An Addition to the Lactivist Community

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Mind you, I was never into the idea of breastfeeding full time. It all seemed so tedious, inconvenient & exhausting. However, probably like most first time mom's are inclined to do, I armed myself during my pregnancy with all the fundamental knowledge I could get in caring for a baby in his first year of life. It was then that I learned of all the good that comes from breastfeeding one's own child. It didn't take much to convince me: I would breastfeed Joaquin for as long as I could once he was out.

Once I delivered, I soon found out I was right for the most part - it was hell of a lot of work! Though I delivered via NSD, Joaquin needed to stay for a week in the hospital for administration of antibiotics. He was immediately roomed in w/ me though, as part of St. Luke's policy, so I was fortunate enough to have constant support and tutorials on latching, feeding schedule, & baby cues on hunger. I was instructed to feed him every 2-3 hours, and Joaquin instinctively followed this schedule as well. This also meant I had to sleep in short spurts during the night too, so you can just imagine the shock that had on my body which was used to sleeping leisurely the previous 9 months. In addition to sleep deprivation which went on for a month after we went home, there's also the pain of nipple soreness from constant feeding. I felt like a cow. A zombie cow - for an entire month.

I was nevertheless determined to live through the sleepless nights & bite my lip through the pain to continue to breastfeed. The more I read about the benefits, the more dead set I became.

Top Benefits of Breastfeeding

1. It jumpstarts your baby's immune system and creates a strong foundation against a long list of illnesses, including allergies, digestive disorders such as gastrointestinal infections & respiratory problems like asthma. Studies have also shown that exclusive breastfeeding - no solid food, formula milk, or water - for the first six months, reduces the risk of occurrence of serious illnesses like meningitis & diabetes later on, or helps make them less severe if they do happen.

2. It helps prevent obesity. Babies who breastfeed have more control on their milk intake, while formula or bottle-fed babies tend to be over fed as the milk flows more freely with an artificial teat without them having to suck as hard. Breastmilk also contains less insulin, which is responsible for stimulating the creation of fat.

3. Research shows that breastfed babies may have higher IQs because of their relatively better cognitive development, as a result of the contribution that breastmilk's fatty acids bring.

4. It triggers the production of prolactin & oxytocin in moms, hormones that create the feeling of needing to nurture the baby. These help mommy bond with her baby more, in turn establishing a strong relationship early on.

5. It causes the uterus to contract, causing less post partum bleeding. Since the uterus also returns to its normal size sooner, you also get that slimming effect quicker! The calories that are consumed by baby also adds to faster loss of pregnancy weight. I swear by this one - I lost 12 lbs just 2 weeks after giving birth!

I do admit that despite all the pros breastfeeding presents, it isn't as easy as you hope it would be especially in the first few weeks. If you ever encounter difficulties, here are some tips that worked for me:

  • Practice correct latching. Correct positioning of mom & baby during breastfeeding seems to play a major role. If the baby is positioned right, it's easier for him to latch on properly, allowing him to get the optimal amount of milk he needs. Good positioning also helps ensure that mom stays comfortable enough to last even through a long feeding session. You may read on detailed info on the proper latch here. I heard that some babies automatically latch on correctly, while it takes practice for some others, like Joaquin, to get it right. Hence, patience is key.
  • Use a warm compress on the breasts or take a warm bath before feeding. This helps the muscles & veins relax and aids in milk flow so the baby doesn't have to suck as hard.
  • Use ice chips on sore nipples to temporarily numb the pain. Because Joaquin didn't learn how to properly latch on until a week after he was born, his constant feeding hurt really badly that at some point I thought I was going to bleed! I had to resort to numbing this way to get through feeding sessions.
  • For lucky moms who have abundant milk, expressing helps relieve them of painful engorgement. But pumping also helps during the early days by teaching your body how much breastmilk it needs to produce, establishing a steady milk supply. In addition to this, it also gave me a chance to rest longer, since I could leave a bottle with my husband so he could take the next feeding shift & this bought me an additional 2 or 3 hours of sleep.
  • Take every opportunity you can get to rest, rest, rest! It's so hard to feed baby if you're feeling so weak; plus exhaustion makes you cranky, too!

Now, I actually enjoy & ironically relax every time I feed Joaquin, that I've treated it as an exclusive quiet bonding time we regularly have everyday - I get to savor holding him close while he stares back at me like I'm the most amazing person ever. Likewise, I get to provide top nourishment that we don't have to spend a dime for, and frankly, won't find in even the most high-end shops in the world.

I am henceforth, proudly a self-proclaimed lactivist.


How Breastfeeding Benefits You and Your Baby
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom and Baby

You Might Also Like



Like us on Facebook