Thoughts from a Breastfeeding Mum

October is breast cancer awareness month and I want to take this opportunity to post something about breast... feeding. Yes, breastfeeding! 

According to some health journals I've read, breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. Since my family has a history of breast cancer (my mom is a breast cancer survivor), I am doing all I can to reduce my own risk, and that includes 24/7 breastfeeding of my 5 month old Bub since his birth.

Yo breastfeeding at 2 weeks of age.

I have been breastfeeding for 5 months now and I can attest to what a lot of women are saying that breastfeeding is HARD! It was in the beginning, especially in times when I lost a lot of sleep, had little breastmilk coming out of me, or was trying to breastfeed in public. There were times when I cried at night and even had zombie-like moments when I would space out in the morning after doing an all-nighter with my breastfeeding.

However, things have changed especially now that my Bub is sleeping longer at night, I have enough milk after persistent latching, and many public places have started building breastfeeding rooms/parents rooms. Aside from that, my bub hasn't been sick ever since we brought him home from the hospital! We've taken him abroad at 2 months, we've toured him around Perth, and until now he's still in good health. I've already caught the flu twice in Winter but he never did!

Another development I truly appreciate is the greater acceptance of breastfeeding in public and the creation of parents rooms in many shops both in the Philippines and Australia.

Before I left Metro Manila, I was very vocal about how pleased I am with the efforts of Ayala malls to create at least 1 breastfeeding room in each of their malls. I reckon there are also breastfeeding rooms in SM malls but I was never able to visit these. 

Breastfeeding/Nursing room at Trinoma, Ayala mall.

When I arrived in Australia, the first question I asked Tourist information centers is "Where is the nearest breastfeeding/parents room?" 

I am very pleased to learn that parents rooms are often available in public places in Australia, especially in newly built shops or offices. These rooms are equipped with a nappy change station, private breastfeeding areas, play stations for moms with toddlers in tow, a bathroom with small and adult toilets, and even a microwave. 

One of three private breastfeeding nooks inside the parents room.

Nappy change area.

Child's play area and lounge.

Wash area with microwave at the far end.

In the Philippines, we also have some of these features in our breastfeeding rooms but I hope more shopping areas and public places would follow suit and create more of these helpful little nooks. 

If there isn't any available parents rooms in the vicinity, like when we're at a park or at the shops, I use a nursing cover to breastfeed. I got it from Manila and until now, I'm still using it. A very durable and useful investment indeed. Many people have also accepted women who choose to breastfeed in public. I remember a scandal in Manila wherein a man eating in TGIF took a picture of a mother breastfeeding her child and wanted to shame her by posting it on Facebook. However, everything backfired when the public sided with the breastfeeding mother. Truly, we've come a long way and I salute everyone who supports breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding in the parish of Don Bosco Makati, Philippines.

Breastfeeding in areas all around Perth. Could you guess where these are?

I'd like to give a shout out to all breastfeeding moms out there. I know it's tough but YOU ARE TOUGHER! ...and to all establishments, both private and public, which have built parents/breastfeeding rooms for the safety and comfort of breastfeeding moms and their babies, a huge THANK YOU! You have made our lives a lot easier! 

Lots of Love,
Jacq

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