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All the research out now really supports how breastfeeding is best for baby and mommy (see list here), but there's no research that says how breastfeeding helps enhance a woman's self-esteem. But I can tell you with confidence that breastfeeding did one thing that no self-help book, no women's mag empowerment article, or no religious sermon ever did--breastfeeding made me proud of my body!
First of all, I never had to diet or exercise to look good. I was super thin--a size 1 when I was in my early 20s then a 2 in my late 20s then a size 4 in my early 30s. Despite not needing to hit the gym, I still didn't feel confident. I didn't exactly have low self-esteem but my body wasn't particularly anything special. I felt that even more acutely when I became skinny and flabby when I hit 30!
|7 months pregnant!|
Then... I started breastfeeding. My body shrunk fast, my breasts filled with milk and my baby boy suckled happily at breasts that were hard, not the lovely soft mounds seen on sexy stars.
But with each breastfeeding minute, my self-esteem blossomed. I felt a happiness and wonder at what my body can do. I was so proud of my body! My body is nourishing my son. My breasts are filled with good nutrition! My bosom and belly make a soft cushiony cradle for my baby boy. My arms and legs--thicker now--are so strong! My body stopped being a source of criticism. It is now my pride and joy.
The funny thing is I looked better before I got pregnant! Sometimes, when I've spent the entire day looking at Hollywood stars (it's my job to do so!), I catch a glimpse of my body and get a bit panick-y. Where did my skinny arms, slender thighs, small chest (I liked my small chest!) go? Will I ever be sexy again? Then I remember that this body is a milk machine that makes it possible for my Vito to be healthy, smart and strong. And that makes my body perfect.
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Here are the other blog posts of the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival. Enjoy!
Apples & Dumplings: The Breasts and Me!
Changing Nappies in High Heels: Of Nursing and Self-Awareness
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: Please Think Before You CommentFeeling Fab at 40
Manila Fashion Observer: My Breastfeeding Story
Mommying in Heels: Loving Jaden, Changing Me
Rainy Days and Momdays: The Adventures of Super CowSoprano Mom Writes: Breastfeeding and My Career
The Odyssey of Dina: Nurturing Rafael: Same Old Brand New Me
Truly Rich Mom: Breastfeeding Has Made Me A Better Woman