the unnatural mother

embracing mother-ing and all its glory – from wet diapers, spit-ups, tantrums to first smiles, hug-a-bugs and sweet cuddles

The success of a parent July 8, 2013

Filed under: Breastfeeding,Parenting — reeseyenko @ 2:05 pm
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I saw this post on Facebook by Pinky McKay.

separation anxiety

And I couldn’t help but be amazed at how breastfeeding has greatly shaped my parenting beliefs and style. From the instant and “snap” culture that we have to the downright slow, persevering and hardwork it takes to express milk, I no longer believe that children need to learn independence once they are born or to know the alphabet when they turn 1. That babies and children have their own learning and growth curve, that nobody – not your doctor, not scientists or researchers who make the charts, not advertisements – can dictate what your child should be doing at a certain age or how heavy or tall your child should be. Your child is YOURS – a sum of its parents, a sum of 2 very different people, a unique being that cannot be plotted in a chart or a curve or made to fit in a mold dictated by medical practitioners from across the globe. You know your child by touching her, feeding her and loving her which all requires time – lots and lots of time starting into each others eyes, kissing her forehead a hundred times a day while she lays on your lap, cheeks pressed against your skin and taking in your smell…even if you’ve had a long day.
Yet, as your child is YOURs, you are also HERS or HIS – you bear a responsibility to your child to see to her wellness and well-being, to provide security and a safe haven, to ensure that she is getting the best of everything and that she is developing at a rate that is comfortable to her and you. You owe it to her to present her with as much opportunities for her development and growth.

From believing that the success of a man or woman is measured by the notches he/she has climbed in the corporate ladder, I measure success by how happy and content their children are.


What pump do I use? May 24, 2013

Filed under: Breastfeeding — reeseyenko @ 9:26 am
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In the facebook breastfeeding groups that I am a part of, this is a usual question. Though I think lactation councilors, consultants and experts are trained to say that a good pump is not essential to breastfeeding success, I would say it is only essential if you plan to be regularly away from baby.

My first pump was a manual single pump from a brand that I would not mention because it did not work for me. It led me to believe that breastfeeding would not work when I went back to my day job as an IT professional. Little did I know, at that time when there was no facebook yet, that that amount was normal.

In any case, with my 2nd baby, a friend introduced me to Medela. It was pricey indeed and that must have been the most expensive gadget I had bought in my entire life until now – 3 years after. Yet, it was an investment worth every centavo. I bought the Medela Freestyle which was and still is the top of the line of pumps at Medela.

My 2nd baby was breastfed for 13 months. He was born April and I started regularly using it on July. I used it for 4xday, 7days a week for 10 months. When I got pregnant, I tapered off my pumping sessions and stopped. I took out the battery and kept it away.

A few months before I gave birth, I had Freestyle checked and cleaned at MedelaMoms. They reported everything in good order.

My 3rd baby is almost 18 months. With her, I started pumping once a day at Day 5 – for several reasons. I gave birth at the end of November and went back to work mid February. I’ve been using it 3xday, 5 days a week, for 15 months plus once a day on weekends for the first 14 months and now, 2-3 x a day on weekends.

I believe my Freestyle is used a lot and still works well. I’ve recommended it to my SIL and I have no qualms recommending it again


Why do I breastfeed? It is Natural. October 16, 2012

Filed under: Breastfeeding — reeseyenko @ 9:47 pm
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I have 3 kids – one is in primary school, one is a toddler and one is an infant. All of them are/were breastfed to some degree – my first breastfed for only 1.5 months, my second for 13 months and my princess is 10 months and is still breastfeeding.

There are many benefits to breastfeeding  and you can get this information anywhere. But why do I choose to breastfeed? My reasons change every time you ask me and almost everyday, there is a new realization.

At this point in my princess’ life, I breastfeed her because it is the most natural thing to do. When I get home, the first thing I do is (wash my hands), put my expressed milk in the refrigerator and take my baby from the babysitter. I would offer her my breast even if it has only been 30 mins since my last pump. Breastfeeding has become a habit and a way of life – just the way it should be.

My princess and I cuddle for a nursing break at one restaurant.

I hope to naturally wean my princess. This means that I will not do anything to stop her at the breast and that I will wait for her to say “mommy, I don’t want mommy’s milk anymore”. Why stop her from getting the best?


A Newborn baby’s needs… August 4, 2012

Filed under: Breastfeeding,Parenting — reeseyenko @ 8:20 am
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This puts into words all I want to share about my experience having 3 newborns in my life.

Remember these 3 things when your baby cries.

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.


Tips on expressing milk April 18, 2012

You may have noticed that I have 3 children – one I breastfed for 13 months and one I am currently breastfeeding. The youngest is 4.5 months and though she was born preterm (close to just 35 weeks), she is now 6.1 kilos and more than 60 cm all with just my breastmilk – no vitamins, no formula, no mix feeding.

I attribute my success in breastfeeding partly to breastfeeding bloggers who share inspiring stories or useful information. One that really helped me the first time around is Chronicles of a Nursing Mom. Her articles are information-ladden! And of course, Kellymom. com. I’ve had my share of breastfeeding challenges but because of resources in the internet, I’ve gotten through them all.  Though I am more confident the 2nd time around, I still need support and research from time to time. So to contribute to the pool of information out there, here are my tips for expressing milk away from baby and good breastfeeding practices.

  1. Just keep pumping. This was an advice given to me and this is the best advice I can give. Whether your output is low or high, just keep pumping.
  2. Stick to your schedule. It doesn’t matter if you have a truck-load of work in the office or you’re busy with a million things in your chore list, pump when it’s time to pump. If your schedule will be disrupted for one reason or another, pump earlier rather than later, pump more rather than less.
  3. Every concern has a workaround, every problem has a solution. There are a lot of blogs out there that offer inspiring stories on breastfeeding success. Choose those that are run by certified lactation experts or doctors like and
  4. Confidence is key. Blame everything else but yourself (that you just can’t produce enough). I am telling you, under normal circumstances, YOU CAN PRODUCE ENOUGH. This works well if you are well-informed.
  5. Do what you have to do to be in the mood. Being in the mood for pumping usually means you are relaxed and calm. If  you have to take the same number of steps to the pumping room or brush your teeth or take a leak before pumping then do it. Some would set up pictures in the pumping room or dim the lights and listen to sounds of running water to loosen up. It may not have anything to do with milk production but if it relaxes you then, do it!
  6. Hydrate during the whole day, not just before and after pumping. Living in a tropical country like ours, it is very crucial to keep taking liquids. If you work in an airconditioned office, you may not get thirsty often and may not drink enough, so remember to hydrate. Personally, I take hot  water throughout the day and it somehow helped my output.
  7. Think of baby. Some sites recommend calling the house and knowing what baby is doing before your pumping session.
  8. Bring a charm. If it helps to have baby’s worn socks in your pocket or stuffed in your bra (away from the nipple), then be it 🙂
  9. Always be prepared. Bringing extra bottles or breastmilk bags is good practice. You never know, you might just pump a little extra for storing away.
  10. Practice and prepare earlyWhen your maternity leave is nearing the  end, practice bottle feeding (if you choose the bottle ) 2-3 weeks before. Train the nanny on how to properly bottlefeed a breastfed baby ( Yes, there IS a proper way to bottle-feed a breastfed baby to avoid nipply confustion.
  11. Pump when away, nurse when you’re together. With my 2nd child (my 1st fully breastfed baby), I would pump during the day even when we were together and only nurse when we were co-sleeping. This time around, I always nurse when we are together. It’s more convenient especially when we are out, plus I get to spend more time with my baby. Yet, it is a  bit tricky making sure that you have “fresh” breastmilk in the refrigerator when Monday comes around. See the next post on of tips for this situation.