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Babymama Fjel Maranan

I am a mom of Isaiah Craig. I labored for 18 hours and gave birth to him via emergency CS. Born three weeks earlier than expected, he weighed more than 6 lbs.

Breastfeeding didn’t come as easy as I expected–prior to my giving birth, people I knew and even commercials made breastfeeding seem like a breeze! My first few times were hardly that! I was exhausted from sleep deprivation and the pain of labor and my wound that I found myself functioning on auto-pilot throughout the rooming-in and the first few weeks at home.

I was on house-arrest with no internet access for the first two months, so I initially had no breastfeeding support group. I didn’t even know how to properly hand-express milk that I ended up squeezing my boobs as if I were milking a cow. I had gone through all the cracked and bloody nipples, engorgement, sleepless nights, dreading and weeping through each feed. I seemed to have no milk in the beginning — my baby kept crying and he started to have mild jaundice.

Some people started pressuring me to formula-feed and questioned my staunch decision to breastfeed and risk starving my baby. Some poked fun at my “big yet empty breasts” and flat nipples. I felt terrible physically and emotionally. But I was relentless. I’d grip the edge of the bed tightly, gritting my teeth, biting my lip, grimacing at my little one’s every suck. He’d nurse every two hours. He was relentless too.

How did I deal with these challenges? I tuned out the discouraging words and focused on the goal and what little I knew back then. He was pooping and peeing a lot. How could that mean I had no milk? I was a first time mom, yes, but I knew what I wanted. I knew in my gut what was best for my son. My instinct won.

I didn’t know when things would get better. No one could give me reassurance back then because it was all new to us–we were all raised in the formula-is-better-era. There were days (or nights?) that I felt like I was at my wit’s end. But thank God for His Grace and provision–prayers helped. Hydrating helped. Encouragement from breastfriends helped. Malunggay. Fenugreek. Marmet Technique. A lactation counselor also visited me for free to help.

Enjoying my baby and savoring how he clung to me for dear life as he voraciously sucked all the nutrition into his system made all the pain and hardship worth it. All I knew was that I wanted my son to be exclusively breastfed for him to reap all the lifetime benefits I had learned about in that seminar. I also discovered co-sleeping after two weeks. Things got much better. Little Isaiah started gaining the weight he lost in the first few weeks.

Internet connection was back up, I drank in all the information I could get my hands on — belatedly confirming all the experiences I had already gone through. I was able to connect with breastfeeding advocates & friends through FB groups and blogs– and I felt so much better knowing I wasn’t alone in all this. My husband had also been very supportive of my breastfeeding journey. I was on the right track after all.

Now, Isaiah is at 9 months, tripled his birth weight and still exclusively breastfed and now starting his baby-led weaning (BLW) journey. I’m so happy to say that he is a much better eater than I had been when I was a baby! No artificial anything, and he doesn’t reject any kind of vegetable or fruit.

We still unli-latch at home — I wouldn’t have it any other way even if I get home exhausted from work (pumping at work is another story!). So far, my most memorable moment with him was when he FINALLY started to make eye-contact while feeding. He’d look deeply into my eyes and touch my face, poke my nostril, and pull at my lashes. Giggle as I nibble at his fingers. 😀 I will breastfeed my son for as long as he wants. And now I dread the day he’d actually stop and prefer the cup!

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Fjel Maranan is a 32 year old first time mom. She has been breastfeeding her 9-month old son, Isaiah.
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