Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

Matilda was still very small, when Joey and I agreed on trying for another baby as soon as she turns 2 years old. When Matilda was already about to turn two, (it was faster than I expected!) I also had my own hesitations about having another baby. In my head, I was thinking, “What if my pregnancy becomes complicated that we need to stop breastfeeding?”. And during this time, Matilda wasn’t showing any sign of weaning yet, even the slightest bit. Honestly, it made me anxious from time to time and I just relied onto God’s Word, for strength to overcome it.

We really wanted to go past the 2-year mark to maximize the benefits of breastfeeding, however, deep inside I knew that if ever the need arise, Matilda will be more than ready physically, as she gets her main source of nutrition now from solid food. It would then just be the psychological aspect I would need to address.

Breastfeeding is one of those things, like birthing a child, which I never thought I would endure. It is truly all by God’s grace! All I really wanted was to be able to give my best in all that I do, especially when it comes to bringing up my future children. With that, I knew in my heart I never wanted to force Matilda to wean if she’s not yet ready, that’s why I am still breastfeeding her up to now, and will continue to do so until she decides to wean on her own.

”Isn’t it dangerous to breastfeed while pregnant?”

As long as you have an uncomplicated pregnancy without any underlying medical conditions, (you are not classified as high-risk) and you don’t experience bleeding, premature contractions, lower back pain, or severe cramping in the abdomen, then it is safe to continue breastfeeding, until you reach your term.

Right now, I am close to reaching my 4th month. I haven’t encountered any problems from what I mentioned above, that’s why my OB-Gyne, who I love so much, never asked me to stop breastfeeding. This is because there really is no concrete evidence that links premature births to breastfeeding. And there are also plenty of mothers who have done it successfully. There isn’t really anything to worry about as long as your OB-Gyne is really knowledgeable, and an advocate for breastfeeding.

“Isn’t that milk supposed to be ‘reserved’ for the next baby?”

Our bodies are made perfect by God to be able to nourish our young. It does not stop producing milk as long as there is a demand. When baby number two comes, there will still be enough milk for them to share, hence, the term, tandem feeding. This happens when an older child feeds along with the younger sibling. This term is also used for breastfeeding multiple babies, such in the case of twin siblings.

“I always get so hungry because of breastfeeding, isn’t that a sign the baby in my tummy is being deprived of nutrients?”

The answer is, no. Because our body changes during the pregnancy, even the size of our organs also change with it. If you noticed, whenever we are pregnant, we can no longer eat as much as we used to, in one sitting. We tend to eat smaller portions, but we do it frequently. This also applies when we are breastfeeding during pregnancy. We just have to be smart in the choices we make when it comes to food and pick those that will benefit us, as well as our babies. Food that are high in calcium, iron and fiber are some of the things we need to add more to our diet, like that of green leafy vegetables and seasonal (local) fruits. Remember, we are not eating for two, (or in my case, three!) in a sense that we should eat a lot! We eat for two (or three) knowing that there is extra nourishment needed for our baby to grow healthy, and not in terms of the actual amount of food we eat.

“My breasts are so sensitive during pregnancy, it hurts so bad. How do I go on breastfeeding?”

This part is inevitable. Yes, it is true that it may hurt during the 1st trimester as our body adjusts to the changes brought about by our pregnancy. Nipples become very sensitive and based on my own experience, having a good and deep latch really alleviates the discomfort. Take note that this pain usually goes away in the second trimester, so a little sacrifice on our end is all we need. And if it’s any consolation, seeing the satisfied look on the face of your child who is just happy to be comforted by your breasts will really help you overcome it too.

“How do I manage breastfeeding 2 kids if they both want to feed at the same time?”

My expert friends say that it would be good to breastfeed the younger child first to make sure he/she gets all the colostrum he/she needs in the early days of life. As soon as the mature milk comes in, usually on the 4th or 5th day after birth, it really doesn’t matter which child nurses first. If you can manage to feed them together with each of your breasts, that would also be a good idea. However, take note that since breastmilk changes in composition depending on the age of your younger child, usually, the older child becomes so full from the breastmilk (which is high in calories to support the infant’s growth), they sometimes lose their appetite for solid food. It would be good to also watch out for this as it would possibly disrupt the established eating pattern of your child. Finding the balance is still the key.

Are you currently pregnant and breastfeeding? Or thinking about continuing to breastfeed even when you conceive again? Please leave a comment and let’s talk about your concerns!

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A Breastfeeding Advocate in my Husband

Just a few days ago, Joey and I had a chance to have dinner with other couples we recently met at church. As we were in the middle of our discussion about our blessings, struggles, and life, in general, Matilda asked for mommy’s milk. Suddenly, our topic shifted to breastfeeding.

Ever since I attended Arugaan’s Peer Counselor Training conducted by Ms. Velvet Escario-Roxas, I never looked at breastmilk and breastfeeding the same way again. Having the chance to share all the information I have learned to Joey, he also became even more convinced to help me succeed on my own breastfeeding journey.

As he was talking about the benefits of breastfeeding and dangers of formula milk feeding, I couldn’t help but marvel at his confidence and knowledge in this area. I made an advocate of breastfeeding through my very own husband! And I just thought, wow! This is such a blessing! In my head, I felt like crying.

I got a bit lost in the conversation as I looked back on how Joey played a very important role in making this possible. I just feel so blessed to have him as my main supporter. The early days were much of a challenge, but I could have never gone through those difficult days (and nights!) without his help.

Having been through a tough labor and delivery, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I also had problems with Matilda’s latch and in keeping her awake through the course of feeding. I cried numerous times (alone and along with Matilda) and for once, I  just wanted to give up. But, Joey, such a great husband he is, kept encouraging me and reminding me of all the reasons why we are doing this in the first place.

Whenever I would feel so stressed, he would offer to carry Matilda and just rock her a bit to relax and stop her from crying. He would offer to take care of her as he would let me sleep without having to worry if Matilda is okay. Joey also cooked nutritious food for me like my favorite, Beef Nilaga, with plenty of soup, to help in boosting my milk supply. Those are just some of the things he did in the early days as I was still recovering from the birth of our child.

Even though some people tend to overlook the fact, that husbands play a major role in breastfeeding success, I would like everyone to know that a little support from them can go a long way. Just for one, if Joey hadn’t been as open to the idea of breastfeeding in public, we (Matilda and I) would have struggled way too much, since we were out a lot. Finding a place to feed discreetly was never an option, because he approved of feeding anytime, anywhere. He is indeed very proud of me and I feel that every time we needed to sit down (or sometimes stand!) to put Matilda to the breast.

Joey, from time to time, would also share stories about him discussing with his officemates and friends on how much we save and how great it is to have a fully breastfed child. He would often cite examples like how convenient it is to travel without needing to worry about sterilizing bottles and what not. And also, how he doesn’t need to get up at night to prepare milk.

I never in my wildest dreams thought that Joey would take all these things to heart. That in those conversations I thought he wasn’t listening, he actually was! And now, hearing him talk about it with so much enthusiasm is just wonderful. I feel like he would make an impact in the lives of people and that’s what makes him an advocate. Indeed, I didn’t waste any of my time bringing him to my trainings, classes, and just talking to him about these things.

I am one proud wife to this man right here!

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