Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Now... A Mom of 3

Amazing... I have not said here that I was pregnant at all?

Well, I have actually given birth already too. Last September 9! Yes, he (yup, another boy) is turning 2 months old on Monday. He is now shrieking and can see. He has dimples. He came into this world peeing on me... And marks me all the time by barfing on me, or salivating on me, or gnawing on me.

Iael Ysaiah is my latest bundle of joy.

And I am still homeschooling Iakob, who is now in Grade 2.

And helping my middle child (who is turning 5) transition from being the baby (cat) to being an older brother.

Life's a hoot... Hopefully I will get back to blogging soon.

Monday, July 20, 2015

With LIGHT, Breastfeeding is Doable

Here I am again converting The Feast preaching to a breastfeeding  inspirational. :)

First... As Bro. Alvin said in his preaching yesterday, The word LIGHT can mean two things. One is the opposite of HEAVY, the other as the opposite of DARKNESS. Then he went on to say that we can be carrying a light thing, but may still have a hard time stumbling with it in the dark... As opposed to carrying something heavy and being able to do it if we know where we are going, or if our purpose wad clear.

He later on gave as an example a woman's burden of carrying a growing baby inside for 9 months. It helps us to know it's only for 9 months right? That we won't have to waddle forever with it. It helps us that we see that child as somebody to love and get to know once it comes out.

The same is true for breastfeeding.

Light can mean clarity of purpose, knowledge as to why and how, positive support and believing in a greater power behind it.

Because breastfeeding is seldom easy. A woman has to live with the fact that she has to share her body with her child long after the birth... That what she does, how long she can be away, what she chooses to wear, what medicines to take or even food to eat have to consider breastfeeding and her baby's health.

And then there are those times when the burden is really heavy... When there are post-delivery complications in either mother or child, when baby is a preemie, when baby has congenital problems, when someone gives births to multiples, when baby becomes seriously sick. How could a mother possibly breastfeed then?

Only with clarity of purpose, the right knowledge base, the proper support and belief in God's Divine provision, I say.

Fears over whether your child is getting enough will always be there.
Fears over your supply will always be there.
Fears over your child's health will always be there.
Fears over your body's ability to provide will always be there.
Fears over the best course to take will always be there.
Fears brought about by side comments and criticisms and judgment by others (whose standards are different from your own) will always be there.
Fears brought about by a culture and generation raised on consumerism and instant results will always be there.

But if your heart and mind are clear on why you are breastfeeding, you will pursue the how, no matter what. You will find ways and make ways to persevere and prevail over sombering diagnosis, over tubes and NICU stays, over medications and work limitations. You will be tired and sick and emotionally wrecked, but those will not be reasons to stop finding ways to make it work.

You may need special help, but it doesn't mean the end of your breastfeeding story.

Choose light over darkness... Be clear about your purpose, get the right info and support.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Mothers Do Not Need Milk to Grow Babies and Produce Milk

If you are pregnant or lactating, you do not need special milk to help you grow the baby inside you, or to help you produce milk.

Current Culture:
1. Milk companies have created a demand for milk for mothers (hereinafter referred to as MFM, since the more popular term "mother's milk" confuses people) by having OBs pushing these as VITAL to a pregnancy's success.

2. Milk companies are pushing the sale of MFM because the implementation of the Milk Code has affected their infant formula and toddler milk sales so they are diversifying to growing up milk (GUM), MFM and milk for senior citizens.

3. Some OBs get perks from milk companies when they push, prescribe, recommend or give away these MFMs to mothers.

4. Selling MFMs to mothers is also a cross-branding strategy by milk companies. Surveys have shown that parents are more likely to choose a formula brand from the same line (e.g. If a mother drank Enfamama, she will buy Enfalac for her baby, Enfagrow and and Enfakid for older children)

What They Don't Tell You:
1) Like formula, MFM contains high levels of sugar compared to regular cow's milk.

2) It was reported at One Asia Breastfeeding Partners Forum 2014 that pregnant mothers complaining of hypertension, gestational diabetes (GDM) and allergies (skin rashes) also presented as MFM drinkers. Within two weeks of being advised to stop drinking MFM, their conditions resolved.

3) There is a lot of  anecdotal evidence at Breastfeeding Pinays (BFP) of pregnant moms asked to take MFMs who experienced rapid weight gain and failed their oral glucose tolerance tests. Some even had to suddenly go on diet in the last months of their pregnancy.

Truths to Remember:
1. Pregnant and lactating moms need a balanced diet and an extra 500 calories intake per child (generally, because I am not sure a mom carrying sextuplets need 3,000 extra calories, her body might not be able to process that much either).

2. Pregnant and lactating moms need THE SAME vitamins and minerals people normally need, most important of which is calcium, which can be derived from food sources. They do not need any special diet.

3. Nowhere in the history of human evolution did mothers NEED special milk just to have healthy pregnancies or abundant milk supply. Think of mothers who had to be pregnant and breastfeed before the days of clean water supply, modern plumbing, farming, medicine and in the midst of plagues, wars and less abundant food supply. MFMs are a new invention, and has only become popular/is being pushed more aggressively for the past 10 years.

4. Lactating moms also do not need milk to produce milk. Cows only eat grass. Lions only eat meat. We produce milk because we are mammals. The milk we produce is specifically designed for the needs of our young (in the case of cows, their calves need to grow big asap... in the case of humans, babies need to finish brain development first).

5. There are no studies yet (as far as I know) proving MFMs put mothers at risk for diabetes, hypertension and allergies for the simple reason that it will be unethical to ask mothers to take MFMs when they are already believed to be potentially harmful.

5. GDM/diabetes, even hypertension, will always be due to a number of factors (genetics, habits). However, one cannot deny that diet plays a huge factor in one's health. If you have a history (family or personal) of diabetes, food intake that is high in sugar will increase the odds of you developing the condition/getting sick.

6. MFMs are made from cow's milk which is not as easily digestible as fruits and vegetables (as calcium source). It also contains additives and preservatives. Cow's milk has also long been established as the top slow-acting allergenic food.

7. Milk has only become part of the worldwide diet after modern farming has allowed for excessive milk production by cows (which are pumped with hormones). Historically, the only ones who really used milk as part of their diet are people living in temperate countries, as milk digests more slowly (allowing people to feel warmer and fuller for a long time, especially during winter time).

8. A self-respecting doctor who has done his research would not prescribe MFMs to moms but would insist that moms eat healthy, natural food (as opposed to processed food, which MFM is). That will go a longer way in helping ensure a healthy pregnancy since real food will have biodigestible nutrients, fiber, water, etc.

9. A regular prescription of MFM affects a family's budget. Some moms also do not like drinking milk, or do not like the prescribed MFM but get scared (or guilt-tripped) into forcing themselves to drink MFM because they were advised by a doctor they trust to do so, for the health of their baby. That is a disservice to them when again, natural food sources offer a wide array of options and should be the automatic choice.

10. Should a mother ever want milk, any nut or soy milk or  the usual fresh milk  in 1-liter cartons should be good enough. Milk drinking for moms is not prohibited (unless there are special conditions) but it is also unnecessary.

11. When a pregnant mother develops GDM or hypertension, not only is it difficult and painful for her to suddenly go on a strict diet, her life and the baby's life is also put at risk.

Again... Nature had this system perfected already. Provided a mother eats healthy, gets plenty of rest and has the help she needs, she should be able to have a healthy pregnancy and sufficient milk supply.

Let us say NO to relatives, friends, doctors and milk companies who are pushing processed food our way when we should be eating healthy for two (or three).


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Even Breastfeeding Advocates Cry At Night

If... Even pretty girls cry at night...

Well, even breastfeeding counselors,  advocates, experts and  BFP admins cry/cried at night too. 

We cried/cry because most of us didn't know what to do in the first place.

We cried/cry because we made/make mistakes.

We cried/cry because nothing can really prepare you for the demands of a newborn. First time mothers will get shocked into the role, it is so "every moment". Those with other kids will have to juggle time and energy for all the other children who would all need something from her.

We cried/cry because even the most loving and supportive of households can never fully share the exhaustion breastfeeding brings.

We cried/cry because even the most loving of husbands will continue sleeping while we nurse through the night.

We cried/cry because no woman ever imagines seeing their nipples sucked raw, sore, bleeding or with blebs and pus. It's scary and extremely painful when your breasts get engorged. 

We cried/cry because when babies bite, the pain reaches down to our toes. If they do it while awake, you can train them not to... But what of those lockjaw moments they get while in deep sleep? No self-respecting Mom will be shaking them awake to tell them biting hurts. Nay, we just grit our teeth in the dark, crying the silent tears as we continue nursing. 

We cried/cry because some of us had unsupportive households, relatives and friends.

We cried/cry because some of the significant people in our lives "blame us" for everything that goes wrong or seems wrong with the baby... Or anything that doesn't meet THEIR standards. 

We cried/cry because the doctors we turn to for help when we get sick almost always tell us to stop breastfeeding, in the meantime or for good, instead of doing their job... Which is to update their knowledge base and prescribe medicines that are breastfeeding-safe.

We cried/cry because it gets depressing, exhausting and downright annoying to have to keep explaining, defending and fighting for our choice and the Science behind that choice. 

We cried/cry because those of us who have given formula and seen the effects of that to an older child will forever regret not having known better then. 

We cried/cry because those of us who work away from home get overwhelmed and exhausted and stressed over keeping our milk supply up, pumping enough and storing enough for our child.

We cried/cry because no matter how much we love our babies, the nights seem triply long when they are sick and forever attached to us. 

We cried/cry over the responsibility of being sole provider... We sometimes deny ourselves medications or delay treatments just because we don't want our baby to be without us. 

We cried/cry over aching arms and back pains... Maybe even disproportionate (size) boobs (since most babies will favor one more).

We cried/cry because we are made to feel ashamed for nursing in public.

And for those that Life thought to challenge more, they cried because their babies were born earlier or with biological impediments (tongue tie, cleft palate, etc) or life-threatening conditions that make breastfeeding more challenging.

And yet... Here we are, trying to help and inspire others... And save one mother and child at a time. 

Because we believe in God's provision and Nature's grand design. Man would not have been able to survive as a species if we had to rely on "modern formula, fortifiers and vitamins" to be healthy.

So, those of you about to begin your journey... Or are struggling now... Please know that we cried at nights too.

The only things that made it easy were  that we believed we made the decision to breastfeed 
1) out of nothing but love for our child
2) out of nothing but a desire to invest in our health and our child's health for the long-term
3) out of nothing but faith that the same God who gave us this baby will allow us to provide for this baby

Us breastfeeders, breastfeeding counselors, advocates, experts and BFP admins... We still cry.

We cry for every mother we try to help that refuse our help.

We cry for the poor who do not know better to make informed choices for their families.

We cry for moms whose efforts are being undermined by their own partners, family, friends, doctors and at work. 

We cry for illnesses and deaths that could have been prevented or reduced in severity had the baby been breastfed. 

We cry... Because there is still so much to do for the advocacy, and we get exhausted too. 

But again, because of the tears shed before and despite the tears we shed now, we are here, wanting to help however way we can. Because we know we stand for truth and love. 

And for every success story we hear, for every mom we meet who strives, for every milestone our own child reaches... There are tears of joy.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Choose to Join Us!

I like to think breastfeeding forums, and breastfeeding (BF) and infant and young child feeding (IYCF) advocates are like teachers to mothers, especially the new ones. We can only open the door to success by providing the right info and support, but YOU mothers have to choose to enter that door by yourself.

You have to choose to listen to what we are saying (which are based on facts), and then do your own research to make informed decisions.

You have to be willing to let go of preconceived notions, habits, old beliefs.

You have to be willing to fight for and stand up for your rights and your child's rights... even if it may mean challenging relationships.

You have to be vigilant about asking what is due you... as a citizen of this country, ensure the Milk Code is implemented for you. As an employee, insist on lactation breaks (even if a lactation room cannot be physically provided for you). As a patient, demand your doctor to only prescribe breastfeeding-safe meds and focus on your baby, not on weight and yellowness.

You have to keep your eye on the goal always, in all ways.

You have to take inspiration where you can and filter out everything that does not help you achieve your goals.

You have to prioritize health in the long term (for you and baby) over what is convenient now.

You have to edit your own thoughts, your own questions... so that they empower you into action, and not depress you into giving up.

You have to celebrate the little things and the little triumphs... and take things one day at a time.

You have to treat challenges (pumping, soreness, sickness) as bumps in the road and not your final destination. You have to accept that there will be difficulties (and heck, you are entitled to tears and the occasional chocolate bar or ice cream pint) because what you are doing IS worthwhile.

You have to write your own breastfeeding story and not have others write it for you.

You have to find ways and make ways.

Most of all, you have to believe that God gave your child to YOU... so what that child needs is Mom, not Man-made. (love this slogan!)

Champion yourself and your child... we can only show you how and where to go. After all, we were all once lacking information and empowerment, and as governed by fears and insecurities as you. It's just now, we know better so we do better.

Choose to join us.