An Open Letter to my Number One Breastfeeding Supporter

A Mom for 7 years and 6 months.

An Intentional, Extended Breastfeeding Mom for a total of 6 years, 6 months…and counting.

In my 7 years of being a Mom, I have nursed 2 babies, each with different breastfeeding stories of triumphs and obstacles to tell.  One was mixed fed until 2 years and 9 months while the other IS STILL breastfeeding for 3 years and 9 months now.  So in those 7 years, breastfeeding has been a dominant part of my daily motherhood journey.

Manny and April 4 with logo

Breastfeeding Ashley for 3 years and 9 months…and counting.

No one will argue with me when I say that breastfeeding is a challenging quest for a mom.  Most especially, for a recuperating Mom who has just given birth.  It entails a lot of hard work, patience, determination, pain and tears, and sacrifice.  But the rewards to reap are boundless.  And these wonderful benefits along with the support of everyone surrounding a breastfeeding mom play as big motivators, encouraging her to embrace it no matter how hard the journey would be.  After all, it is innate in every Mother to do everything for the sake and goodness of her baby.

On this Breastfeeding month and as I celebrate my 6 years of nursing, I would like to honor and say my utmost thanks to my Number One Breastfeeding Supporter.  I credit half of my breastfeeding triumph to this one amazing man….my Husband, Paul.  The Father of my two nurslings.  The loving and doting Daddy Paul to Asher and Ashley.

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To My Number One Breastfeeding Supporter,

I’ve always been expressive how thankful I am that you’re a wonderful husband and father to our kids.  But this time, let me be specific in thanking you for how you’ve been instrumental in making this long breastfeeding journey a successful one.

1. Thank you for the trust.
I didn’t hear even a slight hint of qualm or uneasiness when I committed myself to breastfeed our children.  You also embraced my commitment.  You gave your 100% trust knowing that I’m doing my best and these are all for the greater good of our kids.

2. Thank you for having a pair of listening ears and an open mind.
For the times I tirelessly share with you my new learning about breastfeeding; its benefits, techniques, its wonders — you listen with all ears.  You may not have an input but absorbing them quietly means a lot to me.  Thank you for believing with me that breast milk does not only benefit our babies but my health as well.

Manny and April 2

Photo by Manny and April Photography

3. Thank you for the little efforts so I can nurse comfortably.
Those quick, soothing back massage while nursing our kids when they were still newborns, you just don’t know how relaxing and relieving they felt.  Thank you for getting me a glass of water to satisfy my thirst, or handing me the things I couldn’t reach just because they refuse to unlatch.

4. Thank you for the support in shopping breastfeeding “nice-to-haves” stuff for me.
Thank you for coming with me as I shop for nursing tops and dresses in Mommy Bazaars.  You didn’t question nor complained and you just gladly paid for them because you know that these will make me and the baby comfortable while nursing.  Breast pumps, breast pads, lactation cookies, breastfeeding books– thank you for shopping all these for me.  These are just whims.  They are not really necessities, but you spoiled me.  Maybe at the top of your head, you’d prefer paying for these rather than spending on costly formula milk month after month, or on hospital bills.

5.  Thank you for your selflessness, sacrifice and understanding.
For those times when I seem to nurse unceasingly all night long, thanks for being selfless and understanding that I don’t mean to deprive you your wife.  Thank you for being patient. :)

The Perfect Grey

Photo by The Perfect Grey

6. Thank you for not giving up when we encounter nursing obstacles.
Thank you for letting me share my worries with you whenever we encounter difficulties.  You always boosted my morale.  You never convinced me to give up breastfeeding and easily give in to formula feeding.  When I struggled in expressing milk at work and I decided to give up my office job so I can focus on exclusively breastfeeding Asher, you confidently gave your consent without second thoughts.  When Ashley’s weight gain plateaued before she turned 1 year old, you never doubted my milk and my efforts.  You knew my worries and you didn’t say anything that will make me worry more.  Instead, you always made me optimistic.

7. Thank you for believing in the benefits of extended breastfeeding.
When we had to forced wean Asher at 2 yrs and 9 months (due to my frequent hospitalizations and severe illness), you helped me in explaining to him that he already needs to stop.  Thank you for being so gentle to him.  I was so thankful and relieved that he welcomed the change without any drama.  It was comforting to know that he was ready to wean all along.  Between the two of us, it was me who wasn’t ready yet.  It was me who was tormented and had a heavy heart with the abrupt weaning.

As with Ashley who still nurses until now that she’s almost 4 years old, thank you for respecting her decision to breastfeed for as long as she wants.  Sometimes, we try to bring up the weaning topic to her but I admire how you just rest your case and accept the fact that seemingly, no weaning will happen any time soon from this preschooler.  I may sometimes say that I’m getting discomforts, but no, Dad…deep inside, I know, I am not ready to wean her.

Asher breastfeeding logo black and white

3-month-old Asher gazing lovingly at me while nursing

8. Thank you for agreeing with me that Toddler and Growing Up Milk aren’t necessary for toddlers and preschoolers.
We already made the mistake of religiously giving Growing Up Milk to Asher when he was a toddler.   Thank you for agreeing with me not to repeat the same mistake with Ashley.  We now know that they’re just laden with sugar that could only harm their appetite, could cause diabetes, obesity, constipation, may develop allergies, and teeth cavities.  After all, calcium can be obtained from other healthy food sources, right?

9. Thank you for silently listening how I despise formula milk advertisements.
Every time a TV advertisement of formula milk is shown, you silently listen to my rants of how these formula milk companies is tricking Moms therefore undermining breastfeeding in the process.  I sometimes get carried along and further babble how they mislead moms to believing that “While breast is best, formula milk is the next best“.  This is so wrong because formula milk has its place in the great scheme of things and it is just an inferior food. Anything inferior can not and will never be considered as “best” or even “second best” as how they want to depict their product through their marketing material.  Though silent, thank you for being at my side. Always.

CamZar 5

Photo by CamZar Photography

10. Thank you for appreciating my efforts.
Every time you tell stories about a breastfeeding colleague, I can sense in your voice the pride that your wife is a breastfeeding mom as well.  I can sense how you highly regard breastfeeding moms.  For that gesture, thanks for the affirmation and appreciation.

Thank you for making this challenging journey less difficult.

Please know that your all-out support empowers me to keep going in this wonderful journey.

And for that, I’d forever be immensely grateful.

Love,
Your Zealous Breastfeeding Wife Mai

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Calling all fellow breastfeeding Moms!

Let’s all troop to 500 Shaw Centrum at Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City on August 1, 2015 and join this year’s Hakab Na 2015. Together, let’s make history as we take part on the exciting Big Latch On activity.  For more information, please refer to the poster below or visit the website www.hakabna.com.

Hakab Na! 2015