeed her for 2 years. I have learned from my experience that you need not have expensive electric pumps or a freezer filled with breast milk just to succeed in your choice to breastfeed your tiny human. What you need is:
- Confidence and support – this is the most important thing, mommy! You need to believe in yourself, that you can do it. When you believe in your body’s capability to provide for your tiny human you will see that your milk will keep on flowing. Of course you will need support from your hubby. Don’t mind what other people say, but you should get him on the same boat. Thankfully E is very supportive, he is a registered nurse so he knows the benefits of breastmilk
- Discipline and Determination – This is second most important must have mum. As a working mommy, I have scheduled pumping sessions. Thrice a day, every 3 hours. So that’s at 10 AM/1 PM/4 PM. Of course there are times when I miss out on a pumping session, but I make sure that I make up for it the next day. It’s a law of supply and demand at work here. When you pump you empty the milk out which triggers your body to produce milk again. You should also set goals for yourself, just so that you will be determined to keep at your breastfeeding journey
- Water, lots of water – Drink as many as you possibly can. Seriously! You need it. You will even fill that thirst that seems to never go away every time your tiny human nurses or when you pump. (Just as if you are in a dessert for days)
- Support Group of Breastfeeding Moms – This I found through Breastfeeding Pinays and Breastfeeding Advocates Group on Facebook. I learned a lot of things from mums and also got support from mums here.
I’m finished with my first big goal, now I am back to my tiny goals. Aim now is to meet 15 mos!
3 months to go