QualiMed Hospital-Iloilo celebrates Breastfeeding Journey
The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week. In celebration of this momentous event, QualiMed Hospital-Iloilo organized a special edition of Mothers’ Class, which also highlighted the awarding of Share your Breastfeeding Journey photo and essay contest.
First place winner: Jea Ferrer Derequito
Breastfeeding is more than latch, suck, and feed! I am Jea, a first time other. I want what is best for my son, Kenje, now three months old exclusive breastfeeding for his optimal growth and development. Keil, my husband, fully supports me and our son on this.
I had a high-risk pregnancy: threatened abortion on the 12th week that put me on bed rest for two months, diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes on the 20th week along with osteoarthritis and asthma. On my 39th week of pregnancy, my cervix was still high, closed, and tight. I was scheduled for induction of labor. After 14 hours of labor, I ended up having a caesarean section. My son had an initial Apgar score of six. He was septic and was given high doses of antibiotics; had to be on a blue light therapy with some fresh frozen plasma and intravenous immunoglobulin transfusions. When allowed to be fed, my son struggled to correctly latch and suck my breast even if I had adequate supply of breast milk. It was frustrating for both of us.
On our second day at home, I observed that my son, now two weeks old, had sunken fontanelles, uncontrollably cried, mostly awake,, and had three blood streaks on the diaper. he had urate crystals, a sign of dehydration as confirmed by our Pediatrician. I turned to mixed feeding and a breast milk donor but I continued to breast pump and sought professional help for breastfeeding. For the net two weeks, my son and I learned how to make him have a good latch. My nipples were sore and people were commenting that I looked exhausted. But, I persevered on breastfeeding my son. The struggle was real. On my son’s 4th week. I was already exclusively breastfeeding him. By far, I learn that breastfeeding is more than latch, suck, and feed. Breastfeeding needs to be worked out to make it happen. It starts with the knowledge of what is best for the baby, humility to accept and seek out needed help, support and understanding from people around you, and above all, persistence. This is a great lesson I learned early on as a mother. I am proud that I am exclusively breastfeeding my son. I am proud that I can give what is best for him.
Second place winner: Mary Joel Lusterio Dasilao
In reality, not all mothers can breastfeed but that doesn’t make them less of a mother than us who can. Breastfeeding is a bittersweet journey. As for my breastfeeding experience, prior to the birth of my son, I had all these pictures in my head on how I want to raise and nurture my child. Since it’s scientifically proven that breastmilk is the best nutrition that a baby can have especially in their early formative years, right from the start I wanted to breastfeed.
Unfortunately, not all things that you expect go on your way. At first, I had lactation problem. My breast was already engorged and sore but milk just won’t come out. I ate a lot of lactating dishes like soup with malunggay and took lactating pills as well but nothing helped. It was frustrating especially when your child is already crying out of hunger. I felt helpless and frustrated. Then finally with the help and support of my husband, my breastfeeding journey began.
Aside from being nutritious and economical, breastfeeding strengthens the bond between a mother and child. Bringing your child close to your chest and watching him feed and later on falling asleep is heartwarming to watch. Nothing beats the amusement and joy from watching a baby sleeps. Their innocence and angelic face take away all the fatigue and exhaustion from nursing a child. Yes, breastfeeding is exhausting at times. It will give you backaches and the feeling of being needed round-a-clock can also be overwhelming but then again it is just part of the journey. Seeing my child grow healthy is enough reason for me to continuously commit myself in breastfeeding. And lastly, breastfeeding is one of the many ways that a mother can express their love for their children.
Third place winner: Annalene Mae Equina
No weaning signs yet, only winning moments. Our breastfeeding journey has its share of ups and downs but out will and determination pushed us to reach this far.
When I knew about a group of Ilonggas starting breastfeeding meet-ups in 2013, I joined their lectures, despite not being pregnant noe a breastfeeding mom to my first child. The lectures fuelled my desire to breastfeed that I fervently prayed for a baby and for the strength to be able to breastfeed.
My thirst for knowledge on breastfeeding intensified. By attending classes and doing research, it made me physically and emotionally ready during my pregnancy and birth delivery. My prayers were answered when I gave birth to a baby boy in 2015. However, our first challenge was when my baby had to stay in the hospital for 12 days. I visited him every day and brestfed him on regular intervals. It was on our 6th week, when I was about to build my stash of milk that I got amoebiasis. I experienced fever and chills. The sickness restrained my body to produce more milk. I had to double my efforts in pumping milk for his daily consumption and this made me hesitate going back to work.
My maternity leave ended and I had to go back to work, of course. There, I had to squeeze in my pumping schedule regularly in the face of my demanding work. Despite taking milk boosting supplements and trying several breast pump brands, the result was not encouraging – only minimal milk was pumped out. I felt I was the most desperate and trying-hard breastfeeding Nanay that time. Refusing to give in to the circumstances, I made my baby had an unlimited latch after work and foregone out-of-town seminars that require overnight stays.
My desire to give the best to my child is stronger than any challenges. We have tackled our journey one day at a time, growing our mother and child bond each step of the way with faith, trust on my body’s capability and unwavering support of my husband, family, and breastfeeding friends. It is always music to my ears every time I hear my child, now a healthy 3-year old boy, say, “Dede, Nanay please.” This is an affirmation that, indeed, breastfeeding, with all its hurdle, is all worth it.
Fourth place winner: Gianina Ruth G. Pingul
One hour and thirty minutes.
That was the only time I had to myself after I gave birth to my beautiful, first born son, Eliezer.
When the nurse came in to ask if I wanted to breastfeed, I immediately went to the lactation room. Never mind that I was still groggy and weak. I was so excited to breastfeed.
My entire pregnancy, I attended tons of mothers’ classes, read up on breastfeeding, and joined breastfeeding groups on Facebook. I also have mom-friends who became my support group. I felt I was ready. So you can imagine my frustration when my baby didn’t know how to suck on my nipples. It took me five trips to the lactation room to finally get him to latch properly.
Fast forward to today, Eli is now five months old. He is still exclusively breastfed. His feeding pattern is still very erratic.
Some days, I’m really exhausted. I feel as if my body is drained of all its fluids. My shoulders are sore and my eyes are tired. I’m lucky if I get four consecutive hours of sleep.
However, it’s true what they say. I take one look at my healthy baby and it’s enough reason to keep going.
Finally, I thank the Lord because ever since we started breastfeeding, never did I feel that my supply was insufficient. I barely have issues like engorgement or sore nipples. And I have a very supportive and loving husband.
When I was younger, I told myself that I would never breastfeed. They say it’s too much work and I thought why should I bother when I can afford to buy formula milk.
But after having learned the benefits of breastfeeding, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our body is so beautifully and amazingly designed for this very purpose – to provide the most nutritious food for our babies in their first few years. I can truly say that this has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
Fifth place winner: Fiechy Mendoza Solinap
Our journey didn’t start in the most exciting way. I gave birth to a 35-week baby girl, my second preemie baby, another miracle baby I should say. I really wanted to start breastfeeding as soon as possible but I knew I had to wait. She was in the incubator, a little bit weak, attached to monitors and hooked on different fluids and medications. I didn’t have milk at that time and I was desperate to have it because I knew in my heart it would help her a lot.
I almost tried everything everybody was advising me. On my 7th day, finally, my body was able to produce the best medicine for my baby, my milk. I pumped and sent it to NICU every day. I didn’t know when she would be out of the incubator and I was afraid that my milk production would decrease and would soon stop just like what happened to my 32-week preemie baby boy. I was afraid I was getting depressed but I knew I had to do everything to make this journey come to an end. I joined breastfeeding groups, consulted my OB-GYNE, drank and ate everything that would increase my supply. I pumped every two hours, and even in the middle of the night I would wake up and pump.
After a month of treatment and gaining weight, finally my baby was going home. Few days prior to discharge, I practiced my baby on how to latch directly. Breastfeeding is never easy, but I am telling you, it’s worth it. When we got home, I got a lot of stash but my baby refuses thawed milk and bottle which gave me the idea to let my son have it since he was bottle-fed. After six weeks of continuous latching, I can say my milk supply is now stable. On my baby’s nap time, I pump and collect stash for her kuya. My first born didn’t get the chance to latch for long due to health issue and medications. Ever since my milk supply has stabilized, it makes me feel less guilty, because now I am able to feed my 2 miracle babies with my gold liquid.
Breastfeeding is never easy, it requires heart, eagerness, sacrifice, and selflessness. And to see our kids growing healthy, jolly, and smart is the greatest reward you can ever have as a mother.
Over 100 moms and folks attended this special event. Q Moms, doctors with the most number of participants in Mothers’ Class and the one with the most number of roomed-in babies were also awarded. They were Dr. Ellen Abelita, and Dr. Rosene Debuque, respectively.