Breastfeeding made me a better and stronger mom…and woman

Welcome to the first Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (March). To celebrate National Women’s Month, our participants share how breastfeeding has changed them as a woman. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.

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There were quite a few things that I really wanted to be “when I grow up”.

I wanted to be a doctor.  Check, I was able to get a medical education in one of the nation’s top medical schools, pass the board exams, trained and qualified to be an ophthalmologist.

I wanted to be a wife.  Check.  I got married to the man I love and who I know loves me.

I wanted to be a mom.  Check.  I got pregnant a month after the wedding.

But then I quickly realized that having a baby and BEING a mom is really not the same.

Being a mom means making decisions that would affect the well being of your baby.  One of those decisions was what to feed your baby.

I chose to breastfeed. And it was a decision I was so proud of.

I chose to breastfeed despite all the pain I had at the start, when E and I were still getting the hang of breastfeeding.  The engorgement, the cracked and bleeding nipples, the pain (I know, I’m repeating myself here), not to mention the times that you feel that you’re so tied down especially when there’s a growth spurt, when the baby doesn’t seem to want to unlatch at all!  But I plodded on, believing that this is the best food for my baby and this is the only time that I get to give it to him.

I chose to breastfeed despite advise to the contrary by well meaning friends and relatives, especially when my baby wasn’t close to being the chubby baby that is the ideal of TV commercials here in the Philippines.  My baby would be the lampayatot baby, the one who didn’t drink the right milk, take the right vitamins…you get the picture.  But I still believed that I was giving him much more than what others give me credit for.  The right nutrients in the right amount, at the right temperature and other things besides, like IgA antibodies, hugs, cuddles and the comfort of having mommy near.

I chose to give breast milk while I was working, even if breast pumps were expensive and it’s such a hassle to have to pump every so often, and I had to lug around the pump everywhere I go.

I chose to do so because I felt I was giving my baby the best.  It meant a lot of personal sacrifices, but when I see my baby thrive with only my milk (for the first 6 months of his life anyway, before we introduced solids), I know I made the right choice.

I realized then that breastfeeding has made me a better mom, a mom who can make the difficult decisions and have the willpower to continue with that decision if I felt that I made the right one.  Sure, I’ve probably done it before, when I decided to go into medicine and when I decided to get married.  But this time, I’m doing the decision that would not only affect me, but also affect a little baby who can’t decide for himself and would depend on his parents to make all the right choices.

I know it was the first of many decisions I had to make for my child…and I better make the right ones!

And breastfeeding IS the right choice for me.

So, I made that choice again the second time, when R was born.

And I know that I will always make difficult choices for my kids throughout the time that they are still dependent on me.  I know that I won’t always make the popular choices, but I will always decide on what seems to be best, stick with it (unless it turns out to be wrong, then I will change it).

I really “grew up”.  As a mom.  As a woman.  I realize that making crucial choices, one of which is what to feed your newborn, entails strength, confidence and decisiveness, which is a hallmark of a mature adult.  I think I am one now.

Image was first published in the 1st (1876–1899), 2nd (1904–1926) or 3rd (1923–1937) edition of Nordisk familjebok. The copyrights for that book have expired and this image is in the public domain.

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Please take the time to read the other carnival entries.

Breastfeeding Changed Me at Apples & Dumplings

The Choice to be More Than a Woman at Mec as Mom [@delisyus and Facebook]

Breastfeeding made me a better and stronger mom…and woman at Ethanmama: The Working Mom…Finding Balance [@ethanmama and Facebook]

Feeling Fab at 40 at I’m Perfectly Created

Supercow Isn’t Sexy at Rainy Days and Mom Days [Facebook]

Of Nursing and Self-Awareness at Changing Nappies in High Heels [@Lilly_pad and Facebook]

Same Old Brand New Me at the odyssey of dinna

Juggling Mommy Act: Fully Breastfeeding while Caring for “ME” at Handy Mommy

Breastfeeding and my self-image at Topaz Mommy [@FrancesASales and Facebook]

My Breastfeeding Story at Manila Fashion Observer [@cd_mfo]

Breastfeeding and My Career at Soprano Mom Writes [@touringkitty]

Joining the milkwagon at domestication of dotty b

A Love Story at Misis Teapot [@stellapastores]

Breastfeeding Has Made Me a Better Woman at Truly Rich Mom [@tinasrodriguez and Facebook]

Please think before you comment at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom [@MamaBabyLove and Facebook]

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This entry was posted by admin on Friday, March 18th, 2011 at 8:54 am and is filed under blog carnival, Personal . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

13 Comments

  1. Mec says:

    it is rather weird talaga no, to have to fight for this when it is so natural and beautiful? :)

  2. […] at Apples & Dumplings The Choice to be More Than a Woman at Mec as Mom [@delisyus and Facebook] Breastfeeding made me a better and stronger mom…and woman at Ethanmama: The Working Mom…Finding Balance [@ethanmama and Facebook] My Superpower at […]

  3. […] *Breastfeeding made me a better and stronger mom…and woman at Ethanmama […]

  4. Jenny says:

    some moms choose not to breastfeed and I respect their choice, it may not be right for me but it may be the right choice for them. BUT what i do hope is that when they made that choice, they were informed and KNEW about the choice they made because often, this informed choice is removed by other factors affecting or surrounding the mom.

  5. Sometimes when I hear moms who give up or they say their milk ran out and all those reasons.. It really gets on my nerves! I know it’s a choice but can’t they try a little bit harder? I hope more moms would be more aware of breastfeeding.

  6. Love the pic that you chose for this post! :-) Maybe we should come out with a magazine or bookazine of sorts that has lots of breastfeeding pictures and artworks as part of our breastfeeding advocacy! What do you yummymummies think? :-)

  7. HandyMommy says:

    I agree that the confidence and decisiveness to breastfeed made us mature moms and adults! Be well!

  8. Tin says:

    My daughter isn’t as chubby as other babies too because she was breastfed, but when I point out that she’s never gotten sick and when they see how active and charming she is, people can’t help but agree that it’s “mama’s milk” did all that! =)

  9. Ree says:

    oh so true–that having a baby and being a mom are not the same thing. being a good mom is something that i struggle with everyday. i like what mec said on being an ‘intentional parent’. that’s something i try everyday.

  10. dot says:

    yep. breastfeeding is a choice. and such a wonderful choice that is! :)

  11. I never realized how difficult this commitment was until I was actually on the journey itself. It’s sooo demanding!!! But — thank God — it’s also sooo fulfilling! I know I come out a better person every day that stick to my promise and continue nursing my baby :)

  12. Chrissy says:

    Totally agree with Teacher Tina, we should come up with a mag or bookazine of sorts! :) Up the ante of raising breastfeeding awareness! :)

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