A mother’s breastfeeding journey is not always an easy one, so when we came across the story of this super-mom who has been nursing for over two years, we wanted to know some more! Joanna Ladrido-Rojas and her two-year old daughter Kelsey have had their fair share of matching outfits and memories traveling the globe, but one thing that makes their bond extra special is the hard work and sacrifice that was put in to make their nursing goals a reality. To enlighten and encourage mothers who embarking on their own unique journeys, we asked Joanna to share their story, from her secrets to the struggles, her motivations to her misgivings.
As a first time mom, Joanna meticulously studied reading materials and online resources, but it was the first-hand advice of her older sister, sister-in-law, and mother that educated her on the benefits of breastfeeding. After giving birth, her most valuable resource was her Lactation Coach, Ate Estela, who provided the needed motivation and advice to troubleshoot any concerns she might have had.
After setting and meeting the goal to breastfeed Kelsey for her first three months, the timeline was extended to six months and then even further. Despite two battles with mastitis, or inflammation of breast tissue that causes pain in the breast, they powered through and found their rhythm again after it was resolved. Once supply was not a problem, Joanna decided to continue providing milk because of the benefits of breastfeeding and the incomparable bonding experience.
In order to be available for feeding, there were a lot of adjustments that had to be made. Mom had to turn her entire life and schedule around to match the breastfeeding schedule. Joanna considers herself blessed to working for the family business, which allows her the privilege to work from home and manage her own time. On occasions when she needs to step out for a meeting or gathering, she makes sure to pump in place of the missed feeding to ensure her supply remains consistent. She also shares that she has yet to get a full night’s sleep because she consistently pumps in the middle of the night.
Socializing was often planned to a T to accommodate their breastfeeding schedule. Silk nursing covers, a silicone pump, and lactation rooms were a big help in making nursing on-the-go possible. When planning for out-of-the country trips, the family chose destinations with friendly breastfeeding cultures. In terms of fashion choices, easy access to mom’s breasts was key! Outfits may have been dictated by accessibility, but still managed to stay in style.
Having experienced her fair share of difficulties in her journey, we asked Joanna to suggest some remedies based on what worked for her personally. For under-production, it helps to use a silicone pump on your opposite breast when latching to collect leakage and regular emptying of your breasts to encourage production. Other techniques are power-pumping and improving your hydration and diet by incorporating soups, malunggay, oats, lactation treats, and other food that contain milk-boosting ingredients. For over-production, it usually helps to put ice packs or a cold compress over your breast after nursing or pumping and slowly shortening pump sessions. The thing with breast milk production is, it works on a demand-supply principle, so the more you empty, the more you tend to produce. For clogged ducts, use a La Vie massager to bust those clogs and apply a warm compress before nursing and a cold compress after for the pain. In her experience, the best remedy for a clogged duct is a lactation massage. For mastitis, consult your Ob-gyn since you may need anti-inflammatory medications to address your fever and a prescription for an antibiotic to address the infection. Don’t wait this out as it is really painful and needs to be addressed ASAP.
When asked about the best part of being a mom, Joanna shared it’s getting to experience small moments that you can’t explain or characterize. It’s like living your life with a renewed purpose or fulfilment. It’s indescribable, but you get to see things again through the eyes of your child. Nowadays, as much as they try to stick to their pre-pandemic schedule, it’s been an adjustment. Joanna endeavours to be creative and think up new tasks and activities to keep Kelsey entertained and engaged from the comfort of their home. Kelsey has already decided to stop latching and consumes both solid food and her mother’s expressed milk through a sippy cup. She is growing up to be an independent young lady, excited for all the things life has in store for her!
To moms who are currently in the midst of their own nursing journey, remember that each journey is special and unique. Although breastfeeding has its benefits, it is 100% a decision between the mother and child depending on what works best for them.