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Babymama Melanie Mendoza

I am a Mom of a 8-month old baby girl. She has tons of personality and she is very observant. She is fond of one thing only for a minutes and appears to instantly recognize it immediately when re-introduced. She is very fond of her dad – she laughs at almost all his antics. She has big beautiful eyes. I can look at them all day. Those eyes tell me to just stay to home when I am about to leave for work. I love how she really pushes herself when she wants something, I think that she will grow up to be a very empowered woman (I hope!) She loves being surrounded by people. She loves to “talk” to people and laugh with them. She even squeals in delight!

When I was pregnant my husband and I decided that we will breastfeed because of all the benefits we read about it. However, I discovered it was not as easy as it sounds. And no one prepared me for how difficult (physically and emotionally) it is.

Despite how challenging it is, I’m so grateful that my husband is really supportive. He was there. Really there. I would rant on him about how I no longer get sleep or how my boobs hurt, how sore my nipples are. I would even lash out. But he kept on pushing me. Sometimes, I would even lash out because he pushes me to continue. But he never gave up.

This past year, there are quite a few memorable experiences already actually. One I can think of was when I needed to go back to work. It was tough. I was really torn between going back to work and just staying at home to be with my baby. I sometimes take the train going to work. And on that first day I went back, I remember holding back tears while in the train. I just wanted to turn and run back home.

A few days after returning to work, my baby stopped responding to bottle feeding, even if what we give her was breastmilk. I can see it was tough on her too. The yaya will tell me how she would cry and refuse to feed even if she was evidently hungry. It broke my heart. While she was latching on me one night, I really was not able to hold back the tears and I felt begging for her forgiveness that I can’t stay at home and just be with her and not let her go through the torment of not being able to feed. I know she is still baby but I heard myself explaining to her why I can’t afford to stay at home. I know she does not understand yet, but I remember just how guilty I was. We were able to find the right nipple and bottle for her eventually. But I still wish she did not go through the stress that she went through.

How do I cope with this? It is finding that delicate balance between being a mother and a working mom. Conditions at work will not always allow you to express milk as you planned. Plus, there is that added pressure to produce a certain amount. Also, up to now, I am still unable to build my stash. I would find myself asking for milk from other kind mothers who are very generous to share.

I rely a lot on lactation aids. Some of them work, others just don’t. I also try to stick to what my doctor tells me – have a healthy diet, get rest and don’t stress. But the stress part I can’t do so much about. So I try to do what I can when I can. Also, I tap a community of moms who gladly help when I need reinforcement with my supply (they are very helpful, thank God!).

   

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Monique Angeline Panganiban-Ramos is a 28 year old working mom. She is a first time mom to 8-month old baby girl.
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