I am dividing this section into 2, the first half is about my parents (I don’t have siblings), and the other half is about my in-laws. I am writing about my experiences with them because I want you to know that if you are having difficulties in dealing with them then you are not alone.
Don’t get me wrong, motherhood has made me appreciate my parents, especially my Mom, even more. I am more thankful now to my parents than I ever was in my life. I have now learned the saying “You will understand us when you become a parent yourself”. Boy, did I ever understand them! I have deepened my bond and my love to my parents ever since I’ve become a mother myself.
The challenge that I’ve encountered with my parents was when they encouraged me to give my little one formula because they think my little one is too thin. Their generation is really the formula generation where it is believed that if you give formula to your little one you have the money to make a good future for your little one. So, the struggle between formula feeding and breastfeeding began. Even with all of my explanations of the benefits of breastfeeding, they seem cannot get past the fact that my little one is thin and therefore they believe is not getting enough nutrients. My parents have been used to the notion that fat baby = healthy baby.
What I did with this struggle is that I just did not listen to their comments but there was one time that I snapped and told them that my little one is not their baby but mine. My answer was hurtful to them and at the same time it was eye-opening. Since then my Dad is the one that bridges me and my Mom. He always says that my Mom will not understand my perspective because she never breastfed. The words of my Dad meant a lot to me.
Now, my Mom is pushing me to breastfeed although she constantly asks me if I still have milk or does my milk dry up because I do not pump at work but I just told her that if my little one is latching on to my breasts then there is no need to fear that my milk will decrease or “dry up”. I told her that the only time I will stop is when my little one prefers to stop. These are the words that I tell her in order to reassure my Mother that breastfeeding is still preferred by me and my little one.
My father-in-law is AMAZING! He supports me in my breastfeeding journey, and he even monitors every two hours if my little one is hungry or not. He knows that if my little one cries it is time to breastfeed. He encourages me and supports me in this journey. He accepted the times when I needed to excuse myself from any family gathering just to breastfeed my little one. But, I cannot have everything, because we lost my Father-in-Law when my little one is just 4 months old. It was heartbreaking. But I was glad that at least in even a short span I experienced a family who wholeheartedly accepted the challenges of breastfeeding.
My mother-in-law is another firecracker 🙂 She supported breastfeeding, but little that I know that there were already issues brimming right from my engagement party, which led to a blow-up during my breastfeeding journey. My experience with her made my breastfeeding journey very challenging. It all started when I had a postpartum eclampsia. Postpartum eclampsia is a condition when a mother has high blood pressure and excess protein in urine after giving birth. My mother-in-law’s concern is that since I am sleep deprived my blood pressure can even go higher and it may lead to more serious things. I did appreciate her worries but it was too much because it led to a push for formula feeding. It was unnecessary because there are mothers with similar situations such as mine and they have successfully fulfilled their breastfeeding journey. It was the notion of convenience of formula feeding that pushed her to make me stop breastfeeding because it is believed that babies can sleep longer if fed with formula and she can take care of my little one by feeding formula while I sleep or enjoy the things outside home.
Again, the intentions of my mother-in-law were nice and helpful but it counteracts my advocacy of breastfeeding. This issue then led to more issues that she had been keeping and also even the small things that are not supposed to be an issue are made into big issues. Even her sisters are insisting that I formula feed to the point of telling that the children of my mother-in-law are all formula fed but they are all intelligent or that they themselves are fed with a powdered milk named “Bear Brand” (a Philippine-based milk brand) when they were little. It was a painful journey to me, that even up to this point, it seems that this issue will never be cleared up not unless my sister-in-laws will have their own families or time will just help in the healing process. Hopefully, soon everything will be clear and breastfeeding will be accepted by them wholeheartedly.
In my experience, when it comes to family, there is no perfect solution to problems. Some issues will be resolved when you express your opinion, but with some they will take this against you and even cause bigger problems. But still, even with these issues, I have never given up on breastfeeding and I just continue to pray that someday breastfeeding will be accepted wholeheartedly.