Saturday, September 21, 2013

MY Breastfeeding Journey, Secrets and Tips!

      I wanted to write this post a long time ago but I’ve been having second thoughts because I knew many other moms have even more interesting nursing stories than mine. I know more moms are expert “milk producers than me!” But I recently realized that it’s this exact kind of fear in mothers, which sometimes make breastfeeding such a hard task. The fear and uncertainty of nursing your baby is oftentimes the reason why some mothers give up on their Nursing Journey. When I was nursing Miguel I made sure I had a reserved can of formula in the house because I thought my milk supply would suddenly disappear!

      First let me tell you that I wasn’t one of the “gifted ones” those who made lots and lots of milk and had a reserved stash of frozen breastmilk in their fridge. My most successful stash were 20 pieces of "medium" filled milk bags, which occupied a very small space in our freezer. One of my greatest regret was never taking pictures of my milk reserves before they were consumed. Most of the months I was breastfeeding my boys I didn’t have an extra supply of milk. Yes, I am one of those Nursing Mothers who took their babies with them almost everywhere!

MY BEST KEPT NURSING SECRET: The only real secret I think I can share with any mother planning to breastfeed their baby would be to LET GO OF THE FEAR. Don’t let other mother’s opinions and suggestions affect your decision to nurse your child. Every woman is different and our milk production capabilities are also different! Some mothers can make milk for triplets and some can barely make milk to feed her baby! It’s all normal and in the end if you truly have the will and the determination to breastfeed, I am 100% sure you will succeed!

Another great tip I want every “newbie nursing mother” to know is to never give up too early, my “visible milk” came five days after I gave birth both times when I had my sons. I was lucky because I gave birth in a hospital where they encouraged mothers to breastfeed. I had the support of the nurses and doctors around me. They told me I might not be seeing actual milk coming out of my breast but they insisted my baby is getting just what he needs and that my milk will eventually come. Every time you feel like giving up, give it a few more days and trust me, it will get easier! 

I MISS THIS!! :) That's Miguel at around 4 months! :)

There are loads and loads of galactagoues, devices, and a host of other products you can buy for successfully nursing your baby but the only true and effective tools you need for SUCCESS are already with you! Sometimes we tend to forget that the best and the most effective tools are your BREASTS and the WILL to breastfeed your baby! It takes a whole lot of PATIENCE and DETERMINATION to breastfeed, it’s not an easy task but it can be done!

I’d like to share with you my own NURSING TOOLS, these products are NOT necessarily MUST HAVES but they helped me when I was breastfeeding: 

ITZBEEN Timer- I used this to time each feeding and to know how long its has been since I last nursed. It also has a left and right indicator so I know which side I last fed my baby. I also used it as a night light. I took this timer with me everywhere when I was nursing my boys! Read up on reviews of this product so you can determine if you want to get one.

BREASTFEEDING BOOK- it doesn’t have to be this exact book, just read up, research and know the basics of nursing a baby so you are armed with the basic knowledge of how to breastfeed.

Therapy Bags- which I used as heat compress for my breast during the early stages of nursing. I discovered that if I massaged and placed "warm" not hot therapy bags on my chest before nursing more milk always came!! Just pop these bags in the microwave and place them on your chest, make sure they are not too hot!

Tommy Tippee bottles- These bottles gave me my taste of FREEDOM! I was able to go out for short periods of time and my boys never had nipple confusion.  I would pump milk in between feeding and when I had enough I was able to do errands and go out without bringing my baby along.

A reliable BREAST PUMP- My MEDELA ADVANCE double breast pump went with me everywhere! It is durable and works well! I spent hundreds of hours using this pump, I never had a big stash but this helped me  save up my milk so I can at least leave my baby for just a few hours. Read up on reviews and research before you splurge on a breast pump!
Mother’s Milk TEA and PRO-LACTA Malunggay Capsules- The tea is from Healthy Options and the Pro-Lacta from Mercury Drug. Mother's MILK TEA was a magic tea for me, every time I felt my supply was low I would drink this and lots and lots of milk came!  As for Pro-Lacta I drank this 3 times a day, it has 100mg more than Natalac at just the same price per tab! :) 

TINY TOTS HANDSFREE  EEZY PUMP BRA- Shameless plug yes I know!! But this really made pumping milk more bearable for me! I didn't need to hold on to my pump bottles! While pumping milk I was able to check my email, read a book or do my paper work! I love it!! Available at :) 


CHIC and AFFORDABLE Nursing wear- Again a shameless plug! I came up with our very own line of Nursing WEAR because as a mom who loved to dress up I felt the picks for FASHIONABLE Nursing wear in Manila was very limited. If ever I found nice nursing clothes they would often times be too expensive! Then I told myself why not make NICE and TRENDY nursing clothes and offer them at reasonable prices!! Then TINY TOTS NURSING CLOTHES LINE came to LIFE!! :)  ALL Available at :)

Then if and when you decide to breastfeed, be prepared to hear all sorts of advice and tips from fellow moms. The weirdest advice I heard from my Yaya of 30 years was the right breast provides “rice” for the baby while the left breast provides “ulam” she said I should make sure I breastfeed my baby on both breasts so he would get a complete meal!  Then there are the much debated statements of breastfeeding being JUST for the RICH since it takes up so much time and effort. Then on the flipside, breastfeeding being JUST for the POOR since they have no other choice but to breastfeed because formula cost so much. Whatever advice or tips you hear take it all with a grain of salt and decide what you think is best for yourself and your baby.
 Before I became a “Nursing Mother” I never knew that a special bond truly existed between a nursing mother and her child. I was amazed at how breastmilk would automatically drip whenever I heard a baby crying! I didn’t think I had something special so as I could nurse a hungry child and then watch him look at me satisfied and then slowly fall asleep in my arms. I never imagined something so small could make me feel so important. Being a mother truly is the most rewarding and most challenging job on the planet!

In the end, I was able to purely breastfeed both of my sons for 14 months each before I introduced commercial milk. Some moms decide to nurse their babies till they are toddlers. When to stop breastfeeding is also a personal choice, do what feels right for you and your baby. Miguel was born at only 3.9 pounds and stayed in the hospital for 12 days, read about his birth story HERE: Miguel our MIRACLE BABY! .
 Lots of moms I’ve met through TINY TOTS would often ask if breastfeeding really did make a difference. I would always answer them with a resounding YES! I feel because I breastfed my boys, I was able to give them the best and complete form of nutrition that they needed. They never got sick for more than 2 days when they were nursing. They never had any type of rashes and allergies or upset stomach issues. I think it’s because Breast-fed babies are more resistant to disease and infection early in life. Now at 5 and 3 years old they still have perfect teeth and are considered to be “siksik” and big for their age. It has also been scientifically proven that Breast-fed children are less likely to contract a number of diseases later in life, including juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and cancer before the age of 15.

      Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop osteoporosis, are able to lose weight gained during pregnancy more easily and have a lower risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer later in life.
       Purely breastfeeding my boys is probably one of the hardest and most challenging task I've done in my life, but it surely is the most rewarding and most  fulfilling  deed that a mother can do for her children. 

        I may not be an expert in Breastfeeding and I’m not sure yet if I will receive hate mails or violent reactions because of my unconventional breastfeeding tips; but I will own this! This is my breastfeeding journey and my breastfeeding story and I am proud of it! If there’s one thing I would do again for my boys it would definitely be to BREASTFEED them all over again! 

Breastfeeding JAIME!! :) TINY TOTS Nursing COCOON in action!
Nursing MIGUEL in the car! The TINY TOTS NURSE and SHIELD cover also made my breastfeeding days so much easier!! :)
JAIME nursing! I was wearing the TINY TOTS MILKY UNDERSHIRT!! :) 

Breastfeeding a baby isn't a simple task but believe me; after a while it WILL GET EASIER, and much much SIMPLER! Then it will be NATURAL and an ENJOYABLE time for you and your precious baby! 

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