While many mothers easily gave up on breastfeeding, here is a first-time mom who took courage to nurse not only one but two little girls all at the same time.
Meet Anabel Dela Serna-De Jesus, 35 years old, and mommy to premature babies Alyssa and Eliana.
Being a licensed nutritionist-dietician herself, Anabel believes that there’s no better food to her children other than breast milk.
“Breast milk is known as complete nutrient or food for the babies. It is economical because we don’t need to buy formula milk, especially now that I gave birth to twins. It helps us save money,” she said.
“Aside from these, breastfeeding helped me get back in shape and gives my newborn kids proper immunization. Considering that my children are premature babies, breast milk keeps them away from sickness,” she added.
It may look like a breeze but Anabel said breastfeeding is indeed challenging, especially for her who needs to feed her two babies at the same time, or at the very least, nourish one by one alternately. Anabel shared that she breastfeeds Alyssa and Eliana for a minimum of 30 minutes until an hour with an interval of every two hours.
Although physically demanding, Anabel said she’s determined to exclusively breastfeed Alyssa and Eliana for two years.
“My early days of breastfeeding were never easy. You’ll learn to embrace the pain until your babies get to latch perfectly. Along the way, you’ll get by and your body will get used to it.”
“But I had to admit that there were times when I see myself crying because I got blisters, I felt the pain. Yet I endure all these pains because I know that breastfeeding is indeed beneficial to my daughters,” she said.
Strong support system
Although she considers herself as strong-willed mom and has already set her eyes on nursing her two kids, Anabel believes that support from families, spouse and community is important to enable any mother to religiously breastfeed her young.
“I am fortunate that our families are supportive of my breastfeeding journey. They never discouraged me neither advised to settle for formula milk,” she said.
Aside from her hands-on spouse, Anabel finds courage from her online community, Breastfeeding Pinays.
According to their official site, Breastfeeding Pinay is “an information website to provide Filipino mothers and would-be moms a guide to a successful breastfeeding practice.”
Anabel’s spouse, Edward, is a nursing graduate.
Shortly after Anabel gave birth to their twins, Edward took care of the household chores and volunteered himself to take charge of the twin’s diaper change. The newly-wed couple also arranged sleep schedules to ensure that their daughters will be taken care of 24/7.
“I help my wife in getting the right position when feeding our daughters at the same time. I also ensure that she gets proper rest and nutrition so that she can fully breastfeed the babies,” said Edward.
“My wife breastfeeds the kids, I take charge of making them burp,” he shared.
Asked if he’s uncomfortable with his new role in life, Edward replied: “No. I am a very proud dad.”
“Helping your wife doesn’t make you less of a man. We, men, need to support our wives. I am happy that I am able to aid Anabel in her journey, because parenting is both our journey. I know she needed help, she needed my support that’s why I am doing my best to become a good husband and father to our children,” Edward emphasized.
Never be afraid
At the end of the interview, Anabel encouraged expectant and first time mothers to prepare themselves by researching, studying and taking good care of their bodies.
The proud mother also enjoined her fellow moms to try joining lactation workshops and other community groups where they can find peer counselors and advisers whom they can share their breastfeeding journeys with.
“Never be afraid to try. Do not let this opportunity pass by without trying. Breastfeeding is fulfilling and a part of motherhood.”
“Breastfeeding brings closer bond to mothers and their children. It takes a lot of determination to nurse your babies. At the end of the day, you’ll realize that it is indeed rewarding,” she ended.
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month