Breastfeeding, Motherhood

Different Folks, Different Strokes

I’m a member of numerous Facebook groups for mommies. On one hand, they’re a big help with regard to everyday concerns like firstaid, reliable baby products, etc. Lately, however, I have seen a few posts and comments that sadden me. We, somehow, seem to forget that mommies who post on these pages are asking for opinions, suggestions, that could be of help to them. Attacking them and their way of raising their kid is not helpful in any way.

Say, for example, a mom comes up and asks regarding follow-on formula, someone starts a tirade on why breast is best. Yes, it is settled that breastmilk is best for babies, however, some moms cannot breastfeed their kids. Regardless of the reason, we are not in the position to push our choices on other people. Going into an all-out ‘you should breastfeed instead’ speech is not going to help their query. Think of it this way: we find it disrespectful when people look down on us for breastfeeding, wouldn’t formula-feeding moms feel the same way if we question their choice?

Different strokes for different folks. Not because one thing works out for us, it will work out for others, too. This means not only breastfeeding, but every aspect of child-rearing. There are those who opt for baby jars and rice cereals, others opt for fresh produce. Some traditionally wean their kids, others are on babyled weaning. Cloth diapers work for some babies, others are used to disposables. You see, these options are out there so we can find which work best for our kids, not for us to put other moms down.

Our varying lifestyles lead us to make different choices. Not everyone can afford, or has the patience, to be a fulltime mom. Those who opt not to stay at home have to be respected for their decision, much as those who do want to be respected for theirs. The food we feed our kids are dependent on various factors, and no one has a right to judge the decisions we make. For as long as our kids are happy and healthy, no one has the right to call us out on our parenting styles.

Let us all remember that there is no comparison in parenthood. The mother next door cannot be a bettet mom than you are because she cannot play mommy to your kid, and vice versa. Motherhood is a personal experience, it is not a contest. Each one of us is the world’s best mom in the eyes of our kids, so let us not look down on other moms down for choosing to rear their kids differently.

At the end of the day, we all joined these groups to find support and camaraderie, not to find fault in others. These are support groups, after all. So, please, keep these groups a safe haven for every mom. Remember what our moms always told us as kids: if you have nothing nice to say, better not say anything at all.

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Milestones, Motherhood

On Firsts

My daughter turns eight months on the 21st, and her seventh was surely an action-packed one. So many milestones happening in a span of a few weeks, which leads me to think that she’s growing up so fast.

She has started to stand on her own while holding onto things.

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She sits on her own for long periods without falling.

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She can move around by crawling, or rolling, or a combination of both.

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She can even walk with the aid of her walker.

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She has learned to play alone, amusing herself with her toys.

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She also wants to feed herself, refusing my help whenever she can.

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And, oh, she has learned a few random syllables and is trying to string them together.

My daughter sure is growing up fast. Keeping up is hard, physically and emotionally. On one hand, I am so proud of all the milestones she has achieved. On the other, I am saddened that little by little, her dependence on me is fading. And fast. Before I know it, she’ll be exploring her own world and creating a personality that is all her own. No matter, I will enjoy her every moment. Her laughs and cries, her firsts and mine, her everything.

As for now, I will bask in her every call for ‘Mama’, her kisses, and her every call for attention. Yes, even those made at three in the morning.

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Milestones

Standing Tall

I should not be posting today, since I just updated my blog yesterday, but something happened that I just could not pass up writing about. Words are not enough, so here are photos.

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My seven-and-a-half-month old darling girl stood on her own. Well, she was holding on to our bed frame, but without Mimmy’s help. I’m just so proud of my independent little babe. ♥

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Breastfeeding

Why I Breastfeed

I have mentioned in an earlier post that I planned on exclusively breastfeeding my babe and breastfeed her, I did. We’ve been exclusively breastfeeding since Day One and I don’t see us stopping any day now.

I love breastfeeding. It has so many benefits for both me and my little one. This may be the reason why every mom-to-be who asks me why I breastfeed ends up listening to a very, very long explanation of why I do. I advocate breastfeeding, I guess, but not to the point of antagonizing formula-feeding moms. Oh, dear god, please never let me turn into one of those ‘I breastfeed and I’m a better mother than you are’ kind.

I digress. Let’s go back to the main issue why I’m writing this. I started breastfeeding my daughter for a simple reason – it’s more economical. But as the days pass by, I continue to breastfeed her for more than that. Let me list down a few reasons.

1. Breastmilk keeps my daughter healthy. My daughter was born premature, therefore she’s at a higher risk than fullterm babies. I started breastfeeding her to make sure she thrives as well as fullterm ones, if not better. Seven months later, my baby has never been sick. She has never had a cold, not even in this weather.

2. Breastmilk makes my daughter’s skin so soft. I know, I know, babies have soft skin. Whatever. Asidr from her being adorably cute (I’m a mom, I’m biased, deal with it), she continually receives compliments because of her super makinis na kutis, as what they usually say. Other breastfeeding moms will attest to that. Their kids experience the veey same thing.

3. Breastfeeding makes an unbreakable bond between mother and child. Kids who breastfeed tend to be closer to their moms than those who don’t. Although I’ve been told that I’d be having a hard time taking care of her because she’ll stick to me like glue, I don’t listen. I don’t get tired when she’s all over me, it actually makes me happy. It’s very touching that my daughter wants to be with mommy. Clingy, yes, but sweet. It’s not everyday that she will be that little, so I appreciate every moment of it.

4. Breastfeeding helps with the baby weight. Pregnancy causes one to gain weight. A lot of it. While it is not the same for all breastfeeding moms, I actually lost weight by breastfeeding. I don’t exercise as much as I want to and I eat a lot, but I’m pretty much around my pre-pregnancy weight. I still wanna lose more weight, but that’s a different story.

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One of my earliest post-partum photos with the little girl

And lastly,

5. Breastfeeding makes your boobs bigger. This last point is utterly useless, but I have to point it out. For someone who has been flat chested her whole life, having boobs is a miracle. Breastfeeding made that miracle possible.

My breastfeeding experience is a happy one. Aside from the occasional engorgement and strong letdown, it has been a smooth journey for me and my baby. For any breastfeeding mom reading this, congratulations on choosing to breastfeed. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am.

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Motherhood

Being Mommy

Motherhood is the essence of a woman, an aspiring beauty queen once said. Getting pregnant, watching your tummy grow, and finally giving birth to your baby are all life-defining moments, but the responsibility they entail is enormous. Motherhood means being responsible for the safety and well-being of another human being, a fragile, little thing whose main source of survival is your care.

Upon getting pregnant, I had the firm resolve to be the best mother I could ever be. I was set on being a fulltime, stay-at-home, exclusively breastfeeding mom, and nothing can stop me from being one. I started reading up on how to breastfeed, what to eat to make sure I have an abundant milk supply, et cetera, et cetera. I actually thought I was ready to face motherhood. Cute, right?

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My little girl, Benriya Jean.

Then came September 21, 2013, when I gave birth to a 4.6lb little girl who cried with gusto upon entering the world. Right there and then, I knew she’d be one hell of a toughie like her Mommy. You see, she was born prematurely at 35 weeks and 1 day in utero. Upon the resident pediatrician’s recommendations, my daughter did not need to be incubated and was allowed to room in with me about two hours after birth. Small and premature, yes, but healthy as a horse.

She took my heart away the exact moment they placed her in my arms. I checked every single part of her, every finger, every toe, and fell in love with everything I saw. And that dimple, oh, that dimple was just icing on the cake. She was – still is – my pride and joy, and nothing will ever be as beautiful in my eyes as her.

Her father and I took her home on a Monday, September 23rd, and were all emotional about being a family. About, at long last, having a kid of our own. We were so confident that our baby was too much of an angel to cause us sleepless nights. Then came the ugly stuff.

She slept all day and nursed all night. She needed to have her diaper changed at least once in two hours. She even nursed while having her diaper changed. She hated taking a bath. She even hated getting cleaned up.

By the second week, I was in tears. I had eyebags and dark circles under my eyes, my hair was in tangles, and the tangles were in tangles, too. I could count the number of baths I have had on my fingers on one hand. And, worst of all, my head felt like it was being attacked by a jackhammer. I was ready to give up, throw in the towel and say that motherhood is not for me. My only salvation then was my husband’s unwavering support and my daughter’s smile. If not for them, my sanity might have flown right out the window and I wouldn’t be writing this now.

Seven months into motherhood, I still sometimes think I have no idea what I’m doing. I cry at every milestone my daughter achieves thinking, ‘My God, she’s growing up so fast’ and then look forward to the greater things ahe can achieve in the coming days. You see, motherhood isn’t just a journey, it’s an adventure. You may not always get it together, but you will find a way to make it work. So, to all the mothers out there who have got their shit together, hats off to you.

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