IF YOU are pregnant and currently reading this, I would like to congratulate you and send virtual hugs!
Yes, it gives us mixed emotions and a lot of questions. I would like to assume that you are now busy preparing for the grand arrival of your little one -- from newborn essentials to cute, girly or boyish names. But there’s another important thing that you need to be prepared of -- breastfeeding.
1. Breastfeeding 101
You must first learn the basics of breastfeeding especially questions like, “What is breastfeeding?”, “What are the benefits of breastfeeding?”, “Why do we breastfeed?”, “How to breastfeed?”, and etc.
These will be our guide to acquaint and inspire ourselves to pursue breastfeeding. There are thousands of articles about breastfeeding from government agencies, support groups, and even blogs online.
2. Know your rights.
There are laws protecting our rights as breastfeeding mothers. Study about Republic Act 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009, which mandates all establishments to establish lactation rooms. It also grants lactation break for working moms. We also have Executive Order 51 (October 20, 1986) or popularly known as the Milk Code. It regulates the marketing of “breastmilk substitutes, including infant formula; other milk products, food and beverages, including bottle-fed complementary foods as a partial or total replacement of breastmilk; feeding bottles and teats.“ You can google the content of these laws.
3. Join breastfeeding support groups.
When in doubt, ask. A lot of experienced moms who have survived the challenge of breastfeeding are ready and very willing to help and guide you. A Facebook group named “Breastfeeding Pinays” (with more than 262,000 members) became my anchor when I thought about quitting breastfeeding. The success stories of passionate nursing moms inspire me to be determined and to continue breastfeeding despite working for eight hours (or more) with my previous job as a TV news reporter. In Davao City, “Dawow Moms” (with more than 6,000 members) also helps fellow mothers about breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapers, and a lot more. There’s also a budding Facebook group named “Touch by Tere”, which was created by Mommy Tere, who is an expert about lactation massage.
4. Invest in breastfeeding essentials.
Now is the best time to buy the necessary breastfeeding items like breast pumps, nursing cover, breast pads, nursing bra, breastmilk storage cups, cooler, etc. Based on my personal experience, I spent around P5,000 for my breastfeeding essentials and they helped me a lot as a working mom. It was all worth it rather than spending thousands of money every month for formula milk. Tip when buying essentials: It doesn’t need to be very expensive. You buy things that are compatible with your needs.
5. Pray and stay positive.
I found several prayers for lactation mothers online. Say these prayers before or during nursing or pumping your breastmilk. You can also have your personal prayers, asking for strength, perseverance, and patience. Don’t lose hope. Always remember that “Breastfeeding is 10 percent milk supply and 90 percent determination.”
Mommies, you are not alone. You will never be alone. Always think that you can make it. Good luck, mommies! Rest assured your breastfeeding journey is in my prayers.
Disclaimer: This is not to humiliate mothers who cannot breastfeed their baby due to several reasons including health conditions. If you’re one of them, don’t worry. There are million ways of expressing our love for our children.
[The writer appreciates comments, questions, and story suggestions. Contact her through firstname.lastname@example.org, @mommyaracasastumuran on Instagram, and subscribe to her YouTube channel www.youtube.com/c/AraCasasTumuran.]