I was blessed with a baby boy in 2010, and was determined to breastfeed him. I did not want to be a woman who was only capable at promoting mothers to breastfeed, I also wanted to show that a working woman could breastfeed her baby.
I needed a caesarean section to deliver my baby. I requested local anesthesia so that I could immediately breastfeed after he born.
I faced another challenge when we discovered that his bilirubin was high, making him jaundiced. He had to be placed in an incubator for 24 hours.
“What a stubborn child! If he was given formula milk, he would not have this yellow skin!” This is what my mother believed.
I expressed my breast milk and put it in a bottle. Another challenge appeared when he refused to drink directly from my breast. So, every two hours I expressed and put it in a freezer.
When he was one month old, I suffered from chicken-pox so I had to be separated from my baby. Fortunately, there were enough stock of breast milk in freezer. I continued to express but discarded the breast milk because of possible contamination from the medicine I was taking.
Then it was my baby’s turn to have the chicken-pox. His whole body from his head to his feet were covered with spots. It took three days for the whole condition to clear again. The doctor could not believe that he recovered so quickly, “This is the advantage of breast milk,” he said.
My little boy grew so well that my neighbors and relatives were amazed. They began to mention this to my mother, and she said with pride that it was all due to breast milk!
Enough Milk to Share
My baby still did not drink directly from my breast. One day the doctor warned me that I might not be able to keep producing to feed him through to six months. I to work, collecting and placing bottles not only in my freezer but also in the freezer of relatives and in the office! Then one day I found that the freezer had failed and I’d lost 250 bottles of milk.
Then a thought came to me, like a slap, to snap me out of my sadness – if I donated the breast milk I wouldn’t have to freeze it, and I would be able to keep lactating for longer.
First I donated my milk to twin baby girls. I also provided milk to a baby who had bronchitis, another who had lung disease and two other babies whose mothers could not produce enough milk- seven babies besides mine in the first six months! Later I found out that all of them babies recovered from their illness and grew healthy and strong.
Right now I am motivating eight breastfeeding mothers to increase their confidence in the face of public opinion, and to keep it up for the minimum recommended six months.
*Personal experience and written by Lisa Hernawati, staff of World Vision Indonesia