This puts into words all I want to share about my experience having 3 newborns in my life.
I must say, I did not learn it from the ‘elders’ or the yayas we employed. They would often say, “put the baby down, he/she will make a habit out of being carried” or “he/she is still at the breast??? maybe, you don’t have enough milk that’s why he/she’s taking sooo long”. After 3, I have enough experience (on newborns only) than most elders in my family and I can confidently (and with authority) dismiss their comments with a wave of my hand.
I learned this gradually and with a lot of reading. I would tell them “shush, what of it?” .
I learned that babies need to be just like they were in the womb – all snuggly and warm – and that’s why we swaddle them in receiving blankets or woombies. But I was never an expert in swaddling or the woombies were to expensive so I used myself. I would keep baby close to me and put her head in the crook of my neck, wrap my hands and arms around her tiny body, legs and feet, use my breath to warm her hands and cheeks. And I’m pretty sure it worked! My youngest was born late November and being a Catholic I did not want to miss midnight mass on Christmas eve. I brought her with me – all tiny, less than a month old. She was fine and sleeping peacefully because she was cuddled in mommy’s loving embrace. No infant seats, no strollers. Just mommy’s warmth.
I learned that there is no better food than food from the breast. Human milk is perfect for a human baby; just as cow’s milk is perfect for a cow baby. It doesn’t take much really. You don’t need 1 oz of milk in her first feeding nor 3 oz of milk when she turns 2 months. Heck, you don’t even need 6 oz of milk when she’s 5 months. Those ‘requirements’ are for supplemental or artificial milk.With all that’s been said about the nutrients and antibodies of breastmilk, there is truth in all of it. The human milk produces just the right amount of antibodies to protect the baby depending on his/her age and exposure. Yet, do not expect it to have the same effects of supplemental milk – rapid growth, a fat baby, hyperactivity. Breastfed babies have a slower growth rate, leaner bodies and less restless. And for me that is perfectly alright!
I learned that security for baby’s mean being held by mommy… or daddy. It can be tiring, I know, and that is why there is an abundance of baby slings and carriers in the market nowadays. I was never confident with those cloth slings so I bought myself a structure carrier. It proved helpful in vacations and trips to the mall. I just hope that even when she’s bigger she will still accept it.When baby is older and goes to the mall or supermarket more frequently, she can be overwhelmed with all the people, sights and sounds. Mommy’s breast and the way mommy and baby cuddle when they breastfeed give her a sense of calm and peace.
There are a lot of moms-to-be out there who are turning to the internet for guidance and support and I hope this finds them. I hope they decide to breastfeed because it’s the best thing I’ve done as a mother.