“Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (December). For this month, we want to honor breastfeeding for having enriched our lives and blessed us, maybe even empowered us, in a way that only breastfeeding can. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.”
Being able to sustain breastfeeding for almost sixteen months is the greatest gift I have ever received and given. I credit my success to the Lord Almighty, my newfound devotion to Our Lady of La Leche, my family and friends who supported me from day one up until now. And with the looks of it, both my daughter and I are not ready to stop anytime soon. Not just yet.
Along with the gift of breastfeeding, I have also received other “gifts” that naturally came with it, which I now have realized. Allow me to share some with you:
1. The Gift of Commitment
I chose to breastfeed. And I prepared myself for it. I did my homework — research, attend La Leche League meets, talk with moms who had similar experience or at least can share some of their knowledge. Commitment is also a choice. I know I was willing to commit to be with my daughter especially in the first few months, when no one else at home knew what breastfeeding was all about. The same commitment I have used even when I have to work. Thankfully, I can work part-time so I pump occasionally. Never had and never will result to formula.
2. The Gift of Confidence
I and my daughter are notorious public breastfeeders. I stopped using breastfeeding stations after a snooty nurse from the mall clinic didn’t allow me to get in because I had a stroller. So we nurse anytime, anywhere. I am confident to breastfeed in public also because I’ve learned the tricks of it (though at times it’s a challenge with my cute squirmy daughter!). So far, no nasty or malicious looks, no guards preventing us to do so, thankfully. My husband is ready to protect me and fight for me if anyone does so.
3. The Gift of Communication
Breastfeeding is my advocacy. God allowed me to use social media, such as this blog, joining blog carnivals, posting tweets, status messages, to encourage more moms and families to breastfeed. Though I didn’t push through with my LATCH training as lactation counselor, God still allowed me to sort of act like one by visiting a new mom in a nearby hospital and giving tips to her new breastfeeding experience. Likewise, my husband supports and promotes breastfeeding through his blog and joining blog carnivals — so far he’s joined two Milk Mama Diaries carnivals and he doesn’t mind if he’s the only dad who joins! I’m one proud wife and mom here!
4. The Gift of Camaraderie
Breastfeeding gave me even more new friends! The La Leche League meets, Babywearing meets (another advocacy as well), blog carnival, tweeting, fb-ing, the devotion to Our Lady of La Leche, opened doors and windows to more like-minded moms. Camaraderie even if some of them I haven’t met in person, but the empowerment, inspiration, and prayers they’ve given is more than enough.
On top of all these, what’s the best gift?
Not to confuse it with confidence, Merriam-Webster defines courage as a mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Let me share a passage from this web article: http://ezinearticles.com/?Is-Courage-the-Same-As-Self-Confidence?&id=4216525
“Most of our choices require confidence and courage. It takes a lot of courage to choose to speak up and to let someone know how you feel, especially if that person has authority over you. It takes confidence, on the other hand, to try new things. It takes confidence and courage to put yourself first.”
I conquered breastfeeding problems in the early days like sore nipples, almost no sleep because baby feeds sometimes every 30 minutes, oversupply, reflux. I didn’t follow our pediatrician’s and other people’s recommendation to give formula because they say I have a small baby. I know they may mean well, but I didn’t give up on breastfeeding, simply because I want to tell them that breastfeeding is normal. I resist, but I persist.
It will surely take some more time to make people realize that the female breasts really are meant for feeding the baby. It’s the “breast” gift we can give to our children.
And before I forget, Merry Christmas from our breastfeeding family!
Do take the time to check out all the posts in this month’s carnival:
Jenny O. http://www.chroniclesofanursingmom.com/2011/12/gifts-of-breastfeeding.html
Jenny R. http://mymommyology.com/2011/12/12/if-the-magi-were-queens/