For this month's Mom Feature, we'd like you to meet Kevy, an awesome mama from Mexico City who embraces roles as both mama to her adorable 9 month-old, Bomani and marketing manager for Bloomberg Financial. In this interview, she shares tips for breastfeeding while traveling, body image and being a working mama. Read on to find out more about this awesome Leche Libre mom!
1. How would you describe your style? Do you have any tips for breastfeeding moms?
My style is modern/comfortable. At the end of the day, being a mom requires me to be as comfy as I can, but since I work in a corporate world, I need to make and effort not to jepardize my look, that's why I strive for original clothes that reflect that I have fun when I decide an outfit. Fashion tips are pretty straightforward. It's not that bad ha. Chose comfortable and easy to open clothes. Make sure you have fun when you decide what to wear.
2. As a postpartum woman, did your body image change with motherhood?
I learned to accept the consequences of pregnancy. Body definitely changes. It takes long to recover, specially if you were not very active. It's difficult to see yourself not as "attractive" - as the usual beauty standards dictate - as before. But now I see myself more like a curvy person, and I like it, I embrace it and accept it. Also when I feel fat or whatever I tell to myself: "your body had formed someone for 9 months, you may as well take that or more time to get it back." Or "you are freaking making food for someone out of your body, that's so powerful!"
3. How long do you plan on breastfeeding?
That's a difficult one! I try not to put too much pressure on that. My first goal was 6 months and I made it, I've just passed the 9 month milestone and my next goal is 1 year. But honestly I think I could do it for 2 years if Bomani's up to it :)
4. Biggest challenge as a breastfeeding mom? How do you overcome it?
Of course the first weeks were a nightmare. It hurt so bad! And of course it's so bad that you wanna stop right away. But I have to say rhat my mom's support was super important. She breastfed me for 16 months and pushed me not to quit. I've said this before, but I think you need 3 key things to have a successful breasfeeding experience: 1) timely and accurate information 2) support and 3) self confidence in your body. If one of the 3 is missing it's not gonna work. I've read that breastfeeding shouldn't hurt so definitely I thought something was wrong. And it was. Bomani was not getting a good latch and of course not eating well and hurting me. This is a condition called "tongue-tie", that can be solved. Fortunately I was able to solve it with the help of my mum, my (IBCLC) lactation consultant and my pediatrician. At this point, it doesn't hurt anymore and the main challenge is being away from my son for long periods of time, because not breastfeeding makes me feel full and that can hurt! But honestly, actually breastfeeding hasn't been challenging lately, and I love it!
5. What has breastfeeding in public been like for you? Has it been mostly positive, or have you had any negative experiences?
Surprisingly it's been great, I have breastfed everywhere, at church, in coffee places, malls, supermarkets, even in the street. For me it's practical, and I've lost "shame" on showing my breasts. Up to now I've never had anyone told me a negative thing, and sometimes I wish someone did so I can fight back lol.
6. What are the attitudes toward breastfeeding in Mexico? Is it different then the US, and if so, how is it different?
There are mixed opinions on that. Most of health professionals agree that it's the best nutrition but don't provide enough support. For example, I had a C section and the excuse was that because of that I didn't produce milk or colostrum right away so they took my baby away from me and gave him formula as his first meal. Ever. And the pediatrician at the hospital recommended me to complement with formula right away. I don't see formula as the devil or anything, it should be a second option after you made your best. I also see that low income families see some social status in giving formula to their babies as it shows that they can afford it. We may see it as outrageous but social aspirations are part of everyday life.
Regarding breastfeeding in public, there are some taboo subject about it because breasts are sexualized, however I've never got someone asking me to cover myself. Again I wish I had someone telling me so, so I can fight haha.
7. You travel a lot, what are some tips you might have for breastfeeding moms who travel?
Even if you're travelling with your kid, have your milk pumping and storing supplies in your luggage. I was able to keep up with my milk bank for 2 weeks because I had everything I needed.
Also, if you're flying, the best is to offer breastfeeding while taking off and landing, sucking keeps the ear pain from the baby. Wear comfy clothes that allow you to breastfeed. Leche Libre is definitely a great resource for that :)
8. How do you balance your work schedule with breastfeeding? Tips?
I work 8-6 and went back from my maternity leave when my kid was 4 months old. I used to breastfeed on demand. Not anymore because it's impossible. But I think there are some workarounds. First, having child care that is flexible. Whether you have a nanny, family or a daycare that takes care of your baby, make sure they can be flexible. I am lucky that I have a daycare around the corner and work for a company/manager that is supportive, which allows me to go breastfeed almost everyday. Now we have schedules so the baby has a routine and some structure. Second, use your time out of work to compensate as much as you can and want. For example on weekends he eats from melots more than in weekdays. He know i'm around so he just wants to bond all day long :)
Last but not least, keep away from guilt, stress and all the negativity, as much as you can. Breastfeeding is also very emotional so your mind must be calm as well to have a successful experience.
Thanks Kevy for taking part in our Mom Feature this month!