In my last post on breast feeding I had emphasied on how it is the best and most natural way of nourishing a child but something's are easier said than done.
When I became a mother 9 years back at an age of 29.5 years, I was mostly naive and unaware about many things. Forget Breastfeeding many aspects of pregnancy and childbirth were coming to me as a huge surprise.
I had been away from my home for almost 7.5 years for first education and then job and had never in my growing up years seen anyone pregnant in family or seen a child birth and had never even watched a lady Breastfeed her child. I wish babychakra was there then.. it wouldn't have been so difficult for me..
After an emergency c section when my baby was finally with me for her first breastfeeding session..the nurses were trying to make her latch and she was Crying frantically..her face was red and I a scared new mom, .... trying to half sit with all my new stiches and not even knowing how to hold the baby properly was Crying in pain ...both physical and mental..
Attempt after attempt I failed and when even ladies from family who were trying to help got tired, we resorted to formula milk. Thankfully I was at my mom's place so no judging happened and everyone was being nice to me but somewhere I felt that I have to keep trying.. not give up and at least try.
Post that it took me almost one month and tonnes of patience and persistence to successfully breastfeed my child and here are few things which I learned in this time and will like to share.
1. First and the foremost is that never feel guilty or bad about not being able to breast feed your child in your first or second or even further attempts. It doesn't make you less a mother. You have beared enough pain to bring your child in this world. If people are judging you for giving formulae milk or saying things, just ignore and concentrate on getting well and trying to breast feed. A new mom, whether c section one or normal delivery one goes through lots of pain and upheval and so consider yourself human. If nothing is working try formula milk for few days as one the child needs some nutrition and second it will give you time to heal and try.
2. Understanding the issue behind not being able to breastfeed is half the battle won. Wether it is a latching issue or flat or inverted nipples or the milk supply taking time to start has to be recognized. You can even take help from your doctor and lactation experts which are present in most of the hospitals today.
3. Sometimes with delivery, a women's body starts producing milk as a natural reaction but in some cases it takes time. May be 2-3 days, but mostly it starts within this time. Also, initially the supply may be less and the whole phenomenon will take time to adjust, but as and when the baby will start latching and taking feed the milk production will not only start properly but will boost up according to demand.
4. Proper latching of the child to the breast and holding position is many a times the key to successful breastfeeding. In my case this is what was not happening. Also unsuccessful attempts, stiches pain, back pain etc were making me exhausted and frustrated. I tried using pillows. I used to put one pillow under my thigh area for little elevation and one at my back for support. Also I used to lay down my daughter on a pillow in my lap and held her from back of her neck (nape). This helped me bring her close . Even then baby couldn't latch so one of my aunt's suggested that if I use my fingers to pull the aerolar area of the breast and offer it to baby, she will take it and voila this helped me.
5. A very big issue with most mom's is that they feel their milk supply is low and the child remains hungry. It is important to understand that a babies egg size stomach needs continuous nutrition and as breast milk gets digested easily and even with formula babies pee and are again hungry a babies demand for milk in initial days or weeks is very high. There is no way to check how much milk a baby is taking in one feed but a baby who pees 6-8 times a day and is reasonably active is considered to be taking enough feed.
6. A feeding mother should take apt nourishment. As baby grows demand on milk in one feed increases. Also it helps in weight gain for the baby. As for fluids it's general folklore that drinking one glass of water before feeding helps. The mother doesn't feel thirsty while feeding and it gives peace. To an extent it's true as breast milk formation in body demands water so have at least 6-8 glasses of water, buttermilk, soups etc in day if you are breastfeeding. Also initially one should not worry about weight loss as it will happen with time, and take a good balanced diet of roti, sabji, daal, chawal etc etc.. You don't need to eat too much or too fatty items but there are foods which you must take for your bodies recovery and for increasing breast milk too. Elder people usually advice new mothers to have jaggery, mustard, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, nuts, green leafy Vegetables, zeera, ajwain etc and in my case my aunt prepared a ladoo with little ghee, jaggery, turmeric, nuts, methi, zeera and ajwain and I took it twice a day after meals and it was wonderful. She had also added a few jadibooties. I also had aataa panjiri. Mostly my diet was a good Indian one having little of all food groups.
7. Breast feeding many a times is difficult because of flat or inverted nipples and continuous feeding also leads to issues like sore nipples. Sometimes nodules get created when child doesn't accept the other breast. Using nipple shields helps in case of flat or inverted nipples. Applying breast milk, ghee, creams, cold cabbage leaves etc helps heal sore nipples and putting a warm wet napkin on the breasts helps break nodules. One should never shy away and seek help and advice from lactation expert or doctor if in confusion or pain.
There are many midwife tales and folklore associated with feeding a child and some don't have a scientefic evidence but they do work, while others are just myths. One of them is that when a child has just started feeding and begins sleeing again one must tickle them behind their ear or head and they will feed more and get satisfied and sleep more. This prooved true for me.
So guys BreastFeeding is difficult but not impossible. Don't quit before trying it. Take help from spouse and family and enjoy it.
I hope my experience helps someone!!
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