“I believe that breastfeeding is not just about latching. It is more of a holistic family journey to a healthier and wonderful life.”
Hi. I’m Jaime. A soon-to-be Tatay. Few days or a week from now a little bundle of joy—a Baby Boy will be joining our family.
I’m Jaime (pronounced as Hay-me), a proud member of Breastfeeding Pinays facebook community. A Tatay-to-be. A man. Though it is my desire to breastfeed my Baby, it is impossible in my part.
I’m a father. I’m a man. Though I have no breast, I am very proud to say that I will not just be supporting my mag-ina in OUR breastfeeding journey but will staunchly involve myself into this wonderful journey. In fact, in our almost-a-year preparation for my wife’s pregnancy, the biggest part of it is all about researching, studying, asking and enthusiastically inquiring about breastfeeding. I am actually a victim of “HI MOMMY JAIME” replies and comments to the online community where I usually post my inquiries. Perhaps, people in the online world think that I am a usual woman or Nanay asking about breastfeeding and anything about pregnancy. And I am untiringly making clear to them that I am not a Mommy. Tatay po ko.
I’m patiently studying every single detail about breastfeeding. I am researching about the importance and benefits of breastfeeding and how a man like me can be part of it. ‘Cause I’ve realized that it is not enough to support my wife. I’ve realized that it is important not only to support her but be a vital part of this journey. More than the support is the eagerness to accept all the challenges in OUR breastfeeding journey because I believe that breastfeeding is not just about latching. It is more of a holistic family journey to a wonderful life wherein my wife is the main player, I as the staunch supporter and our Baby as the beneficiary. And the eagerness to know every single detail about breastfeeding is part of involving myself into this journey. It is not enough that Nanay is the only one who knows about it. I also need to know.
I want to know everything about our journey. It is a must that I know everything about exclusive breastfeeding (EBF). It’s a must that I know about proper latching. It’s a must that I also know about colostrum, inverted nipple, engorged breast, nipple confusion, virgin guts, growth spurts, hand express and milk storage plastic or bag. It’s a must that I know the importance of the Unang Yakap, the skin-to-skin, the importance of Baby’s first 1000 days and the Tamang Kain.
It’s a must that I also know everything about proper storage of breast milk and how to preserve it. I have to know Executive Order no. 51, the RA 10028, the RA 7600 and other laws that will guarantee the rights of my wife and my baby to a free and efficient breastfeeding. I have to know even the simplest thing about breastfeeding—even about places that are breastfeeding-friendly, locations of breastfeeding stations in the malls and online resellers on nursing bras, nursing tops or nursing covers. [Segue: It is just a few of the things I’m willingly learning apart from the details of gentle and natural birth, breech babies, cephalic position, epidural, induced labor, episiotomy, amniotic fluid, doulas, Shiphrah, babywearing, Mei tai, SSC, Saya, Ringsling, Wrap, Woven Wrap and Stretchy wrap, Tula, Ergobaby, Pognae, Lennylamb, Lelliebubb, scarf hack, NBC, cloth diapers, inserts, liners, MF, Bamboo cotton, Hemp, Minky, Alva 3 and 4.0 and many more things about our Baby’s welfare.] It is important to know everything about it for me to effectively guide my wife. In this way, I can efficiently help my wife in the challenges of breastfeeding. Tulad din sa ibang bagay, mas makakainam na alam mo ang iyong mga pagdadaanan. In this way I feel that I am part of the journey. And I know by involving myself in the breastfeeding journey will let me appreciate more the beauty of my wife—her wonderfulness as a woman and her greatness as the mother of my child.
I know that there’s a lot more thing we should know especially that we are still not yet in the situation. And I am already preparing myself. I am preparing myself the way how my wife prepares herself to our breastfeeding journey. In fact I’ve already notified my bosses about my intention to temporarily leave to work from the day of the birth of my child until the milk production of my wife becomes stable. I’ve computed our financial loss and need due to this leave. I know that my support for my wife and my child will be more important rather than any amount of money.
I am preparing myself. I’ve prepared myself to wash, iron and prepare clothes, to do the palengke work, to cook food, to clean the house and to do all the house chores. I’ve prepared myself in helping my wife and my child with all their needs. I know the physical, mental and emotional challenges that my wife will be facing after birth. I know how difficult is to breastfeed especially on its first weeks. I know how hard is to breastfeed that’s why I know that it would be helpful to take over the chores. I know how painful is to breastfeed that’s why I am preparing myself on how to boost her morale in times she wishes to quit because of the pain. I need to continuously learn things about breastfeeding—breast massage, proper baby nursing position, breast pumping, lactation food and all the other things that could make our journey a lot easier. I need to be strong for them to be strong. Kailangan kong maging Tatay para sa aking asawa. Kailangan kong maging Tatay para kay Baby. Kailangan kong gawin ang lahat ng ito para sa aking mag-ina. I know it would be difficult, hard and painful but I also know how important it is to win this journey.
We don’t know what will be our set-up in an actual scenario. But we are positive that we will win this journey whatever it takes—no excuses, no alibis.
This journey is for the future of our baby. Just like the other parents, we want nothing but the best future for our Baby. And we want to start fulfilling this dream by giving what is best for him.
Lastly, I want to salute all the mothers that gave and continuously offering their selves for their Baby. Also, a salute to all the fathers that unwaveringly supporting and involving their selves into a journey that may not be ours but undeniably one of the greatest part of us—the breastfeeding.
I hope one or two years or more from now we are still winning this wonderful journey of breastfeeding. Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Month to all!
I’m Jaime de Guzman, 25 years old, an expentant father to a boy (to be named Jamir). Currently working as a Community Relations Officer in the National Housing Authority. A proud member of Breastfeeding Pinays, Babywearing Philippines, Modern Cloth and Nappying Philippines and Gentle Birth Philippines.