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    At the Asian Hospital & Medical Center, 25 members of South PiNanays joined "Hakab Na!," an event that raises breastfeeding awareness.
    PHOTO BY Ingente Valencerina for South Pinanays

    Online support groups especially those on Facebook have been helping many first-time moms traverse their first few months of parenting. We see it every day at our Facebook group, Smart Parenting Village, where many moms want advice and reassurance they're doing all right by their baby, especially when it comes to breastfeeding.

    Three moms, members of fellow Facebook group SPiN (South PiNanays), share how despite the challenges managed to give their baby precious liquid gold.

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    I was a breastfeeding mombie.

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    Iris de Sagun says son Iñigo is now eating solids but shows no signs of weaning yet. "I hope not sooner because I am not ready!"
    PHOTO BY courtesy of South Pinanays

    I wasn't successful in breastfeeding my firstborn, Margaux. However, a few years after she was born, I became a member SPiN and Breastfeeding Pinays and joined their breastfeeding training and seminars. It inspired me to become a breastfeeding peer counselor, so when my little boy Iñigo was born last year, I was so confident that I would be successful in breastfeeding him because I was now equipped with knowledge and skills.

    But breastfeeding wasn't a walk in the park.

    The first two weeks were really hard. I had engorged breasts, and I almost gave up because I was sick. It was a good thing that my husband Melvin was supportive of my goal to breastfeed our baby exclusively. (Making him tag along at the training paid off!). During my worst "mombie" (or zombie mom — I had no sleep) times, Melvin would cup feed Iñigo with the breast milk that I earlier hand-expressed, so I could catch some sleep. 

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    Not only did we overcome that challenge, but I was also able to share my breast milk to other babies! There was even a time that every day I would send my freshly hand-expressed breast milk to a baby in need for a few months. It was amazing! I never thought I could do it.

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    I will always breastfeed because I choose my son.

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    Lot Reyes Morando, a lawyer, says, "Moms would always find a way to give the best to their children."
    PHOTO BY courtesy of South Pinanays

    I am a working mom, and the quote, "It takes the whole village to raise a child," best describes my breastfeeding journey with my firstborn. 

    My milk production then was very low, but I was determined to breastfeed my son even for at least 6 months exclusively. I took all the supplements I could find and tried all the foods/treats/drinks they say said could help me, had lactation massages regularly. Nothing worked.

    I cried often thinking something must be wrong with me.

    What made matters worse were I got very very sad during letdown. I sought the help of a doctor, and she advised me to take some medication. But it meant I had to stop breastfeeding my son. 

    I chose to breastfeed my son despite the emotional and hormonal difficulties I faced. We even moved to a house 10 minutes away from my work so I could go home and feed him during lunch break. I would also bring back the milk I expressed earlier that day so that he will have breast milk for the afternoon. I could not go out of the house earlier than 7 a.m. because I had to feed him one last time, and I had to be home 5:10 p.m. since the milk I left was just enough for the four hours we were apart. It was like that for the first six months. 

    Luckily, I had mommy friends who were blessed with abundant milk supply, and they shared their milk with my son. My husband and I would travel to Antipolo, Las Pinas, Pasig, and Taguig to get these donations. I don’t think I could have survived my breastfeeding journey without their support. 

    I breastfed my son for two years and six months. I can’t believe it myself that our journey has reached this far.

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    Breasfeeding takes a village.

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    Riezel Mei Petisme-Uy, a training consultant, says she doesn't post or ask questions so much on mommy support groups. "But reading about other moms' experiences is enough for me to go on."
    PHOTO BY courtesy of South Pinanays

    I have always felt that I was lucky with how my breastfeeding story unfolded. The logic for me was simple: why should I buy something I can produce? The decision to breastfeed was logical, but the whole experience was highly emotional!

    Even though I attended seminars, I was ready to give up breastfeeding by day 3.

    I was already asking my husband to buy formula milk. My daughter kept crying, and my nipples were already sore. I did not know what I was doing, and all the knowledge I had just jumped out of the window in the face of extreme fatigue and no sleep! 

    I remembered very clearly what kept me going then — it was how my husband answered me when I asked him to buy formula. He said "Di ba sinabi natin na mangyayari eto (from the seminars we attended), at kapag nangyari eh dun tayo lalo magpupursigi? Kaya mo pa yan, hon." 

    He was right — kinaya ko because I had the proper support. Whenever I look back at that moment, I realized having the right kind of informed support really matters in a mother's breastfeeding journey. If my husband were not there with me during the prep days, he would have readily accepted my request to buy formula, but he kept me in check when my hormones were going haywire. 

    And now here we are, two years, six months and counting. I couldn't have done it without my husband and all the people I met (online and offline) on my breastfeeding journey.

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