I cried – at the loss of what I believed to be an integral part of motherhood. Breastfeeding. How I cried!!
I was naïve enough to believe that I could choose not to breastfeed if it interfered with my lifestyle (a joke to even think about lifestyle with a baby!). Only to realize that I would turn any semblance of normalcy (lifestyle, for first time moms) upside down to make breastfeeding work. I took it on myself as a project to be completed as any ambitious, driven corporate person would. We had a tight schedule, with notes maintained for each pumping session – day, time, duration of pumping session, amount produced. Every time the baby was fed, I pumped. That was approximately every 2-3 hours, or about 8 times in every 24-hour cycle. Despite my best efforts,I could pump no more than 20 ml total per pumping session.
The baby now screamed every time she was near my breasts, and I was constantly in tears. I was taking fenugreek, fennel, carom seeds, shatavari, goat's rue, thistle, and a few others I can’t think of right now.
After a couple of visits to lactation consultants, one of whom was also a medical doctor, I was prescribed ‘domperidone’. But, more than the domperidone, what I think changed was my attitude, which eventually lead to my breastfeeding success. I decided that since stressing wasn’t working, I would try just relaxing. Baby and I did 3 days of skin-to-skin – sat literally naked with baby on top of me and spent time talking to her, reading books, and just being a mom. Thus soaking in some quality babytime. And just like that, the amount of milk produced started going up. The charts showed lesser formula being consumed and more breast milk being consumed. And then, one day she latched! The joy!!! We have not looked back since.
Here, I would like to add that I did go crazy and in hindsight, I wish I had done the relaxing and enjoying the baby in the first few weeks instead of constantly thinking of how I had failed in doing the most natural thing – breastfeeding. Maybe if I had, I would have been happier, the baby would have been happier, and maybe breastfeeding would have worked out without any medical intervention. I also realized that it is okay if breastfeeding does not succeed – it is important that the mother is happy for the baby to be happy. And there needn’t be any judgment if a mother decides to go ahead with formula feeding. We are all moms, we have all gone through an earth-shattering birthing experience and we deserve to be respected in our decision being the best for our own unique situation – the mother’s AND the baby’s.
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