By Jane Kingsu-Cheng
Finally, breastfeeding has become the norm rather than the exception. Thanks to science, and continuous research and development, parents are now more confident that breastfeeding will always be best for babies. The engineering industry has also equipped mothers with state-of-theart products such as breast pumps and even nutritional supplements to increase breast milk production. All these make the journey easier.
For new and expectant moms who are psyching themselves to nurse their babies, hearing stories from other mothers about the challenges of breastfeeding can be quite daunting. But all the hardships and sacrifices are worth it. At the intimate launch of VPharma’s event with Mega Malunggay brand ambassadors Bianca Gonzalez-Intal and Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla, the two moms opened up about the realities of breastfeeding their babies, and how they made sure they had enough breast milk supply.
Never Give Up
Mariel drew inspiration from her older sister who breastfed and encouraged her to do the same. Aside from the health benefits it gives the babies, she also got to witness the growing bond between the mother and child. She prepared for the same commitment by attending a breastfeeding class and got herself a breast pump. Both Mariel and Bianca credited getting support and guidance from consulting with friends and attending seminars. They also thanked the mompreneurs of The Parenting Emporium, who recommended lactation expert, nurse Joyce.
Determination is important as well. Mariel said, “Yes, I had very low milk supply. I worked hard on it. I took supplements religiously. I ate a lot, as in a lot. I pumped every after two hours. I used a supplemental system when feeding my baby my pumped milk. I did not use a bottle because you need your baby to latch, so you will have milk. I survived and I was able to exclusively breastfeed for 14 months.” Mariel didn’t have it easy, but she pulled through. Her advice to other moms who are going through the same predicament: “Don’t be too hard on yourself, you will get there. Do not give up, because you can do it! Your body was made for it. God created you to nourish your child. Believe!”
One tough job
Before getting pregnant, Bianca had friends who were mothers and who breastfed. She knew it was a must to do the same. “I had been reading about all the benefits of breastfeeding not just for my baby but for me as well, and had seen how it worked well for many of my mom friends. It is one of the most difficult things about motherhood, but I did come to love the experience with my first that I also decided to breastfeed my second child,” she revealed. Like Mariel, Bianca had her fair share of challenges such as no sleep, cracked and bleeding nipples, baby’s teeth biting, and low milk supply. “I just stayed on course and knew that it was something I wanted to commit to,” she said. “With the help of my family and the ates (sisters) who took care of my kids at home while I was at work, I was able to direct latch when with my daughter, and pumped milk while at work. It is extremely hard work, but if you commit to it, then you’ll get through it.”
Bianca soldiered on, drinking lots of water and eating well, including supplements and lactation treats. She also reiterated that one should never believe that there is no milk. “Even if konti lang (only a little), imagine in your head that the milk is overflowing,” she said. “Never be afraid to ask for help.”
Breastfeeding may be one of motherhood’s hardest jobs, but it is worth it. “Personally, I believe that breastfeeding is best but whatever way a mother decides to feed her baby is entirely her choice. If you do decide that you want to breastfeed, don’t give up. It’s going to be the toughest days of your life, but those six months, or one year, or two years, will go by so quickly anyway. You will be happy and feel fulfilled that you decided to make that sacrifice,” Bianca ended.