By Jing Lejano
I breastfed all of my children. Yes, all four of them.
At the time, breastfeeding wasn’t the big thing that it is today. Still, I knew that I had to do it—something in my gut told me that breastfeeding was the way to go.
And so, in a span of six or seven years (I had my kids about two years apart), I always had a little babe suckling on my teat. And here’s what I learned from all those seemingly endless days and nights…
- Breastfeeding is still the best—and fastest—way to lose post-pregnancy weight. Forget about going on a diet. Breastfeeding your babe will help you shed those unwanted pounds. P.S. I was stick thin for most of those six or seven years.
- In the case of breastfeeding, size doesn’t matter. Just because you have big boobs doesn’t mean you’ll have lots of milk—and vice versa. I think milk production has more to do with supply and demand than anything else. Your breasts will produce as much milk as your baby needs, so it’s best to keep your baby suckling. If you do it less frequently, it’s sort of a signal to your body to produce less milk as well.
- Don’t ever forget to put on those nursing pads! When I started working, I’d sometimes forget to put on nursing pads. Lo and behold, I’d be in a meeting and I’d start feeling my milk come out, and I’d have to excuse myself and hurry to the bathroom. Boo!
- Gear up! When I say gear up, I mean get the proper underwear support. Your breasts are going to bloom like crazy. You have to give them proper support or else, it’s going to be such a pain.
- Yes, malunggay (moringa) helps! One of the first meals that my mom prepared for me after I gave birth was clam soup with lots of malunggay leaves. She told me that it would help increase my milk supply, and I believe it did. I also remember drinking lots of water then—I was always thirsty.
- Find the position that best suits you and your baby. Whether you’re sitting on your sofa or lying on the bed, you have to find that one position where you and your baby are most comfortable with—or else, it wouldn’t work.
- Make sure your baby feeds on both breasts. Otherwise, you’ll find the breast which hasn’t been completely drained aching. Ouchie!
- Your experience will be different with every child. Just because it was easy with your first child doesn’t mean it would be the same with the next. Every child is different; every breastfeeding experience is different. Don’t feel guilty if you’re having a hard time with your third child when everything went smoothly with the first two. That’s just the way it is.
- Some babies are just lazy. What can I say? Some babies just don’t like the experience all that much. OK, I might get some hate mail from fierce breastfeeding advocates, but when you’ve tried and tried for many days and many nights, and you could only make your baby suckle for a few minutes or so, don’t beat yourself up. Try pumping, putting your breast milk in a bottle, and then feeding baby. It’s the same thing.
- Don’t worry about how your breasts would eventually look like. When I was single, my breasts were firm and perky. When I got pregnant, they got big. When I started breastfeeding, the size of them just went crazy. But after breastfeeding my fourth child, I found my breasts, well, kind of depleted, and for a year or two, I felt like a flat-chested teenager. Today, I’m somewhere between my single and first pregnancy breasts—not so big, not so small, not as perky true, but just the size and shape I like. Coolness!
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month.