I decided that I really need to write about this as an encouragement and reminder to myself, especially when the going gets tough in this breastfeeding journey.
Right from the start, when I was expecting my first child, Daniel, my dear husband was very determined that we should fully breastfeed the baby. Hence, it was a joint decision that no matter what, I would try my best to fully breastfeed Daniel. For the first month, I had sore nipples and Daniel also spent a couple of days in hospital due to jaundice. Hence, we had to supplement with formula. But after the first month, Daniel was on full breastmilk …..all the way till I went back to work when he was about 7 months. I was very proud of myself, that I had met the WHO recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, save for a couple of formula feeds in the first month.
However, I was never fully convinced about exclusive breastfeeding. I was actually ok to supplement with formula and felt that my husband was rather extreme in his position about breastfeeding. But nevertheless, since he felt so strongly about it, I just went along with it. It was not till recently, after I had Ezra that I changed my view of breastfeeding.
I clearly remember one evening in January this year …..my mum and sister were having a conversation about losing weight in preparation of Pris’s (my other sister) wedding. I remarked that my reward for hard work of breastfeeding is weight loss and I didn’t have to deliberately try to lose weight. I was dropping about 1 kg a month since giving birth, thanks to breastfeeding. During that time also, 2 month old Ezra had caught a cough from Daniel and I was so worried for him as he was so young.
That night, as I was praying for the Lord to heal him, I felt the Lord whisper to me ….”Trust in the beauty of my design”. I will never forget those words. I knew that He was referring to breastfeeding. He was reassuring me that the Ezra did not need any medication and by taking in the breastmilk which contains antibodies, he would get better. I also felt the Lord say that losing weight is not the only reward of breastfeeding but there are so much more benefits and rewards for baby and mummy. I never saw any beauty in breastfeeding prior to this. In fact, I personally felt that nursing especially direct latching which I am doing is quite unglam. But that night, I totally changed my view. I wept at how lacking in understanding I was previously ….and now I will never view breastfeeding in the same way ….because I now know it is God’s beautiful design for a mother to nurture a babe. Every pro-breastfeeding article I read now is no longer some ‘propaganda’ in a bid to support breastfeeding by the breastfeeding fanatics but now serves to reinforce the wonder of how God created the human body and His beautiful design. I have been converted! I now belong to the pro-breastfeeding camp! The Lord also put in my heart a certain length of time to breastfeed Ezra to which I cried out that I need grace!!
The breastfeeding journey is not an easy one and also quite a lonely one. Total breastfeeding by latching is not quite the norm here in Singapore and that is something quite difficult for a conformist like me. I don’t like sticking out like a sore thumb. Right from the start, there will always be people suggesting that we give some formula so that I can get more rest. I understand their intentions…cos full breastfeeding is toughest on mummy. Ezra breastfeeds on demand and even now at 5 months, nurses as frequent as 2 hourly or a bit less. Breastfeeding inconveniences mummy a lot …..baby goes wherever mummy goes….can’t be away from baby for long. And sobs …… I can’t wear all my nice dresses ….the type of clothing a nursing mum can wear is also limited. The list of inconveniences goes on. The challenge would also be to pump regularly when I return to work! I hate pumping!! I really salute mums who exclusively pump. So time-consuming, so much washing and logistics involved and I suck at pumping ….output is poor ….still trying to be more skillful and pump more milk.
Have I every felt like giving up? Often! But after understanding and revelation on breastfeeding from the Lord, I am more determined that I am going to breastfeed.