Meet Felirose Bartolome, a medical technician who has been working in Singapore for the past 8 years. She is also a mother of 2 adorable children. Her children live in the Philippines, far away from her. It is the plight of many a foreign worker in Singapore. What is extraordinary though, is how this OFW mother in Singapore has been breastfeeding her children, from outside her country!
Read this beautiful story of a mum’s perseverance and love.
How this OFW mother in Singapore breastfeeds her children
It was year 2016 when Felirose gave birth to her first child. She used her maternity leave to be with her baby. She also got her child a passport so she could breastfeed longer, but after a month, Felirose had to be separated from her baby.
“You know the bond between a mother and a child…especially when your baby looks at you when you’re breastfeeding, I didn’t want to lose that, but I needed to work because I’m a breadwinner”
This mummy had only planned to breastfeed her baby for 3 months but since she had a lot of milk, she continued to breastfeed using a breast pump.
Even when she is busy with work, she still follows her breastfeeding schedule every 3 to 4 hours. She makes sure to send her milk to her little ones. She saves the milk in milk bags, preserves them in the freezer and sends it to the Philippines using a cooler.
“It proved to be comforting for me emotionally because even though I’m far away from home I can still provide them the best of me, my nutrients and antibodies in the milk,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN.
“I just want to give myself to my children…”
Because there is a chance the frozen milk might get spoiled while shipping, she requests other Filipino mums who are going back to the Philippines to carry it for her.
40 milk storage bags that each contain 180 ml of breast milk are inside the cooler that gets checked-in on airplane as baggage.
Felirose pays her fellow Filipino mums an extra 20 kg baggage allowance to make sure her milk gets sent to the Philippines safe and sound. From the airport it then gets delivered to their house in Dasmarińas, Cavite.
Even though the milk is being delivered far away, it is usually still frozen when it arrives. “In the event that my milk thaws, that’s the first milk that my mum will give my baby”. She still does this, now that she has 2 children – a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old.
“Actually, I wasn’t thinking about the money when I was sending my milk” Felirose says, “I have a supportive husband and I just want to give myself to my children through my breast milk. I want to give it to them even though I’m far from home.”
Felirose tries to go home every month or brings her child with her mother to Singapore.
She also says that she wouldn’t be able to continue breastfeeding without the support of her family.
“Thank you for never getting tired of taking care of my child, for hugging them while they sleep at night. Even though I’m far, they can still feel my hug… Thank you, Lord, for giving me very loving and supportive parents.”
We salute this mum, whose love and dedication has made the impossible possible. More power to you, mummy!
*This article was originally published on the theAsianparent Philippines. Translated from Tagalog by Richelle Croley Morana.