August 22, 2013

Nineteen and Stupid

December 31, 1999
He greeted the world two months too early and his juvenile parents welcomed parenthood seven years too early.  He was 4.10lbs., with weak lungs and bones. He didn’t know where he was, he heard people celebrating as they bid goodbye to the final eve of the millennium. Tubes were all around and he was in a tiny see-through plastic box with strong light to warm him up. He was surrounded by unfamiliar voices, different babies crying at different times, tired nurses fussing here and there. He was a brand new human being in dire need of human touch… of human milk.

He was confused. Was it his mother who carried him sometimes to wash him hurriedly and passively? Was it his mother who poked him nonchalantly from time to time, changing tubes and beddings? Was it his mother who would oftentimes visit and touch his thin skin?

Or was it his mother who offered her nipples and precious milk for an hour or even less within a day? Oh the milk he greatly needed. The milk that was specifically designed for him by the Universe! It is precisely what he needed to catch up with all the growing he missed inside the womb. That milk has live cells, essential fat, vitamins, and other anti-bodies that no factory or science lab can ever reproduce. But he only got an ounce or even less of that milk once a day within the very crucial month he was living in a lonely, tiny plastic box.


His mother was nineteen and ignorant. His mother was blaming her breast size for the lack of milk it was producing. His mother couldn’t picture herself locked up in a room breastfeeding all day; she had other important things to do like studying and watching TV. His mother thought milk from the can is superior to her milk... Ultimately, his mother had a gazillion of excuses not to breastfeed.

Oh yes. His mother was nineteen… and stupid. And there were not too many people around her to make her otherwise.

Not too many people were there to educate her and to guide her. Doctors were prescribing strong medicines left and right, never telling her that human breast milk was just as strong, even better. All hospitals had posters and other paraphernalia championing canned milk. Nobody lifted an eyebrow at her for feeding him milk from cows. Nobody accused her for denying the precious premature baby the best milk... Nobody pushed her enough to breastfeed.

As his mother shoved down formula milk down his throat, the world seemed all right and normal. That is, if you rule out HIS point of view.


April 13, 2012

Still fresh from giving birth, sore and tired, I felt I was zombie personified yet I was convinced to breastfeed my second son. The internet is such a powerful tool, nowadays there’s no excuse to be stupid. But having correct information is sometimes not enough. I felt my tears flowing as my son screamed his lungs out as he tried to suckle. It seemed he wasn’t getting enough milk. I started to second-guess my decision.

My husband was already in panic, ready to jump in the car to buy milk in can. All the household help looked at me as if I was out of my mind not to succumb to formula milk. Even my own brother, who was a doctor-in-training, was ready to jump in the car with my husband. The look of disappointment from the people around me was epic. They probably blamed the size of my breasts for not producing enough.

I kept jumping from one article after the other about newborns and breast milk. It sounded easy, peaceful even. Why was I feeling I was in a middle of war zone? Crying baby, panicking people. I trembled and prayed for support.

I only had two. My breastfeeding sister-in-law and my mother who kept telling me that I can do it. And yes, I guess the largest chunk of support came from within, my own will propelled me to reach my goal. 

The first six months of my son’s life, he only had my milk as food. No water. No cow’s milk. No juice. Exactly like what The World Health Organization recommends: exclusive breastfeeding for baby’s first six months. I did it.

My husband, after begging him for support, gave it to me with all his heart. Slowly but surely I found other mothers on various social networking sites to get support.  It made a world of a difference when people cheer you on.

Today, I make it a point to encourage women to breastfeed. I tell them what I know and I hope I inspire them whenever I breastfeed in public, or whenever I post photos of me breastfeeding. It breaks the taboo, it "normalizes" breastfeeding again.

I'm always here for support. I know how it feels to have none.

This photo means a lot. This is taken by my eldest son without me asking.
He supports breastfeeding 100%
Not a taboo. Not wrong. Just pure, innocent, Love, and natural.

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