I really couldn't claim to be an advocate, but during the earlier parts of my mommy life... if my pumping station was an address (and I don't mean gas) I'd have lived there; if IOS can actually check you into breastfeeding stations that's where you'd find me. I've lost count of the coolers I've filled donating where I can... but now a year after I find myself seeing another person... the old me. I never thought I was that far gone into this that it really transformed me.

THE INFLUENCE
I started to see glimpses of "the old me" when Miguel's pedia advised that we try mix feeding him at 8 months. My knee jerk (and internal) reaction was "this is one of those moments that you do not listen to everything your pedia tells you to do cos you know better". But I was also exhausted on trying to figure out ways to increase his weight. Miguel is perpetually underweight you see... eventually I caved in. I don't want to be a stubborn kid. I was afraid that after going though arduous experience of supply building that I've become too strict about this on myself. You see, we've been to countless pedias and more often than not, they give an ok to supplementing after 6 months. At first I was relieved with the idea of capping my nursing mom endeavors at 1 year. That I can use the pumping and feeding time doing the things my old self used to do. But now I actually feel a wee bit sad about it. Miguel's weight did increase after the supplement but only temporarily, he is back now to his old plateau. I just came from another pedia who says  breastmilk is still best for Miguel at his age (why the other pedia? well that's a long story)... too bad becuase I'm almost all out. 

One thing is for sure, pedias really have a big influence on ya, even though you've read all your literature and attended all your breastfeeding talks. It was a big part of our criteria for Miguel's pedia, don't know why, how or at which point we just settled with the one that is seemingly pro-breastfeeding. I encourage anyone, everyone to be more discerning.

THE INFLUENCER

I have also had questions thrown my way on breastfeeding. I now think it was a blessing to have taken he arduous path towards getting my supply. This way I have the experience and the empathy to share to other newbie nursing mom friends (which I seem to never ran out of). Up side is that they also encourage me to keep the "advocacy" at heart. But there are those moment when I have to stop myself from being too legalistic and pushing them the way I pushed myself back then. If you need a picture, I got to the point that I lashed out on my husband because I was soooo tired with no sleep as I refused to let anyone do the feeding but me directly. I had a no bottle policy until 1 month old because I read about nipple confusion. Eventually I caved in (less than 1 month) because I needed the sleep more than baby needed direct feeding. I also grew this nasty auto-disdain for people who told me they just simply "didn't have enough". I really felt bad feeling that way towards people. Not that I was self righteous, but more, "I" did not have enough either but I tried really really really hard! You could have too!!! That is what I wanted to say, but I refrain, because I wouldn't know how to say it without sounding insensitive.

That was just some of many "challenges" that came my way. Point is breastfeeding is really a lifestyle and more relationship based than you can ever imagine; between you and baby and between you and the rest of the world! In as much as every person in your life can factor to you doing it or not... you also get this power to  influence others to do it, to keep on doing it, to do it next time if you were not able to do it before... I suppose this post is also an apology, for what I have said and what I COULD HAVE SAID and didn't say to people. I could have used this influence more appropriately really.  To anyone and everyone who knows me personally and we seem to have had this conversation in the past about breastfeeding; what I really wanted to say was : You, MOM, can do it! It will require your best. Low supply at the beginning doesn't mean it won't increase. Working doesn't mean you'll lose your supply. It will not be easy (I didn't have it easy), but I am positive there is a way. And You HUSBAND, FRIEND, MOTHER, FATHER, SISTER, BROTHER, YAYA, NEIGHBOR... you do have the power to help her do it long term, YOU DO!

Support with Integrity
JUDGEMENT FREE BREASTFEEDING
I recently stumbled across this advocacy. Given the above experiences, this sums up everything that should have been and could still, be done right regarding the support and influence a breastfeeding mother could surround herself with. Yes, I support breastfeeding and am more than glad to offer advice and support to others who need it. I also realize that our society lacks enough influencers (could be other moms, friends, family, yaya or health care providers) so those who are given the voice should be more proactive in using it. I offered my pledge with this movement. I could copy paste the whole article about it here but that seems like a bad idea so I'll just take snips. The rest you can read here, and hopefully you won't wait until the end of your nursing career to start to believe that you, in fact, have such power and that you can start putting it to good use NOW.

"The goal of the Support with Integrity Pledge is to strengthen and to unite the efforts of breastfeeding supporters who focus on getting the baby fed, and not taking sides about how it’s done, or being right. We each may prefer one organization, technique, method, schedule or position, but we believe that a mama who is breastfeeding deserves support with whatever technique she chooses, and whatever works for her and her baby

To be clear, this pledge isn’t about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding. It’s simply about uniting breastfeeding supporters who have a common goal: to help normalize breastfeeding, to help remove the barriers to breastfeeding, and to provide a peaceful village of supporters united in their desire to help women successfully breastfeed."

 


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