If there’s one thing motherhood has taught Shamcey Supsup, it’s that you can never fully plan everything.
One thing she had always planned on, however, was that she would become a breastfeeding mom.
Thinking that not working a 9 to 5 job would afford her the time to breastfeed round the clock, she didn’t see the need to prepare anything. “Akala ko madali lang. I didn’t buy any bottles. I didn’t shop for anything,” she told theAsianparent at an intimate roundtable interview with the press. She recounted even telling her mother-in-law there would be no need to shop for anything. “I said there was no need. Direct breastfeeding ako,” she said with a chuckle. “Kaya ko yan. Di ko kailangan yan.”
But all this changed when she gave birth. “Doon ko narealize ang hirap, hindi ko kaya, ang sakit,” confided the Beauty queen.
The beginning of her breastfeeding journey wasn’t the only thing she couldn’t fully plan.
photo: Shamcey Supsup Instagram
The labor and delivery that didn’t go as planned
“I had a birth plan. I wanted to go natural. I even took classes and read lots of books feeling ko very equipped na ko but I ended up having an emergency C-Section,” she shares. Adding that when she got to the hospital, she was almost fully dilated. Though labor was swift, she found herself struggling when the time came to push.
“The epidural and the spinal block did not work on me,” she revealed. “Because the anaesthesia didn’t work, pagod na ko, I gave up,” she remembers telling her husband Lloyd that she no longer wanted to push.
Knowing that she wanted him to push for a normal delivery no matter what, Lloyd hesitated.
“They saw the baby come out and go back in, again and again,” said Shamcey adding that her OB-Gyne then decided to do a C-Section. “I needed anesthesia. I remember I was hysterical. They put me to sleep.”
“When I woke up, Lloyd came to me tapos umiyak talaga ako kasi sabi ko ‘Bakit ako na-CS? Bakit ako na-CS?’” she recalls how disappointed she was in herself, thinking of other moms who had more difficult labor experiences and yet managed to deliver normally.
It was Lloyd’s dad—her father-in-law—who soothed her as she cried. “Wag ka na umiyak,” she recalls him saying, “Healthy si baby, ok si baby.”
Even so, she still was “so disappointed that everything didn’t go as planned”.
Shortly after birth, the nurse brought her newborn daughter to her room. “When I saw the baby, the first thing was they did was pina-latch as soon as possible. Okay naman. Yup pala dun magsisimula lahat,” recalled Shamcey.
Next page: Shamcey gets real about her breastfeeding struggles
How difficult breastfeeding was also came as a surprise. “Giving birth was the hardest but the second hardest was breastfeeding.”
She thought that once the baby latches, it would be fine. “Grabe di ko maexplain yung sakit. Yun para bang every time mag-bbreastfeed siya, iiyak ako sa sobrang sakit,” said Shamcey. “Siguro at the time I was disappointed pa, may konting depression. She found a confidante in her mother-in-law, who also had a similar experience.
It wasn’t just the pain that the new mom struggled with; it was also the lack of sleep and low milk supply. “Light sleeper mako so I was co-sleeping. Konting galaw lang niya, I would wake up. So it was a real tough.”
“When I was able to discover the pumps, sobrang life saver…”
photo: Shamcey Supsup instagram
Not being familiar with breast pumps, Shamcey was directly breastfeeding her daughter, who they named Nyke, for a month before she asked her husband for a pump.
It was her ninang* (godmother) who offered breastfeeding advice: “the more you let the baby latch, the more it stimulates milk flow.” Her ninang, who had one-year-old, even donated some of her own milk when Shamcey was struggling with her supply.
“When I was able to discover the pumps, sobrang life saver. Nung una, manual pa so nakakangawit. Sobrang swerte ng mga mommies kasi now meron nang electric pumps na chargeable no batteries needed.”
Currently, she pumps about 6 to 8 times per day, whenever, wherever. “I only get to pump 24 ounces a day,” confided Shamcey.
“Sometimes I skip but the next day, I try to make up for it. Pero napapansin ko kumokonti if I skip, so I try not to.”
Breastfeeding in public
When she doesn’t have hosting gigs or tending to their resto business, she mostly stays home where she can pump freely.
“I only have problems during events like back in March, Binibining Pilipinas, had to beg off,” she says, adding that she knew she wouldn’t be able to pump for about 7 hours due to the live show and because of wardrobe constraints.
“It was the first time I watched at home in 3 years,” recalls the Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner up.
But she doesn’t usually let anything get in her way when she needs to pump.
“Di ako nahihya before nahihiya ako. Nursery room, pag ano na topless lang yan. They’ve seen it na. I’m in the room naman. Before kahit nung* nagBinibini ako* I never liked the swimsuit round. Pero now, it’s for the baby! Di naman napapansin ng mag tao. Even while eating at restos,” she beams, adding that the best place to pump is still in their tinted car.
“Also, when I get my makeup done sa shoot. or retouch. Para di ma-disrupt lang shoot.”
photo: Shamcey Supsup Instagram
“When you get the hang of (pumping), madali na lang siya.”
“When you get the hang of it, madali na lang siya,” she says, reassuringly.”Sa umpisa, it really takes so much of your time. But now pagSanay ka na, part of your routine na siya.”
In order to keep track, Shamcey kept a “breastfeeding logbook”.She noted how her daughter would consume 34 ounces a day; she was only producing 24-27 ounces.
“When I introduced the bottle ayaw na niya directly sakin. So I just pump now. Siguro, 80% breastfed.” Inspired by exclusive pumping moms, whom she found out about on instagram, she decided to try it for herself.
But, she still directly breastfeeds at times and then pumps after.
Though she initially planned to breastfeed for six months, her daughter Nyke just hit her 7th month and Shamcey has no plans of weaning her just yet.
As for how long she plans to breastfeed, Shamcey plans to do it as long as she can. “My husband is very, very supportive talaga,” said Shamcey, recalling when, a month after giving birth, she wanted to switch to formula but Lloyd encouraged her to keep going. “Sabi niya sa ‘kin, kaya mo yan! Gusto mo ba magkasakit si baby? So buti na lang. Kasi kung hindi siya firm, kung binaby niya ko, I would’ve given in sa pagod.”
Next page: Shamcey talks overcoming depression and “sanctimommies”
The BB. Pilipinas Universe’s competitive side kicks in when she sees mom who are extended breastfeeding, she keeps challenging herself and pushing herself to keep doing it.
If there are nuggets of wisdom she would impart to new moms it’s to not be too hard on themselves.
photo: Shamcey Supsup Instagram
Overcoming frustrations, focusing on the good
“Ako kasi sometimes I compare my output with other moms. Sobra talagang nakaka-frustrate kasi sila lagi silang* may extra milk. I tried everything: malunggay* soup, all day, malunggay* capsule,” said Shamcey, sharing how having an endless milk supply was one of her biggest dreams.
“Pero sabi ko it’s better to give her konti kaysa wala. I’ll still continue to breastfeed, kahit di ganun kadami stash ko,” said the determined mom.
Her struggles also involved depression. “I felt like everyone was so concerned about the baby and not about me,” she recalls, adding that she often accused her husband of loving the baby more than her—something she now finds funny, in retrospect.
But, she eventually realized she had a lot to be grateful for. “Thankful ako that I chose to breastfeed our baby kasi sabi ng pedia amin, ang dami ngayon na may trangkaso, may flu, in fairness naman, si baby never pa nagkaFever or colic or what.”
“She only cries when she’s sleepy or when she’s hungry. Even if may laman diaper, di siya umiiyak so sobrang wala along problem.”
Her daughter, who is now 7 months, weighs about 9 kilos and is starting on solid food.
“Sobrang takaw,” gushes the doting mom. “But when you see her, sobrang lean siya. pero siksik siya. Her favorite food is avocado, that was her first food.”
photo: Shamcey Supsup Instagram
The importance of knowing your options
“I think it’s important for moms to have options. Kasi before, I wasn’t really the type of person who would go on the internet and ask questions and read so many things and blogs and read that. I follow people who breastfeed their children so I get advice naman from there,” said Shamcey, adding that many moms tend to give up when they encounter pain during breastfeeding due to lack of information, including her cousins back in her hometown of General Santos city.
Acknowledging her own shortcomings as a new mom, she said she learned the importance of knowing your options. “Sometimes you feel you’ve let your child and yourself down,” confides Shamcey. “Parang no matter what you do hindi pa rin enough. Yun pala may options naman pala. If di mo kayang magdirectly breastfeed, may other options—as long as you’re able to feed your baby.”
“Ang important is that you can give your baby the best possible nourishment that you can give her, diba? In whatever way na maibibigay mo sakanya,” she says. She credits her mom friends including Pigeon for helping her care for herself on her breastfeeding journey.
Though counts her struggles with low milk supply as her biggest insecurity as a mom, she happily shares that she thinks she succeeded in her goal to breastfeed her daughter, albeit mostly via pumping.
“Don’t be shy to ask questions. Ask for help if you need help. Cry if you need to cry.”
“As long as I’m able to feed her, I’m still going to continue. Before kasi I think I was also pressuring myself. The first time I let her drink formula I felt bad,” she said, recalling how she sought the advice of their pedia—her husband’s pedia when he was younger.
So, has this experience inspired her and Lloyd to give Nyke siblings anytime soon.
“Siguro if you asked me 1-2 months after giving birth, I’d say ayoko* na talaga,” she responded, giggling. “But now, when I see the baby, sarap ng may baby…” she gushed.
“Lahat ng pagod, sacrifices, it’s all worth it when I see my baby; she’s smiling, healthy. Lahat ng sakit di na masakit.”
She credits her husband for being the “best support system”: “Yung asawa ko talaga he has helped me so much. He showed me that he cared for me that he wants me to feel better pero di niya ko hinayaan mag-self pity or magwallow into my own sakit. He was more of like the encourager. It helped me.”
When asked what the best lesson she’s learned so far, she said: “Don’t be shy to ask questions. Ask for help if you need help. Cry if you need to cry.”
READ: 11 Beautiful pictures and experiences of breastfeeding moms
Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest from theAsianparent.com Philippines!