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Friday, October 14, 2011

Guest Post: Nurturing Future Breastfeeding Advocates

*This is a guest post written by one of the LATCH co-founders, Corinne Medrana.  She wrote this post for a  the talk she gave during the SM Baby Company Event, entitled Nourish with Love. Breastfeeding. last 27 August 2011.  Since writing this post, Cor found that she is pregnant with her 5th child!  Congratulations Cor on your dragon baby ;)

Good afternoon, my name is Corinne Medrana and as co-founder of LATCH I’ve been invited to share my reasons for choosing to make a difference in my children’s lives by deciding to breastfeed. To be honest, it was not a difficult decision for me to make because I’m fortunate enough to be among the moms for whom breastfeeding is easy, it came naturally to me and my firstborn, Enzo who is now 10 ½ years old. I don’t remember struggling with teaching him to latch correctly and I didn’t have insecurities about the quantity of my breastmilk because my milk production came in quite quickly. I do recall though that I so looked forward to every moment I could be with him knowing that it was from me and me alone that he could get his nourishment. He had to remain in the nursery for a few days even after I was discharged because he was under observation for an infection he had due to a very long labor, and as a result I had to pump and store my milk for the week that he was left in the hospital. I would go back and forth from home to the hospital every 3 hours during the day to nurse directly and leave my stored milk for the night. I recall knowing that he was hungry because even in the car on the way to the hospital I would feel my breasts filling up in anticipation of the baby I would be nursing in a few minutes. It amazed me to experience this kind of connection with him even if we were physically apart. The bond we shared was so strong and immediate and the brief time apart was compensated for because of the closeness brought by my breastfeeding Enzo.

This early experience taught me devotion, commitment, perseverence and self-sacrifice. Life lessons worth knowing as a mom and even as a mature adult. I would have to say that choosing to breastfeed has not only made a difference in my children’s lives, but in my life as well. When Enzo was almost 1 year old I had to wean him as I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd child, her name is Chime and she is now 9 years old. Since I had successfully breastfed Enzo, it was a natural thing for me to also breastfeed Chime. I knew that I had given her kuya the best start in life and it was only fair and right for me to give her that same start. Also, the convenience of breastfeeding Enzo was something I wanted with my new baby too, being able to move around and travel without giant bags of bottles and formula, and now with 2 little ones, the savings we’d have from not having to buy those bottles and formula. It was during Chime’s babyhood that I first got to meet breastfeeding advocates and slowly became one myself. The passion to help other mothers was sparked because I had such beautiful experiences myself, I could see the wonderful effects on my own children and also at that point I began to learn of the many benefits to breastfeeding that I didn’t even know I was giving my kids and the lost advantages for the baby if moms chose not to. I found a cause to be excited
and passionate about and so this taught me to reach out to others and bless them with a treasure that I had found in breastfeeding. It gave me chances to be generous towards others by using my knowledge to support them and help them breastfeed. It gave me chances to be an inspiration to others to be the best mothers they could be for their babies. I would have to say again, that choosing to breastfeed has not only made a difference in my children’s lives, but in my life as well.
When Chime was 18 months old, I had to wean her as I had found out several months earlier that I was again pregnant with my 3rd child. When we weaned I was in fact already in my 3rd trimester and experiencing contractions when I’d breastfeed her. So Mio, who is now 7, was born and of course, I also breastfed him. The wonderful thing with my children is that they don’t have any sibling rivalry, despite the closeness in their ages and I think it’s because of the security they have as a result of the bonding I shared with each of them during the nursing years. Breastfeeding Mio brought me to places I never really thought I would get to. We were part of a photo exhibit that was displayed in several SM malls around Manila, we were part of
a delegation in Malacanang two years in a row in celebration of World Breastfeeding Month and we even took part in a Guinness World Record breaking event for the most mothers breastfeeding simultaneously in any one place. In fact, if you look at the Unicef website and find the video of the Guinness Record attempt you’ll see Mio and me there. I never had to worry about bringing my babies anywhere and everywhere I went as I was confident of their strong immunity because they were breastfed. My pedia even commented to me once that conisdering I have this many children we very seldom visit her clinic. Overall we only go for the
regularly scheduled check ups and rarely due to illness. It was also while I was nursing Mio that the chance to form LATCH came because through breastfeeding I met other like-minded women who want to help ensure that this practice flourishes in the Philippines by supporting moms to be able to breastfeed their children. Doing so with my own children led me to my involvement in the world of breastfeeding and it has given me opportunities and experiences that I probably never would have had and allowed me the chance to meet many fantastic people I probably never would have met. I would have to say once more that choosing to breastfeed has not only made a difference in my childrens’ lives, but in my life as well.
Now Mio was weaned at 3 ½ years old because, surprise surprise, I was contracting in the 3rd trimester of my fourth pregnancy. Old habits die hard so, yes, Gelo is also breastfed. We are now in the process of weaning him as he turned 3 last February. No I am not pregnant again, but I feel it’s the right time to do so. It’s a process and we’re taking it slowly, allowing Gelo to pretty much take the lead. Breastfeeding allows you to be in tune with your body and with your child and to respect his needs, it almost forces you to put your child before yourself and makes doing so such a rewarding and fulfilling experience that is well worth it. Breastfeeding and gradually weaning Gelo has taught me lessons in letting things develop and unfold, begin
and end in their own natural and proper timing or rhythm. I’ve learned to savor moments and live in the present and focus on what’s directly before me, not rushing and just being where I’m meant to be, doing what I’m meant to do. No more and no less. It saddens me to think that once he’s fully weaned, my breastfeeding days are most probably over. I’ve invested more than 10 years to nursing my 4 children, and now I have 4 healthy, intelligent, confident, well-adjusted, secure, talented and caring young individuals as a result. The world has 4 more breastfeeding advocates too. Over the summer they were in a store with a pregnant sales
attendant and Chime asked her if she planned to breastfeed so I believe Chime planted a seed in that sales clerk that I hope will grow. It has been part of each of their lives for their whole life, each being breastfed and then seeing me breastfeed their younger sibling. I would do it all all over again if I had to because the choice to breastfeed is the only choice I would make. It has made a difference in their lives and it has most certainly made a world of difference in mine.


Shalum said...

Hi Jen and Spidey!:D Nice names there. I like the name Raem din :) If not Spider, why not get Spiderman's human name like Peter or Parker?Wala lang, napa-isip ng konti, haha. I'm sure you'll find the perfect name before the little one arrives :) Good luck! ;)

Leyamoya said...

This guest post is very inspiring!

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