Today’s guest post is written by Rachel Bernardino
. She talks about how much commitment is necessary to really succeed in breastfeeding.
Honestly I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I decided to breastfeed. All I knew it was the most logical thing to do. My best friends breastfed their children. One of them is still breastfeeding her almost 3yo son. My sister breastfed my niece for one year. So I thought if they could do it so can I.
So, I attended the Breastfeeding Seminar at Medical City last July 10, 2010. I was engaged. I asked questions. I read books about breastfeeding. I researched and read online. I thought I prepared myself well for breastfeeding.
All these resources said, Breastfeeding is a commitment. What I didn’t know is that it was a COMMITMENT with all caps and bold letters if you will.
During the first 3 months, my son breastfed every hour! Part of the deal right? Check. Breastfeeding in the middle of the night? Check. I knew this would happen so I just took it in stride as part of the process.
What I didn’t count on was that sustaining breast feeding was the bigger commitment. It wasn’t easy at first. I would get only half an ounce of milk each time I pumped. Then when I spilled milk. I cried!! After that, I was lucky to be able to pump as much as a teaspoon. Luckily I got great help from Latch Peer Counselor, Jenny Ong and I was back on track in my career as a breastfeeding/pumping mom.
But getting back to work, I didn’t realize what it took to be a pumping mom. I was pumping milk ALL THE TIME! After waking up, once I got to the office, during lunch breaks, after meetings, in between meetings, DURING meetings. I’ve also pumped pretty much EVERYWHERE: in the car, in a bus, in a sari-sari store (during fieldwork). I pumped wherever I was when I had to. Thus I would try to plan things (time, place, even logistics) so that I don’t miss a pumping schedule. And sometimes when I thought that my milk wasn’t going to be enough, I’d even wake up at around 3am just to have extra pumping time.
Yes it was a booby trap I didn’t know about.
But despite this, breastfeeding has been quite LIBERATING. First of all, it freed me from having to choose which is the best milk formula among those available in the market — since none beats breastmilk. I was free from wondering if I’m feeding the right milk to my son. It freed me from worrying when it’s time to feed my son since I breastfed on demand. Breastfeeding also freed me from my inhibitions. It just felt natural to me that I will breastfeed my baby wherever I am — even in public. So I’ve breastfed (like other breastfeeding moms) pretty much everywhere: in the car, in the mall, in restaurants, in the park or even in church. As a consequence, I also had freedom from having the need to carry around bottles, water and powered milk whenever I had to go out of the house.
Best of all, breastfeeding has created free time for me to spend with my son. I realize it’s so easy to get distracted with the mechanics of being a mom/parent vs. taking time to sit down and just be with my child. And this is one of the best gifts of breastfeeding to a working mom like me. It slows me down when I get home and it creates the time for me to just be with my child.
And this is the peace that I feel with the world coming to a standstill each time I hold my son to my breast.