The Nearness of We: The Wonders of Breastfeeding
There are as many breastfeeding stories as there are moms and babies. In celebration of Breastfeeding Month, Mommy Mundo gives voice to the everyday struggles of Filipina moms as they embark on one of the most exciting and fulfilling journeys they'll ever take – breastfeeding. Here, Paula Pescador talked about how she breastfed two children at the same time while Anne Grace Acoy shared how her difficulties in her first few days of breastfeeding did not deter her from forging onwards.
PAULA PESCADOR, mom of two
I've been tandem breastfeeding now for one year.
When I got pregnant with my first child, I didn't have information on how to breastfeed. I just knew back then that it's good for babies.
On the day I gave birth, I didn't know how to breastfeed properly. It was overwhelming but with the help of the Breastfeeding Pinays Group I was able to conquer all the difficulties. I was able to build a stash for my baby so that I can continue nourishing my child while working.
When I returned to work, I didn't have the full support of the people around me but my supervisor and my manager allowed me to express milk every break time. Someone even said to me, “After one month mawawala din 'yang gatas mo. Ganun kasi kapag nagtatrabaho ka na.”
I proved them wrong. I was able to breastfeed my baby girl for a long time.
A surprise came on my child's 11th month. I discovered that I was pregnant again. I was crying every time I expressed milk. From six to seven ounces, it dropped to one ounce. I was really devastated but Claire Mogol of Latch advised me to just focus on feeding her solids. My main goal that time was to look for an ObGyne who is a breastfeeding advocate and who would support my breastfeeding journey with my toddler while I was pregnant. I was lucky enough to find one in Marikina Valley and St. Lukes Hospital. I even had a threatened miscarriage but my ObGyne said that it wasn't breastfeeding that caused it, but stress at work.
On May 10, 2016, I gave birth to my little boy at St. Lukes. After three days at the hospital, we went home and right away we started our tandem breastfeeding journey. At three weeks, I was producing a lot of milk. Every week, I was donating 40 bags of milk stash containing 6 to 9 ounces to hospitals like UERM, St. Lukes, and PGH.
Through my breastfeeding journey, I was able to help a lot of working moms. I was able to counsel mothers that it is possible to nourish their children while working in the corporate world. I was able to train as a peer counselor at Arugaan and the Breastfeeding Pinays Group.
Today, I continue to share and inspire other moms around my community and my colleagues at work. If we are determined to breastfeed our children, we can find a way to achieve it.
My firstborn is now two years old and eight months and my second child is one year old and one month. We are still tandem breastfeeding.
ANNE GRACE ACOY, mom of one
My life has never been this blessed until I gave birth to my son Glenmark Jr. on December 24, 2016. It was a joyful experience to have him on the day before Christmas for I received a most precious gift, the gift of love and life, my baby angel.
When he was roomed-in, I was very eager and excited to breastfeed him. I held him close to my breast and started breastfeeding. He started sucking but after few minutes he released his mouth from my nipple and cried. I had no breast milk, not even a single drop. It didn't discourage me. I took malunggay capsules three times a day. I ate food that would stimulate milk production like tinola, nilagang baboy, and baka. Every viand cooked had malunggay leaves. Yet after five days, there was still no milk. It was depressing. I prayed a lot and kept on doing everything I had started. Finally on the sixth day, a watery substance came out. On the seventh day, it turned white. I was delighted and very thankful that my prayers were granted. My enthusiasm to breastfeed heightened and I was empowered to continue.
Seeing my child breastfeeding is a rewarding and fulfilling experience in the sense that it serves as bonding moment between us. Every time I saw him satisfied and full, I felt the same way, too. His soft and gentle touch reached deep into my soul that the happiness it rendered is undeniably unexplainable.
With breastfeeding, I am assured that my child gets the nutritional requirements he needs as an infant. He is healthy and won't easily get sick due to the antibody properties of breast milk. Glenmark Jr. is on his seventh month now and still breastfeeding. I am very glad to have gone this far and hope to continue as long as God provides me breast milk.
As a nurse assigned in an OB ward, I see mothers who are willing to breastfeed but are not able to produce breast milk due to some factors. I feel empathy towards them and offer to breastfeed their babies. Sharing my milk with their babies is one way I could help to pacify the hungry tummies of the little ones and the weary hearts of the mommies. In my simple way, I am able to help and encourage moms to breastfeed their babies as well. I believe that to influence others to breastfeed, one has to be an example and a good model. Truly being a breastfeeding mom requires dedication and passion, an achievement a breastfeeding mother should be proud of.
Mommy Mundo celebrates the sense of community brought about by breastfeeding through The Nearness of We.
A photo exhibit by Stanley Ong, it captures the warmth and joy of breastfeeding in 13 enchanting portraits featuring Ani de Leon Brown, Thammie Sy, Paula Peralejo Fernandez, Iya Villania Arellano, Rima Ostwani, Alexa Gutierrez, Janice Lizardo, Eizza Lim de Baron, Kaity Bato, Jaya Crisostomo, Ruth Galang, Em Sulit, and Charissa Villanueva. The Nearness of We runs until August 17, 2017 at SM Aura Premier.
Mommy Mundo's partners in The Nearness of We: A Breastfeeding Exhibit by Stanley Ong include School of Styling, Mommy Treats, Lumix, The Podium Mall, and SM Aura Premier.