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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Guest Post: Breastmilk to Fight the Big C!

This is a post that is too good not to share.  Often, talk about breastfeeding benefits is focused around the mother or the nursing baby.  However, there are other family members who can also benefit from the goodness of breastmilk.  This guest post is written by a new mom, Elizabeth Yang Medenilla, who has been breastfeeding her child for just about 2 months.   What makes her story unique is how Beth utilizes her excess expressed milk.  Read her story below:
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My breastfeeding conviction started even before I met my husband. A couple of years ago, a friend gave birth and she shared to me the costs of milk formula weekly. I remember telling myself, I will never buy a can of that expensive cow's milk when I can make human milk.

When I got pregnant, I armed myself with all the information I can get my hands on. I also attended seminars about breastfeeding and a friend added me to the Breastfeeding Pinays forum. Then came the day of my baby's birth.

We planned on delivery NSD (natural spontaneous delivery) and without anaesthetics since I was allergic to so many medicines. But our baby had other plans - he had double cord coil and our ob-gyne decided to call for an emergency CS. The ENC protocol was implemented as per my birth plan, 1st latch : baby was too sleepy, attempt failed.

At the recovery room, baby was handed to me to attempt the 2nd latch: baby again is still too sleepy and will not latch. By this time, the pediatrician and the nursery nurses uttered these words : "Mommy, baby needs to feed, it's been 4 hours, he will be hypoglycemic if not, can we give him formula milk?" And in the background I hear them utter disempowering phrases such as: "bakit me milk ka na ba?" "hindi ka ba naaawa sa baby mo magugutom?" "sigurado ka gusto mo i IV?" "ok lang naman mag formula now, ibbreastfeed mo naman sha later" "saan ba sa internet mo nakuha yang mga info na yan?"

Not minding the instructions not to talk after the CS procedure, I argued with the doctor and the nurses on the dangers of formula. Holding on tightly to my baby, I tried to explain to them that I have colostrum, we need to make him latch. He has 24 hours of reserved energy within him, I can make him latch. But I was outnumbered, and I was literally too weak from the operation. I gave them permission to give him S26 with a very heavy heart. Several minutes later, a nurse came to my room and told me they found 10ml of donated BM in their storage. I was so happy baby will still be fed with BM as his first food. But I also know that the donated BM won't be enough 2 hours from the first feed as he will need more BM (Note: If the hospital staff were breastfeeding friendly, they would have taught the mother the correct latch and position, eliminating the need for donor's breastmilk).

breastmilk drunk!
I desperately posted a plea for donated breastmilk at the Breastfeeding Pinays forum and donations of liquid gold came pouring in. Baby successfully latched on the second night for 3 hours on both breast. I was one happy mommy. A week after exclusively breastfeeding baby boy, my nipples were chafed, bleeding and I was in pain. I emailed Nay Ines of Arugaan and was delighted that she agreed to meet me. I learned a lot from our meet up and more than ever I became more inspired to continue with this journey of giving the best start for my baby. 

During week two, while baby is latched, I busied myself browsing through the posts in the Breastfeeding Pinays forum and read about the story of one member who gave her breast milk to her dying grandfather.  She said it made her grandfather stronger and even improved his health. This gave me an idea to give my mother some of my breastmilk.

In late 2011, my mom was diagnosed for the 2nd time with cancer, in her lungs and bones.  The cancer was in stage 4.  For several days days now, she has not been able to take food, eating only very small amounts every meal. At week 5 of my breastfeeding journey, I began nourishing not only my baby but also my mama with several ounces of expressed breastmilk everyday.

Daily after baby's last early morning feed at around 4 or 5am, Iwould hand express several ounces of breastmilk for mama and deliver it it to her room. It is heartwarming to see my baby getting longer and more plump as each week pass and my mother getting healthier.

expressed BM to fight the big C
My dad believes that my breastmilk is really helping and he believes it caused my mom's cheeks to plump up. This gives me the courage to go on despite the sleepless days and nights of unlimited latching by my baby, the uncomfortable feeling of engorgement and the fear of not having enough supply.

I plan to continue with this routine for as long as I am blessed with human milk and always keep this mantra in mind "kung gusto me paraan, kung ayaw maraming dahilan."

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