I feel that I am nearing the end of my breastfeeding journey with Jansen. It has already been a year and six months and I can say that I enjoyed this more than my first time. It is not just because my kids have completely different behavior but because I am more prepared in terms of information with my second baby.
When I gave birth to Julia, I was not that well read in terms of how breastfeeding works. I thought that it would be naturally easy but I also believed that my own milk will not be enough so I will need to supplement with formula. It was only when I read up on breastfeeding sites and blogs that I learned all there is to know about exclusive breastfeeding. But this happened when I already gave birth and I have consumed half a can of formula already!
Now armed with my experience with Julia, I learned these realizations:
- I should not be hard on myself. We all have this expectation that everything shall go according to plan. It would be ideal if we will all be perfectly healthy, have ample milk supply, and our babies will latch on the spot. But this is not always the case for me. It took a while before I got my decent milk collection. I started with a few drops which can easily discourage anybody. I keep telling myself that I just need to be patient and should not give up. It took two weeks of round the clock feeding before I felt my milk increase. Also, it is perfectly normal for the baby to take his or her time feeding. Sometimes it takes hours with just a few minutes break. I think just giving in to the demand and not to account the frequency and duration makes it a more stress-free experience.
- There is no right place to breastfeed. Before, I would search for nursing stations and discreet nursing spots before feeding Julia but with Jansen I just go with the flow. If he’s hungry, I usually find an area where I can sit and then nurse on the spot. I also plan ahead and wear loose clothes and nursing tops before going out though.
- There is no need to buy expensive nursing tops and nursing covers. I highly suggest a nursing cami or sando that can be the inner layer of any loose shirt. It covers the belly and the shirt can cover the chest. From experience, my babies dislike the nursing cover! Who wants to feed warm milk and have their head covered in a tropical weather? I swear they look like they showered after a feeding. Poor poor guys!
- Breastpump and storage containers are all you need. Pumps are useful for working moms but this is not necessary if you don’t plan on staying out too long. It’s always better to direct feed anyways. Pumps are great because you can save up on buying the expensive milk formulas. I am very lucky that my office allows me to have pump breaks in the office. However if you don’t have a breastfeeding area (which is already required by law), I suggest a freemie cup coupled with your breastpump of choice. This pump is super discreet and I learned this from my cousin. You can really pump in your workspace without people noticing!
- Keep it super simple. If you are having second thoughts about buying a particular product, you probably don’t need it. I learned this when I have accumulated stuff that I only used a couple of times. All I need now actually is my pump and breastmilk bags in the office. When we go out, I just bring diapers, baby wipes, lampin and change of clothes.
- Build up a stash but not too much. Donate milk every three months. Moms are paranoid beings and I am no exception. I take pride in my milk stash haha! But when Jansen reached his 1st birthday, I found myself with too much milk that our freezer already lacks the space for actual food. Now I donate every two months so that other pre-mature kids can benefit from my extra milk. I donate in the Philippine Children’s Medical Center with number (02) 588 9900, ask to connect to their milk bank and look for ate Cecille.
- Expect the unexpected, or should I say, welcome the unexpected. This one is a little hard for me since I crave orderliness and schedule. What I do to lessen this is to schedule meetings and inspections at specific times during the day so I don’t find myself rushing or wanting to finish the work earlier. And if nothing goes according to plan that day, I just try to be positive that things will be normal tomorrow! The rule of thumb is to have at least one oz. per hour and if I do, I am already perfectly happy.
When Julia said to me at 2 years and 4 months “ayaw ko na, malaki na ako”, I felt this sadness that my quiet cuddle was over. And like when I was with Julia, I will miss our cuddle sessions every night.. I guess we have to think of other ways to bond beyond this. For Julia it’s arts, for my little Jansen, I still have to figure it out!