i was thinking about writing about breastfeeding topics for some time now.. but i always hesitate about it. moreover, few weeks ago is breastfeeding weeks. many people talk about it, argue about it, even have different opinion about it. oh, and i must say this post not only on breastfeeding, but also on every aspect, working mom, stay at home mom, breastfeeding mom and formula feeding mom. i can say about it all since i've been through them all.
let's start about the working mom. i have no plan about having kid when i'm married, so when i found out that i was pregnant, i panicked. i didn't like the idea of staying at home alone with the baby. but i couldn't find any helper at that moment, and i had to go back to school for my graduate school. if i wasn't at school, i had to be an intern for the rest of the week. well, i was working most of the time from my son was born until he's about 2 years old. it was hard. 6 months i had to take care of him alone with the help of my mom and my husband's aunt since i had to go to school. and when i'm home it's me and him mostly since my husband was at work. after my son is sleeping, i had to wake up again and finish my task or study. i had to admit, it was hard. time is essence. i had to be healthy since i had to work and take care of my baby. and i had to have good focus. if i was at school or at my internship place, i had to focus on my study or job. and if i was home, i had to concentrate fully in taking care of my son. dividing the time is even harder. i had to plan everything meticulously. so for those working moms out there, i knew your struggle. you want to do best for yourself and for your baby. you want to be more than just a mom, and you want your baby to see it. it's okay.. as long as you can divide the time and focus so it won't affect each other. and please.. don't judge the SAHM as a lazy person. a non achieving person.
and then with my second kid, i decided to be stay at home mom. i have finished my study and i only had another month to finish my working contract. but mostly i'm at home. i found out that having two kids, i can't divide my time and focus anymore. plus i found out that my 2 yo son needs more attention for me now since he's having a little sister. i don't want him to feel abandoned, it was work before and now it's his sister. so i decided to stay at home now. well, as i said before, i'm no stay-at-home mom material. i want to work.. i need to work.. meet people, get my adrenaline pumped. but it's my decision. so i have to face it. for me, when i'm a working mom, it's physically tiring. but as stay at home mom, it's more emotionally tiring. i have to face two kids 24 hours. though i still have my previous helper for my 2 yo, but 2:2 is not a good ratio, not if you're having a very active toddler and a house that can't be kidproof. the baby needs my attention, i had to breastfeed her every two hours. and my son needs my attention. and then he might attempt me.. acting out and stuff, and there's discipline issues. i had to set certain standard so he might follow it. with the helper, mostly the helper will give in just so she can get everything's done. she won't care if the kid isn't independent. in fact, she will be happy if the kid is cling to her. but that's not what we want. we want our kid to be independent so when he grows up, he can face the outrageous world out there. so mostly emotional. i had to make a 2 yo kid to understand certain guideline. about politeness. about independency. about sharing. about everything. so it's stressful. and not forget about their basic care too. i can't cook.. so i have to give credit for moms who cook. cleaning the house, cooking everyday and taking care of kids is HARDWORK. i only taking care for the kid with the helper. baking sometimes. but not cleaning and cooking. and it's hard for me. so for those stay at home moms, you are amazing. you can do that most women can't do. you're selfless. you put your family as priority number one. and though people see you as useless in community, let me tell you, you are the foundation setter in the family, the smallest community in life. so it's not easy. in fact, you're the one that keep your family in balance. you are AMAZING. don't let anyone tell you otherwise. and don't feel under pressure when you see a working mom.
so.. either working mom or stay at home mom have their own battle. please be considerate to each other.
now let's move on to more sensitive topic, breastfeeding mom vs formula feeding mom.
i know lately there's a huge movement in promoting breastfeeding. i think it's good and every women should know and understand that they are capable of breastfeeding, no matter size and shape of your breast. but i also know that each one has their own battle, so please respect each other. i can say that because i've been both.
with my first kid, i was planning to give exclusive breastfeeding. but i was more into painless labour that i forgot to read and find out about breastfeeding. i think it will come naturally. every woman should breastfeed. and i think i can too. but fact was, my breastmilk didn't come out, not until the third day i guess. well, on second day a little came out, but it wasn't enough. my baby's already jaundice and had gone under the uv light. and then he had to take antibiotic since my water was green. okay.. long story short, i had to work my ass to figure out how to massage my engorged breast, and no baby at my side since we left him at the hospital. and no breast pump and i didn't know how to hand massage. let me tell you, engorge is pain. so i had to read a lot. and when i got my baby back at my side, i became reckless again. i didn't pump as many as i could, as often as i could. and i went on vacation without him and ended regretting it. i had to pump every 2 hours, in weird places (inside cars, on the plane, at the airport), and we had to pack it through all the way. figuring out if each airport allowed breastmilk to be carried onboard. well, it was hell. so for breastfeeding mom, don't ever ever.. go without your baby. okay.. back to me. since i was reckless and not diligent enough to pump, the result is i got little milk saved up. and those savings went puff.. very fast. everyday my baby had 2 bags of my milk and 2 bottle of formula since i couldn't fulfill his daily need. and i couldn't pump at the same time, and i was stressed with school and internship and it affected my production badly. i found out that food had nothing to do with my milk supply. the only thing that affect my milk supply is my milk condition. so, before going on, me and my husband already agreed that i will breastfeed him only until he's one. apparently, at the same time, i had to go abroad again for school duty. so i think it's an opportunity to wean him. it was insane. but we had to. and it's heartbreaking watching him cry for milk for 3 days and he refused his bottle. he skipped his midnight milk and then he didn't want to drink his bottle before sleep too. so his milk intake was decreasing rapidly. later he only wanted his milk together with biscuit, eaten, not drunk. so until now, he didn't like milk that much. and he's skinny. my mom blamed my breastmilk for being thin.. watery.. not enough nutrition that he became that skinny.
so, did i regret to give him formula? yes. i thought i could give him full breastmilk if i knew things about breastfeeding more back then. but did i regret me choosing give him formula back then? no, it was our decision. me and my husband. we decided to give him the best i could, the breastmilk. and the formula was just supplementing. so i didn't regret that much. i just regretted i didn't search about breastfeeding more before giving birth. so for formula feeding mom, if you had problems with your breastmilk or your surrounding (yes, it's very important. with my first son, i didn't have supporting surrounding, so i kinda accepted that i couldn't give him exclusive breastmilk) and you had no choice other than give your kid formula, then do it. don't regret it. you do your best and formula is best for your kid at that time. don't feel terrible since you can't breastfeeding. bonding with your kid doesn't mean it has to be during breastfeeding time. giving your kid formula also give you time to bond. but if you give your kid formula since you're lazy or don't want to breastfeed, then read again. ask around. ask yourself, don't you want to give the best for your kid?
with my second kid, i knew better. i searched and read everything about breastfeeding. i told my husband i wanted to give this one full breastmilk. no formula whatsoever. i asked him to support me, remind me when i wanted to give up, cheer for me when i'm down. and he agreed. like before, i didn't have supporting surrounding. my mom kept telling me that i don't have enough breastmilk, that the quality is poor so i'm starving my kid. moreover, we were sent home only after a day, and for the next two days there were no sunlight so i couldn't give her proper sunbath. the result is predicted, she was jaundice and slightly feverish and had to sent back to hospital. then the guilt came. what did i do wrong? with my first son, i accepted that i couldn't do it. but with my daughter, i had a friend. she supported my, lent me a book about breastfeeding and even gave me a glass bottle to relieve the engorgement before pumping. and when my daughter sent back to hospital, she said it's okay to give her formula for awhile, since there's a jaundice that can be helped with formula. and since i haven't started pumping at that time, there's a shortage for sure. so we filled it with formula. but i pumped as fast as i could, as often as i could and sent it to hospital. if she was awake, i would breastfeed her directly. this time i won't give up. and when she was okay to bring back home, she gulped 60 cc of milk. while i only pumped 30 cc per pumping session. so i had to catch up. i read about power pumping and found out that it worked for me. i drank a lot of fluid, ate a lot of vegetables, even daun katuk, oatmeal cookies but nothing helped. i even drank supplement to boost breastmilk production but it didn't give satisfying result. so i did power pumping at midnight for almost a week and then my milk production started to increase. at this time, we're still supplementing her with formula, once a day. but when she was two weeks old, i ditched the formula and already gave her full breastmilk. i even had some reserved in the fridge. since i had to go back to work, i wanted to save as much as i could, as early as i could.
i felt victorious.. two months and no formula. i had supply at home too. but there's another problem. she refused her bottle only a week before i'm starting working again. oh crap. my mom blamed me again for not giving her bottle regularly. but i read everywhere, there are kids who refused bottle even though they've been introduced to bottle before. so i had to find another way. for almost a month we struggled. i tried spoon feeding and syringe feeding. the syringe feeding gave her the milk faster but she would cry her heart out. my helper didn't want to give her via glass since she had confidence that she wasn't mature enough. she couldn't hold her head well at that time. but when i had to give her milk, i trained her using cup. when she was 4 and a half month, she could drink with spout cup, the hard one. somehow she liked hard stuff. she dislike her teething toy and chewed her hard rattles instead. *sigh*
so, with formula feeding, i had to face judgement. i breastfed him openly so people often asked why i couldn't pump as much? i didn't know what to say at that time since i didn't read much. but now i knew better. i also felt guilty every time people asked me that. and every time they commented my breastmilk quality, i always felt inferior. and then i had to wean him quicker than the recommendation. and the questions came again. but this time i can answer since it's our decision, me and my husband. i want to breastfeed him, but i feel only comfortable doing it for a year. and i don't regret it. with fully breastfeeding, i faced another judgement. since i decided to stay at home due this breastfeeding problem and another problem which i can't say here, many people thought that i chose to stay at home because of breastfeeding. well, it's not true. there's a lot of working mom that fully breastfeed her baby. but it's my decision. i chose to stay at home. and many people also judged that it limited my time allocation. i couldn't go to seminars, get massage and stuff, but it's my choice. although i can leave her for an hour or two, but i chose not to.
so both decision faced judgement. i think people here love to judge everyone else. so why bother. i just didn't listen to them. the important thing is my husband and i are agreed to let me fully breastfeed my baby and stay at home. as for the second battle, i had to face lack of sleep and also time management between pumping and breastfeeding and playing with my son. and it's not easy. i felt like zombie the first month and then i became insomnia since i had to pump at midnight (my baby skipped her midnight meal since a month old). i believe breastfeeding is best for my baby and me, that's why i fight for it. soooo for breastfeeding moms.. you can do it! make sure you have agreement with your husband, he's your 100% supporter who always be around you. it's better to make your mom and mom in law understand too. but if you can't, or if they're not living with you, then don't take everything they say if they accuse you. i know, hormonal might play with your ratio, but be strong! i'm also easily break into tears each time they accuse me of making my baby hungry, but my husband always assures me that my breastmilk is the best for her. and if you can, find other support. from your fellow breastfeeding friend.. from a breastfeeding community.. from a breastfeeding counselor.. just find a support. you can fight this fight alone.. trust me..
for information: if you're living in surabaya, you can come and contact aimi asi jatim (they have twitter and email and contact number i believe, just google it) or you can go to RSIA kendangsari (there's a pediatrician/lactation consultant there). and don't forget #menyusuidengankeraskepala.
anyway... the big point is, you are the BEST mom for your children, no matter what type you are. working mom or stay at home mom, breastfeeding mom or formula feeding mom.. you are the BEST.