Monday, September 6, 2010

The Beauty of Breastfeeding

We were at the doctor's clinic again today, this time for a possible nostril infection and allergy rashes that has been spreading on Benjo's face.  I was reading the medical books we have here at home to try to figure out what the rashes were and how to treat them.  I came upon 'Impetigo', which kind of scared me with its note that this type of skin disease is very infectious and children with possible impetigo should not attend school.  So, although well enough to go to school except for the obvious red spots on his face, we opted for Benjo to skip school and go to our pediatrician at Sta. Teresita Hospital.

It being a Monday and during a season where various illnesses are on the rise, Sta Teresita Hospital's clinic hallways were already full and we were listed as number 8 even though we arrived 20 minutes before the opening of clinic hours.  From experience, the doctor would sometimes arrive late and then do her rounds of admitted patients before attending to her waiting patients at her clinic.  So it was already around 12 noon when Doctora saw us.

Benjo and I spent the time firstly having a merienda of Pan de Manila's cheese bread with iced tea from the canteen.  We sat at the end of the hallway where other doctors weren't so busy (ie no patients waiting outside) or near the cashiers where there were a couple of seats.  Then we tried to busy ourselves by doing some math and spelling exercises and just observing the many people around.

Near the end of the hallway is the Ultrasound area where many expecting mothers are seated waiting for their turn.  There is an overhead television which shows a video of a Filipino mother giving birth and the newborn infant placed on her mother to nurse.  We've seen this video during previous clinic visits and I think it's the only video that is shown because they show it continuously almost throughout the day.  But no matter how many times we've seen the short documentary, it still seizes us with amazement.

In slow motion we see the baby slowly open her eyes and try to grapple for her mother's breast.  The little infant moves her fingers, opens her mouth, trying to reach.  I don't know how they do it, there is no persuasion from the mother or any of the attendants.  But slowly, by instinct, the newborn reaches for and then finally finds the mound, the source of food for her nourishment.  And when she does, that little bundle who just minutes before came out of her mother, latches on, squeezes her whole face and hides it in her mother's breast.  It is a joyous moment, a victorious moment when you want to cheer and shout.

Benjo and I look at each other and we share a smile and a laugh.  I think to myself, this is better than any action or drama movie.  This is real-life drama, a moment captured in time when a child and mother first finds fulfillment in each other.  Beautiful, just beautiful.  No wonder it never ceases to amaze me and others, even the young like my Benjo, who hugs me afterwards as if remembering the time when we too first had our own bonding moment.

Back to the doctor's clinic... when we were finally called, Doctora saw the obvious rashes and with a closer examination gave us a prescription for an antibacterial ointment and anti-itch syrup.  We hope his skin condition improves with this treatment.  For now, we're avoiding "malansa" foods such as shell fish, chicken and eggs.


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