Formula vs. BM

When I was pregnant there was no doubt in my mind that I would have a normal delivery and I will breastfeed. I am so sure of these that it probably affected my dutiful daughter to perform more than average during childbirth. I never thought that the later requires more than a mindset.

I am stupidly late breastfeeding when I gave birth. I should have gone to the nursery the moment I woke up. I thought there was a schedule, stupid me. So I waited for my doctor to come to give me instructions. There were four instances that I succumbed to bottle feeding on the first 3 months. I would like to think that these circumstances are unavoidable. But no matter how many times I say that, I still feel guilty.

When I went back to the office, I am ready with my breast pump and made my officemates aware that I will be using the pantry for a significant amount of time. At first, I had difficulty because every time I am inside, some cosmic force tells them that they need to get water, which is inside the pantry. I am so stressed knowing that any moment there will be a loud knock affected my milk production. There were meetings and inspections that hinder having a definite schedule for pumping. There was also a time when the novelty of my pumping wore off, I recoursed to moving the water dispenser out of the pantry so I can pump in peace. It made me envious of other moms who take six months or a year off.

It has been almost three months and I can safely say I average three times (four if I’m paranoid that my supply will dwindle) every three to four hours. Some strong advocates say that it should be every two hours but I cannot seem to follow that schedule. The duration of pump is about thirty minutes because I have difficulty stimulating let down and it would take two hours and thirty minutes of my day just to pump.

I have recently read a write-up, one of the many, about experiences of breastfeeding. As always, I feel awe for the perseverance and hard work of moms who exclusively breastfeeds. I agree that it is the best gift you could give your child but furthermore it is the most natural thing to do. All mothers do this, sort of like a rite of passage. You have milk readily available without extra cost (hmn… except for investing in a good pump, breastpads, and breastmilk storage bags P10/bag), you do not have to get up in the middle of the night to prepare, and you do not have to bring loads of formula milk and bottles in your diaper bag. The only problem is you do not have a substitute and at one point you’ll wind up doing nothing else but nurse.

Sadly the first month has been a transition and while we are still getting used to the volume she drinks and the time she drinks it, my mother gives formula milk when whatever I pump is insufficient or still unthawed. I guess it is probably the reason why my milk supply dwindled. I took malunggay capsules and lots of liquids but still thought I was unsuccessful because it was only half of the 8oz to 9oz per pump during the 2nd and 3rd month. Luckily while browsing the net, I came up with the kellymom site http://www.kellymom.com , a lactation consultant that answered my fears about breast milk production.

Being a mall rat, I cannot help going out and even if it is just for a short while I make it a point to go to the baby department. It’s a joy to see moms shopping with their babies. And with all their activities, I cannot help noticing them feeding on bottled milk, whether formula or breast I’m not sure. Just today when I was in SM Lucena, I went to the breastfeeding station and I was the only one there. The space is twice as big as the one in SM mall of asia yet unoccupied considering there is a mall wide sale. I do not know if the moms are unaware that there is such a place or they consider feeding via bottle easier while shopping. While in Manila, when I went inside the tiny breastfeeding place, there is one already feeding and another one expressing. While feeding, two tried to go inside but there was no place available. Based on my observations, I think those who can afford to breastfeed are either super rich or destitute. Those in between are few. Breastfeeding takes a lot of time and effort, something a regular employee does not have the luxury to spend. A maternity leave of two months is insufficient to store milk to supply for the whole year. Office work is so taxing that milk letdown adds to the load. I consider my situation lucky given that my boss allows me to do so and there is a space where I can do it.

I acknowledge all the moms who do breastfeed for they are doing the most natural and noblest thing possible for their babies. But I do not judge other moms unable to do so given their situations. I do not think they are just lazy like what other people think. We just do not have the same experiences, access to information, and priorities and we must admit that some lives make breastfeeding easier than others.

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