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Friday, April 15, 2011
Guest Post: My Mommy Boot Camp
Today's guest blogger is Nathalie Velasco Tan. She shares her experiences about how the first weeks of breastfeeding are being like in a boot camp but with fortitude and support, she was able to enjoy her breastfeeding relationship with her son and considers this an amazing gift which will affect her future parenting choices.
When I gave birth to our Ben, I knew nothing about taking care of a baby, especially breastfeeding. I did read a parenting book or two but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. I remember trying to feed him at the hospital, just going with the flow, hoping he'd fall asleep so I can give him back to the nursery. When it was time for us to go home, I was terrified. I didn't know what to do but try to feed him to keep him for crying. The first weeks were a struggle to the point that I seriously thought about exclusively pumping. After all, I thought, what's important is the nutrients in the milk, right? I'm so glad that I was highly encouraged to direct feed because it really helped me get to know my baby better.
Looking back, the first few weeks of breastfeeding Ben was like a mommy boot camp for me. Since I was his source of food and comfort, I had no choice but to practice holding him, studying each and every part of him while he fed. It taught me to be patient and flexible since he fed on demand. It thought me to be sensitive to his cues because I notice he latches better when he's not yet very hungry or sleepy. More importantly, I learned how to become assertive when it comes to my parenting choices. I've always been the type of person that's non confrontational and easily swayed by other people's opinion. But when it comes to breastfeeding Ben, I've always stood my ground despite several advices to mix-feed. I think this is because I armed myself with enough information to make me decide that this is the right choice for him.
And now more than a year later, I'm still reaping the benefits of sticking it out during those crazy first few weeks. I know how Ben feels by the way he feeds, whether he's needs comfort because he's sick or just needs to relax after an hour of playing. The expression of his face when I lift my shirt is just priceless. And because I've been able to defend my decision to breastfeed until now, I've realized that given enough information and conviction, I will be able to stand by my future parenting choices. I'm so thankful to God for blessing me with this amazing gift.