My breastfeeding journey with my first child was difficult. I wasn’t able to keep her full with my breast milk and I knew my daughter felt how sad I was. Because I wasn’t able to give enough breast milk, we had to mix feed our firstborn. I was in denial at that time so it was a tough hurdle which I had to face and let go. My breastfeeding journey with my second child now is very different. I have so much milk! Breastfeeding has helped me through my postpartum. It’s been tough and very tiring, but I feel more love and joy this time. I am grateful to be able to feed him enough and that we finish milk sessions so quickly. I’ve been kinder to myself and just loving myself more.
I am now in my fifth month of breastfeeding and I’m so thankful that I even get to share my breast milk to others. I’ve been trying to pump more than four to five times a day to strengthen my output. If there was something I wish I did when I started breastfeeding my first child, it would be to be more informed and to join communities through Facebook because that helped a lot for my second child. For my firstborn, I pumped in between sessions because I knew that I needed to prepare breast milk for her when I would return to work. However, the people around me, who did not breastfeed, told me to stop, just sleep, and “lalakas din yan”. I stopped pumping and my milk production for my first child never got stronger. I felt so sad during those moments. I cried over it and had so many sleepless nights because I knew my firstborn would wake up every hour because she wasn’t full. Despite this, I planned on being more informed, and this allowed me to prepare for my second child more than ever.
When it comes to donating breast milk, I was so worried at first. With my first child, I was able to donate for a month but I had to stop because I noticed my milk production wasn’t getting “strong” and I thought that by pumping more, I was losing more. I had not realized that being able to donate and pumping more milk made would actually be the key to increasing my milk output. I am always grateful for every drop I get to donate. Donating is very rewarding too! It made me more confident and appreciate myself more. I could not thank God more for this beautiful gift that I could share with others. It’s so important to help those in need, especially babies in hospitals who have either lost their moms or moms who do not have milk at all.
Breastfeeding is a journey for you and your baby. Breastfeeding is so beautiful! I hope that us moms can freely breastfeed our children anywhere and that people become more respectful with our choice to exclusively breastfeed our children in public. I hope that society gives the much needed respect to moms breastfeeding their children. For us moms, may we give ourselves the much needed kindness to understand that every baby grows differently with breastmilk, and what’s important is focusing on our baby's needs; not to compare with one another, but rather to and enjoy this wonderful journey.
To all the new mommies reading this, we don’t know yet how your breastfeeding journey will be. Be patient and be kind with yourself. Be informed and be accepting. Focus on yourself and on how you can make the most out of this lovely journey with you and your child. And once you’re comfortable with sharing your supply, if you’re thinking of donating your breastmilk, enjoy the process and put your heart into it. Donating is fun and rewarding. Last but not least, hydrate! Hydrate! And hydrate! Take it from me; take it easy and don’t stress out. Give what you can give!
I began my breastfeeding journey right at the start of the pandemic. I had been working as a resident doctor, so I am away most of the day. Breastfeeding is the way my baby and I bond whenever I’m at home. The physical intimacy, and the emotional and psychological relationship formed during breastfeeding, have created a priceless bonding experience between me and my son. It’s an instant boost of happiness and calmness, especially during a busy day.
Throughout these months of breastfeeding, I realized how amazing the human body is for being able to produce breast milk. Mothers’ breast milk is perfect for human babies because it’s a species-specific whole milk packed with the nutrients necessary for proper growth and development.
If you’re a new mom who is just starting your breastfeeding journey, I encourage you to research, join support groups, talk to other moms, and ask questions! I became a new mom just when the pandemic broke out so it was very isolating. In addition to talking to the moms in my life, I joined Viber and Facebook communities to learn more about breastfeeding. My personal favorite is Dr. MILK, a support group for physician moms, where I got lots of advice about pumping and maintaining my milk supply despite the busy schedule of residency. Joining this support group also provided me with much needed reassurance and support.
If you’re not a mom, but know or see someone who is, know that the best thing you can do for them is support them. Support and protect breastfeeding and breastfeeding moms and their families, and do not neglect to also support and protect moms who choose to use formula for one reason or another. Fed is best! Happy and healthy moms mean happy and healthy babies.
In line with our objective to empower Filipino mothers to breastfeed, Milk Matters presents Express Yourself, an online movement that sheds light on the breastfeeding experiences of Filipino mothers, families, doctors, nurses, and other members of society. Our vision is to inspire other mothers to continue breastfeeding through these stories.