Lucia was born in 2010 and I thought breastfeeding her would be easy since I knew a little more what to expect after birthing three babies before her. But on the fifth day after coming home from the hospital, I wanted to give up. Nothing seemed to make her comfortable. The feedings were interrupted, and the sleep-feeding routine I was used to never came. I was getting very exhausted, I was managing my pain from CS, I had very little sleep and heavy engorgement was setting in. We were both better off at the hospital the first three days. Something went amiss when we brought her home. I thought of Mela, her older sister born four years earlier, and how pleasant the breastfeeding was with her.
So when I had thoughts of giving up ( can you believe it? ) it was so timely that , Amelia my friend from LATCH called out of the blue, and I got back on track with my breastfeeding goals for Lucia. One cannot underestimate the power of this mom-to-mom counseling support. It can make all the difference when you don't want to go on anymore.
Eventually we understood what Lucia wanted - the laid back position, the cradle hold of my husband and she preferred to feed on my right breast only - don't ask me, I've no idea why. A few days later, and at last we both found our rhythm.
The first hours and the first weeks is the time when cocooning with the newborn is so important. Nanay Lita, a champion lactation counselor & lactation massage expert, taught me to fix my engorgement with more feedings, doing lactation massage on my own, and to give hand expression a chance. Boy did it work! Since then I've been expressing and storing my breast milk this way.
As the nights became more comfortable with Lucia, I felt a strange hunger to read, write and draw. I don't really draw. In my previous postpartum times, I was content to only breastfeed and rest. This time however, it was like some lost or sleeping synapses connected, electrified and would not let up.
It was crazy in the first days of this strange interlude because I watched lots of Fringe and read lots of Bram Stoker, and when the witching hour came, it's not exactly the best feeling to have, looking out the window and half expecting some nightmare to show up! So I prayed rosaries and shifted to Pugad Baboy which made up for a more pleasant time while breastfeeding. Really, Pen Medina is the best! I laughed my way through breastfeeding at this time with Brosia and Polgas.
Later, I started taking photographs again. It's one of the things I really loved doing but it got lost in the flurry of motherhood and office work.
The hours in this interlude with Lucia was a strange and beautiful time despite the hardships. I really believe that when you breastfeed, depending on your disposition, it makes you more connected to your soul, and the new life you are nurturing before you.
It's a moment of retreat and prayer if you let it be.