Is it a big crime if a mother can’t breastfeed her baby?
Short of setting up my own consultation, I know everything there is about lactation. And yet that did not help me lactate. Meeting a consultant, stacking bottles of galactagogues and painstakingly gulping them down every day, eating all natural and artificial supplements that promise to make a milk bank out of you. Cursing the mammary glands, pitying the self for being an incomplete mother, hearing sermons from well-intention relatives on the pitfalls of being a modern woman, pretending to be enthralled by the stories of women who had so much milk that they did not know what to do with it. You name the trick and it had already been tried. Nevertheless, none of it worked and I did not become the milk-rich cow I was supposed to.
But I did not give up that easy. I was determined to succeed. And so anything edible that promised to increase even a single ml was happily chewed/gulped/shoved down the throat. Thanks to that binge, I am now far from my pre-pregnancy curves and by the looks of it, not going to get there any time soon.
And as flippant as I am about it now, it caused me a lot of grief back then. Each day would end with a bout of depression and a fervent prayer that the next day would bring more milk. Each day with the breast pump was an exercise in futility. So I turned to the next best thing available - formula milk! It was not smooth sailing and I was constantly reminded of how hassle-free everything would have been if only I were lactating.
After a tiring and mentally draining six months, I made peace. I was not meant to be a cow. And so I attacked my child's budding appetite with full zest. I decided to introduce her to at least one new food item each week. And because I did not have breast milk to fall back on, I wound up giving her so many things to eat. It has definitely not reduced the tantrums that come my way each day now that the taste buds have decided what they want but it definitely help me put a few good habits in place.
Lactation, like a lot of bodily functions, is a reflex and sometimes the reflex just does not work, even if you coax it, a lot. The merits of breastfeeding need no expounding here, but not being able to breastfeed need not be a crime.
Just like me, there will hardly be any mother who must not have tried her best to offer her child, what is known as the wonder food for every child. Nor can the intentions of any mother be to keep her child away from breastfeeding.
It’s just nature at play sometimes! And I have realised from my experience, that the faster you make peace with it, the better it is for you and your child.
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