Rocky Start in My Breastfeeding Journey

Now that the world is celebrating the Breastfeeding Month, my heart feels it is necessary to share my story so far. This is to express my gratitude for getting the moral support I desperately needed and, I hope, serve as encouragement to other parents who will embark on the same journey.

As a first-time mother (and typically worrywart at that), I knew there will be more downs than ups and longer sobs than happy tears. But everyone’s telling me to “relax” and “think positive” like a broken record, so I decided to take heed. 

I was due to give birth in July 8th, but I started lactating as early as May 18th. When my ob-gyne informed me there’s a small percentage of expectant mothers who experience this, I felt my optimism about my breastfeeding journey skyrocket. I thought getting reliable breast pads was the only hindrance to the walk in the park that lies ahead. 

I had unmet expectations when I gave birth. My husband was not allowed to accompany and camwhore with me in the operating room, plus I was in deep slumber during our unang yakap. I felt so deprived of that once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch my baby breast crawl and hold her in tearful admiration after (yeeeeah, I watch too much TV). Since I regained my consciousness before being ushered out of the operating room, I was anxious for that reunion with my baby girl. In fact, the nurse in the recovery room was astonished that I was already awake when I arrived there. According to this breastfeeding class I attended, the baby must be fed within an hour after childbirth and no force on earth can doze me off again. Finally, a nurse came in and made Brielle latch on me. To my relief, she did. And I felt so accomplished that I was able to provide her first immunization through colostrum. This happiness proved to be short-lived as I learned they fed her glucose water in the nursery and she had to be brought back for more tests. She’ll be roomed-in later in the afternoon. 

Continuous non-separation of newborn and mother starts NOW!

Continuous non-separation of newborn and mother starts NOW!

I followed what I learned during the abovementioned breastfeeding class: feed the baby every 2.5-3 hours, monitor her poop and urine and the likes. This went on until we arrived home the following day. By nighttime in Day 2, the baby’s incessant cries alarmed me and the rest of the household. My mother and sister-in-law detected she’s very hungry and she was not getting any milk from me all along. I argued the 4 instances of meconium on Day 1 should prove she was getting fed but they clarified those discharges were composed of the food she’s consumed while she’s still inside my womb. Then everything was a back-to-back flashback: how she concluded each feeding crying (but she’s probably experiencing other discomfort!) and how my milk flow suddenly stopped about a week before giving birth (but my ob-gyne assured me it happens and milk supply will make a comeback after birth!). 

When my husband Waldo can’t drink any milk when he suckled on my nipples, I finally believed them that my milk duct was clogged. Suddenly, my mother is urging me to bring the baby to the ER so the doctors can prescribe formula milk! Of course I gave her a resounding no. Then they chorused “Kaya mo bang tiising nagugutom ang anak mo?” It was too much for me to hear. Even though I know we’re not supposed to offer exclusively-breastfed infants water until 6 months, I gave in. I had no idea when will my milk supply be established. It pained me to see her gobble it up and panicked at the potential nipple confusion. Up until the wee hours, I was watching my baby for hunger cues and I would instantly offer my breast. Again, she would latch yet end up shedding tears. 

Good thing my mother recalled that my college friend Ira is still breastfeeding her then 8-month-old baby. To my delight, she agreed to wet nurse my baby at 6 am! I held back my tears when I witnessed how she hungrily suckled on Ira’s breast. It was just too painful! Knowing how troubled I was for the past hours, Ira made me get some shuteye and, when I was out of earshot, even lectured my mother about her erroneous wala-kang-gatas conclusion. 

They woke me up hours later for my massage (for my clogged milk duct) and I learned that Ira fed my baby twice and even promised to come back in the afternoon to pump milk. The massage and intakes of sinuom (pinakuluang malunggay and ginger) were no instant remedy, but I slowly felt better in Ira’s company. She expressed milk that we used for drip-dropping to stimulate my own supply.

Drip-dropping.  Photo obtained from Chronicles of A Nursing Mom

Drip-dropping.
Photo obtained from Chronicles of A Nursing Mom

 

It was no easy feat and, at one point, Waldo expressed frustration and accused me for excluding him in such an important decision. It was true I didn’t consult him about breastfeeding our baby, but I invited him to join me in the breastfeeding class and I simply assumed he’d agree because he grew up in the province himself. So, I refused to temporarily feed her formula milk while we’re waiting for my milk supply. And no means HELL, NO!

I know I can’t rely on Ira’s generosity forever. In Day 4, Ira and her family will be off somewhere after hearing the Mass. She offered to wet nurse Brielle before the 7am Mass (bless her heart!) but we declined since we don’t want the baby exposed to too many people yet. Even though we’re not supposed to pump milk within the first 6 weeks, I had no choice but to produce my own. It took me the entire afternoon to produce an ounce! So we used that for the 7pm feeding, but we don’t have any more for the 10pm feeding! Again, Ira to the rescue! 

Photo obtained from Breastfeeding Pinays

Photo obtained from Breastfeeding Pinays

In Day 5, I still persevered. After feeding her spoonfuls of Ira’s milk, I made her latch on my breast. I wasn’t expecting anything. To my shock, it lasted for about 20 minutes! One look at my baby’s gaping mouth and I know that my supply has finally arrived! I even pressed my nipples to be sure. Confiiiiirmed! Thank God for giving me the patience to unli-latch, for a supportive mother who cooks malunggay meals, halaan soups and other lactogenic food! (Note: Actually, after my milk supply got established, I didn’t purchase another batch of malunggay capsules anymore. I let the unli-latch and unli-positive thinking do the work for me. I suggest you read this post.)

Ever since this whole ordeal took place, Ira mentioned we can seek help from lactation consultants and other breastfeeding advocates. As a member of the group Breastfeeding Pinays, Ira was able to locate a lactation peer counsellor here in the South to help me address the next issue: getting the right latch. Although Ira said Brielle had the perfect latch, I can’t ignore the clicking sounds and the baby’s tendency to latch-unlatch-cry-latch. In Day 6, I got a visit from Nina who happens to be founder of South PiNanays (SPiN) as well. She assured me that I had milk since Day 1 (colostrum is really thick and it’s not that visible compared to mature milk), she confirmed that baby’s got the perfect latch and she taught me how to position Brielle to make her comfortable during feeding, among others. It was so comforting to feel that there are angels out there when we need guidance. 

Meet Nina of L.A.T.C.H. & South PiNanays

Meet Nina of L.A.T.C.H. & South PiNanays

In conclusion (wait, I’m not saying the bumpy ride ends here), I would like to thank the big-hearted women who helped me in this rocky beginning of my breastfeeding journey. There’s Mec (L.A.T.C.H. counsellor and Breastfeeding Pinays admin) who tirelessly answered all my questions about breastfeeding and listened to all my worries since I discovered about my pregnancy until now, Ira for her willingness to share her stash, wisdom and time, Nina for her expertise and for still checking on my journey and my own mother for being supportive in my decision to give my baby the best nutrition possible. I couldn’t make it this far without your loving assistance. Please don’t give up on me. 

Also, I would like to thank my husband for being patient with me. I pray that I continue to be patient with him in this journey. 

Are you about to take the same path that I did? Never allow yourself to feel alone. Seek help and you will obtain it. All is well!

 

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PLUS SIZE POWER: PINAY CURVIES, WHY THEY DO WHAT THEY DO WITH OR WITHOUT RECOGNITION

We invite you to read up on our journey so far: our motivations, our dreams, our favorite memories for the past year, among others. Thanks, Erzullie!

ERZULLIE: FIERCE PLUS SIZE FASHION

 

 

A couple of Erzulliestas is shaking the local plus size scene — Mitch Cagadas and Lornadahl Campilan, the girls behind Pinay Curvies, have been holding local events aiming to empower plus size women. We sat down with them for a little chat about what motivates them to keep on doing what they do and why go through all the trouble in doing so. 

 

Presently, you are the only blog that actively focuses on local plus size events. Was that the original plan?

 

 

 

Lorna :  I’m under the impression that The Curvy Lifestyle did the same thing before us. It was our vision to make it a smaller world for plus size Pinays. We hope to hold more events that tackle wellness and nutrition, getaway and Philippine Fatshion Week!

 

 

 

Mitch : It was clear that it will be a community…

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PLUS SIZE LIFE: PHILIPPINE PLUS SIZE FASHION BLOGGERS THAT YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT

I’m so honoured to be included in this list! Nakakataba lalo ng puso! Wee!

ERZULLIE: FIERCE PLUS SIZE FASHION

Happy Tuesday, Erzulliestas!

The local plus size blog-o-sphere is buzzing with new plus size bloggers almost daily. We wanted to share with you some plus size fashion bloggers that we have discovered that you girls might enjoy too. If you want something fresh and new, here is our list: (this is just partial)

1. Feastful Life

She auditioned for The Next Erzullie Icon last year, but before that, we already met her in the First Look of Erzullie. Think Gabi Fresh meets eastern style sensibilities. You can never go wrong in finding some plus size style inspiration from this brains and beauty!

Outfit we love the most (so far): This hard to pull off gold sequin dress.

2. Extraseksi

I initially fell in love with this blog more for its travel posts, but we can’t deny that this plus size blog was also meant to share some realistic, city…

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PLUS SIZE FASHION: ROCKING THE ALL WHITE ENSEMBLE

ERZULLIE: FIERCE PLUS SIZE FASHION

 

 

In spirit of Pinay Curvies’ All White blog link up challenge, we would like to write an article about how to rock the “All White Ensemble”. 

 

I’ll be honest. Erzullie has not showcased an all white ensemble yet (so far), but you can see a few white accents every now and then. Also, we will have to admit that wearing white can be a little taxing. Specially if you are a commuter, white is really going to be a challenge as an outfit. You don’t want to end up having a lot of stains before you go to the office or even when you are about to go home and obviously, white is not as stain resistant as we want it to be (of course, it depends on the fabric). 

 

But this will not get us disheartened to dare to wear such an ensemble, yes? 

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What To Wear: Floral Edition

If there is one thing that makes 2013 more fun it’s because of the undying affair with floral prints (other than B&W of course) that bloomed in full swing this year. In dresses, skirts, bags, rompers and imagine pant suits? They’re just everywhere! We’ll we’re not here to complain, we have our fair share of this garden party too. I for one, wore and own lots of these that sometimes my hubby would think he’s with a walking flower vase. Oh isn’t it the most charming thing?! 🙂

So here at PinayCurvies we’ve rounded up four looks, to give you ideas on how to corporate the floral trend.

The Dark Blazer: What I love with floral blazer is that you don’t basically need to accessorize more in the neck area because of the boldness of the print. Also the fact that it is easy to slip from…

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Pinay Curvies Took The Quiz Night Challenge!

I’ve always been intrigued and eager to experience quiz night with good friends. So Mitch and I agreed to fulfill this long overdue fantasy as our follow-up event to the swap meet and greet . Remember this invitation to the plus size community last month?

Unfortunately, the others who confirmed can’t make it. Loren was suffering from fever that time, thanks to our bipolar weather. And so was Jane. Get well soon, ladies! My fellow boarders Joy and Jinky had last-minute concerns to take care of. Ayzee, on the other hand, almost made it but she and her car got stuck somewhere. So it was just Mitch and I (and our combined stock knowledge) against the real geeks (or nerds, whatever the right term is). Challenge accepted!

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Sole Searching in Liliw

Traveling Dahl

In April 2007, Joyce, my classmate in graduate school, invited our all-girl group to a quick sembreak getaway in her hometown in Pagsanjan. This weekend trip involves shooting the rapids en route to Pagsanjan Falls, enjoying a festive lunch in their farm in Cavinti, touring Caliraya and sole searching in Liliw.

Guess which one excites me the most? Of course, it’s the encounter with the wild water to Pagsanjan Falls! Were you thinking the shoe shopping segment? Well, it ranks second. I guess I’m not imeldific or kikay enough. And I can already imagine you arguing “There’s Imelda in everyone!” I guess that’s true if I could afford to spoil my flat feet and give in to every craving for shoes. In this side trip to Liliw, I realized it’s possible.

The Liliw Festival was ongoing during our visit so we can’t haggle much. But then again, they were selling their…

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PASALUBONG: Handwoven Phone Sleeve from Tagulwanen Tribe in Bukidnon

Traveling Dahl

When we parted ways from our getaway in Camiguin in 2011, Lorie and I felt sure we will see each other again in the future. If it won’t be in the succeeding Talaandig Festival celebration, we knew we will catch up on each other’s lives in Manila.

When she arrived in Quezon City in November last year, I was delighted to know that I was just a few blocks away from her brother’s home. This calls for a meet-up! Through her posts on Facebook, I learned about her new advocacy: helping women weavers of Tagulwanen Tribe in the trade. I was greatly impressed with their apparently tedious handiwork in each photo she uploaded. And I expected to be more love-struck the moment I see the precious mats in person.

Lorie narrated how she got involved in this project. How her eyes sparkled with pride when she recounted finding her…

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