The Joy of BreastfeedingTelevision host, TV producer, former magazine editor and restorer of antique jewelry Daphne Osena-Paez shares the joys and challenges of breastfeeding.
I’ve spent the past eight years, either being pregnant, having babies or breastfeeding. I now have three daughters – Sophia is 7, Lily is 4 and Stella just turned 1—all were breastfed for at least 12 months. I’m still breastfeeding the youngest. That’s a long time to be giving up one’s body for the sake of her children. But it hasn’t felt that way at all. These eight years have been the most beautiful and powerful time of my life.
“I exclusively breastfed all three girls for the first 6 months despite the demanding work schedule.”
It’s not like all I did was drown in domestic bliss either. I continued to work throughout pregnancy, motherhood and nursing. These years have been the most productive for me – independently producing and hosting a TV show, discovering a new talent for designing jewelry and building a brand of home products. Unlike most working mothers, I did not have maternity leaves. With Sophia, I was back at work after 4 weeks. With Lily, I shot a TV commercial on the 10th day after giving birth. With Stella, I had 5 weeks before shooting a commercial and going back to work. I exclusively breastfed all three girls for the first 6 months despite the demanding work schedule.
“I was just doing what for me was the most normal and natural.”
Whenever I share this glory, I get “oohs” and “aahs” like I deserve a medal for being a breastfeeding mom. I don’t know why it impresses people. I was just doing what, for me, was the most normal and natural. It all went hand in hand – pregnancy, motherhood, breastfeeding. It was just a matter of being organized. I wish my situation is more the rule rather than the exception. But in this country only 34% of mothers exclusively breastfeed their children in the first 6 months.
“Breastfeeding is a choice and a commitment.”
People always ask me how I did it – work and breastfeed. I wish I could say it’s as easy as bringing a breast pump and expressing milk every 3-4 hours. I mean it is, but it also takes more than that. Breastfeeding is a choice and a commitment. Yes I brought a manual breast pump with me everywhere I went. I also carried an insulated cooler-type lunch box to keep the milk refrigerated while in transit. I pumped in the car, in mall fitting rooms and in the makeup room. I had established a system of refrigeration and freezing. I did all that, but not all by myself.
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