Gold! Gold! I’ve struck gold! Liquid gold, that is. And if you want some, I’ve got a few bags stashed in the freezer. Shhh!
To the uninitiated, liquid gold is a term coined for breast milk. The liquid part is self-explanatory but gold? Seriously?
I used to have this notion that breastfeeding is only for that dark skinned woman living on the street with a dozen children in tow or for that woman in the jeepney with a young infant attached to her exposed boob. Who could blame me? That’s all I see of the breastfeeding public. My mom never did breastfeed any of us. Neither did her mother before her nor her mother before her.
Our generation however, promises to be different. It’s back to the boob right from the get-go. Rooming in of the newborn is the trend in hospitals nowadays. If you choose not to be bothered by your newborn’s hungry cries right in your room, it would be the nurses calling you periodically to proceed to the nursery even at the most ungodly hour of the day.
Despite this seemingly hard setup, it does enforce us to give the best nutrition for our little one. Just so you know, I did do my homework and found out that, quoting from first5LA.org, “breast milk has a unique composition of nutrients enzymes, growth factors, hormones, and immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the risk of a wide range of illnesses for a child well beyond infancy. Essentially, it is like liquid gold for a growing baby.“ Seriously!
We were off to a good start, Ky and I. That is, until we got home. Round the clock nursing every hour started taking a toll on the milk machine. Sore nipples, cracked nipples, plugged ducts, nasty mastitis, toe-curling pain, you name it, I got it. With no hospital personnel to ask help from, I had to resort to trusty ol’ Google for assistance. There I found a wealth of invaluable information from sites like Kellymom.com, truly a lifesaver during the toughest of times.
Apart from the physical challenges, there were also the negative vibes from the non-believers. I don’t really know why you have to let yourself go through such hardship. Are you sure you have enough milk? Are you sure you don’t have to supplement with formula milk? Why is he crying? Maybe he’s not getting enough. And they just kept on coming. I suddenly had a different, less noble motive for making breastfeeding work – to prove them wrong or to put it bluntly, to shut them up.
After the first week of hell, we were ready for Ky’s first checkup. His pediatrician, a staunch advocate of breastfeeding (as are most pediatricians these days, I believe), was all praises for my effort at it. I almost had tears in my eyes as I heard the encouragement and support that had been missing since I started. She went on about how noble I was in putting up with the many aches and pains of breastfeeding just to be able to give Ky the best gift he can ever get at his age. Noble, did you hear that? Noble! Okay, so she doesn’t have to know about that last paragraph.
Thus, a tiny spark of confidence was lit. The next spark came on our first month’s checkup – the 1-month weigh in. If the Biggest Loser wanted the most pounds lost, I wanted just the opposite for Ky. I was praying for even just a decent amount of weight gain just so my efforts would not go in vain. Imagine my surprise then when the doctor congratulated me and said that she was impressed by his weight gain. Success! I was grinning all the way home. And yes, there was a tinge of smugness in that grin. What? I just couldn’t help it!
We’ve just had our 3rd month check-up a couple of weeks ago and I’m pleased to report that the weight gain is still on track, slightly higher than normal, as a matter of fact. Oh, and I also did get to try out that stronger immune system part when the whole household got a bad case of colds, myself included but Ky, magically shielded by the gift of gold, never did get it. Cool, huh?
Liquid gold, FTW!