For Mommy Abbey, breastfeeding is an intimate journey that has brought her closer than ever to her newborn, Joey. While there may be challenges along the way, the benefits of breastfeeding are tremendous. She emphasizes, “[Breastfeeding] has given me a chance to get to know my baby’s cues and address her needs myself, which I think is a good foundation for trust and communication between mother and child.”
While still pregnant with baby Joey, Abbey dedicated ample time into understanding the different facets of motherhood, including breastfeeding, as she was expecting her first ever child. She learned the different styles of how to hold her baby, as well as what signs to look for to ensure proper latching and breastfeeding.
However, having a newborn may come with its fair share of trials that can’t be taught. While Abbey was fortunate in that Joey would latch properly onto her breasts, her difficulties came in the events that succeed breastfeeding ― the spit-up, or the stomach contents that flow out of the baby’s mouth. “Yes, I was worried because my baby would have a lot of spit up. This is common for the first few months and other moms and doctors tell me spit up will lessen as they get older. To help with the spit up, I make sure to keep my baby upright for a longer time, at least 20 minutes, after her feedings,” Abbey recalls.
When looking back at her first experiences with breastfeeding, Abbey shares how she would have eaten more nutritious food much earlier. Having breastfed Joey for over 3 months now, she realizes the impact that her nutrition has on her breastmilk and, consequently, on her child’s development. She also recounts instances where she would try to incorporate foods that she had before getting pregnant, and how these affected Joey’s behavior. Once, she had tried to add coffee back to her diet, only for Joey to be very fussy the whole day!
Of course, these experiences may be unique to Abbey’s breastfeeding journey; each mother has the power and freedom to discover what breastfeeding styles work for their own children. However different a mother's experience may be, no one should go through this alone. Family and friends can support breastfeeding mommies in simple ways, such as providing meals or caring for the baby in between breastfeeding periods. Abbey adds, "Whether [breastfeeding is] a difficult journey or an easy one, ask how you can help."
Breastfeeding is no simple task and requires giving a lot of attention to your baby. As exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of life, mothers will need a lot of support in caring for their baby. As daunting as this may sound, this act of love creates closer bonds with the baby and helps in their overall development.
Abbey leaves breastfeeding mommies with 2 simple pieces of advice: "My number 1 advice is to learn to make your baby latch properly. Number 2 is, if you need validation, consult a lactation coach, they are your breast friends."
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.