Breastfeeding my toddler: 14 months and counting

"Breast milk is still best for babies up to two years and beyond." Well, that was the usual public service announcement after a formula milk advertisement until it became, "The use of milk supplements must only be upon the advice of health professionals."
On day one, I was already advised by doctors to buy formula milk for my baby but one of them said, "if there is no breast milk." I was determined to breastfeed my baby so even if I couldn't see any milk coming out of my breasts, I held my baby and allowed him to latch. I knew he was getting something because he pees and poops! We bought a small can of formula milk just to satisfy the eyes of the doctors but we never opened it; we actually brought it back to the pharmacy when we were discharged from the hospital.
The uninformed decision I allowed to happen on the first day was not buying the formula milk but allowing the nurses to feed my baby glucose water. I didn't know anything about it. I was not informed that it wasn't necessary and could destroy the virgin gut of my baby. It was only 10ml of water with sugar, but even though. I felt guilty of not being informed of its effect; but I was also confident I was doing the right thing because the so-called, "health professionals" advised it.
Breastfeeding is healthy for both baby and mommy. The World Health Organization recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. "Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. Review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond."
I know some moms around the neighborhood (and some even some friends) who gave birth almost the same time like me but who did not exclusively breastfeed their babies or have given up so early and mixed feed or formula feed. I have noticed that their babies are more sickly that at least once or twice their babies were hospitalized. I am not saying that my baby did not have a fair share of sickness but he can easily cope and we were never confined to the hospital. The best thing about breastfeeding is the fact that nutritional components of breast milk changes depending on the needs of the child--even antibodies of the mother can be passed through breast milk; and the mother can still breastfeed even if she is sick, and that will transfer more immunity to the baby!

It's healthy for moms, too, as it said to lower the risk of breast cancer and prevents postpartum depression. Also, many mothers that I know are having hard time in losing postpartum weight. Well, one of the benefits of breastfeeding is it helps in losing weight! I can say that in four months postpartum, I took out most of my pre-pregnancy shorts and jeans and they fit me again. No need to change wardrobe!
Bonding Time
Breastfeeding has always been the best bonding time I have with my growing baby, even if it becomes more difficult now as he grows older--the bites when he is teething, the pushing and pulling, the wrestling (yes, you read it right). But how I love to hold his hands, brush his hair and cheeks, teach him to count, tell stories, sing hymns, recount his day's activities, kiss him on the forehead, clip his nails, check my phone and emails (yes, even that), and feed him, and doze off to sleep together.
More than being the best food I can give my baby, it is also economical. I cannot imagine how buying weekly or monthly worth of formula milk would hurt our budget. "Wala akong pera, unahin ko muna gatas ng anak ko (I do not have money, I would prioritize buying my baby's milk)," is the usual litany of parents. There are a lot of things they can no longer buy for themselves or their household because their budget are constrained with the high prices of formula milk.
I admit that I bought expensive bottles, breast milk storage bags and containers, and breast pumps just to sustain breastfeeding (breast milk feeding) when I need to be away from my baby for work. To sum up, I may have spent around P10,000 in all; but if I compare it to buying formula milk, that amount of money have only lasted for 10 cans good for 5 months! I have been breastfeeding for 14 months now and it looks like we are not weaning anytime soon.
Taking Pride
"Breastfeeding is difficult but it is the best; and it is the sacrifice I am willing to take for my baby." That is my standard spiel whenever people ask me why I still continue to breastfeed and feed my baby breast milk even when I am away. I am no longer offended even if some people ask why my baby still feeds on my breast and does not take the bottle (and when they say bottle, they mean formula). I take pride carrying my ice chest with the note, "Breast Milk: Handle with Care" whenever I am on a trip. I would discuss breast milk feeding and pumping in another post.
My goal is to breastfeed as long as I can and as long as my baby wants! If it'll be in 2 or Grade 2, it doesn't matter, but nutrition and budget matters!
Read more on exclusive breastfeeding here:
#motherhood #breastfeeding

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