Milk Diaries: Breastfeeding is a Choice.

16 Jan

Breastfeeding is a Choice. I believe that and I respect it. But what if you choose not to due to lack of knowledge or support from family, friends, and even your doctor and medical institutions? Make the best choice.

Breastmilk is the best and only milk that is acceptable and sufficient to nourish a newborn/baby. Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts you can give your child, from birth onwards. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not being self-righteous when I say this. I believe that breastfeeding is a choice, that every mother has the right to choose what she thinks is right for her child. I just hope that moms would give breastfeeding a chance and realize the countless benefits it gives to both baby and mommy. I believe that breastfeeding is THE better choice. It is one of the best way to bond and express your love for your child—this was a concept that was kind of vague to me when I was starting out with breastfeeding, and before I started pumping/indirect feeding. You see, there’s this certain connection an ultimate expression of love, a bond that only a mother and child can have; when you hold your child close, skin to skin and you feed and nourish him with food you and your body has produced. It’s such loving, magical, and wonderful experience to create special moments of love and bonding with your child. 

It saddens me how the milk formula industry has “demonized” breastfeeding, to quote a friend. They created such an image of how milk formula is superior to breastmilk. They created various gimmicks and marketing schemes, teaming up with doctors, health professionals, and various institutions to push their products to the market. In a culture where breastfeeding was once regarded as a norm and the only nourishment for babies, we were brainwashed to accept formula and see it as a source of nourishment for babies.

I have heard countless stories of moms who have given up and decided to start feeding with formula milk due to frustration, lack of knowledge, and lack of support. The lack of support comes from the lack of knowledge from the people around you. If they have not experienced breastfeeding themselves, chances are there will be a lot of discouraging remarks regarding your child’s health— there will be comments on how thin or malnourished he looks, constant crying due to not being satisfied, you not producing enough milk…the list goes on. This is why it’s very important to have a support group who is knowledgeable or at least open to breastfeeding. It is quite sad to know that even though the Department of Health is supporting breastfeeding and enforcing the banning of bottles and milk formula in hospitals, health professionals and medical institutions are still not well-informed and educated about breastfeeding. I was quite appalled when my former pediatrician quipped formula feeding, given that she works in a hospital well known for its efforts in support of breastfeeding. This is why I have decided to write this. To encourage moms and to give a quick insight on what to expect as you begin your breastfeeding journey. 

Discouraging comments:
Your baby is so thin. He looks malnourished.
Breastfed babies are naturally leaner due to the fact that breastmilk is made up of 80% water and contains protein, fat, and less sugar, unlike formula milk which is comprised mostly of sugar and fat. This is the reason why formula fed babies has high chances of obesity. As long is baby is producing enough dirty and wet diapers (up to 3 dirty diapers and 8 wettings a day), is active and responsive, is feeding, and gaining ample weight (a pound per week, take in consideration the initial weight loss during the first few days/week of life), there is no reason to be alarmed.

Why is he still crying? Maybe he’s not satisfied. Are you producing enough milk?
There are various reasons why babies cry. This is their main form of communication. Discomfort, soiled diapers, or the need for attention and comfort may be the reason. As you spend more time with your baby, you will develop skills to help you communicate and understand your baby better. There will be certain gestures or different sounds of crying. Listen and observe.
A newborn’s stomach is about the size of a small marble and can only hold enough milk, about 0.5ml, which is typically how much your breasts can produce during the first few days. 

These are just some of the things you will encounter. I will list down more on my upcoming posts. I hope this has encouraged, enlightened, and empowered you as you go through your own breastfeeding journey. Feel free to share this with friends and family, especially those around you (they can be your main support group) and moms who are going through a hard time with breastfeeding. 

I hope you found this useful. Feel free to leave me comments and questions on the comment box below, and I will do my best to address your concerns.

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