Breastfeeding is a journey of discovery. Every time I feed, I explore my own strengths and possibilities as a woman. It is a testing and demanding journey, yet equally fulfilling and rewarding.
The first question I asked my doctor immediately after my delivery, was- 'When can I breastfeed both my kids?’ ‘FAQ on breastfeeding- When should my baby get her first breastfeed?'. Amused and amazed at my enthusiasm, she smirkingly replied, 'Go now, if you can, silly girl! Regain your strength first, you have just had a C-Section.'
My kids spent their initial days in NICU because of low birth weight. They were provided with formula milk for a day. On the second day, I tried to breastfeed them, my very first experience involved pain, anxiety and nervousness. To my dismay, I didn't lactate much. My doctor advised me to be patient and stress free.
I started lactating properly on the fifth day. However, my supply couldn't cater to the demands of two kids and so I had to continue supplementing it with formula. I resorted to various galactogogues and other home remedies to improve lactation. Continuous feeding sessions also helped in boosting my supply. The more I fed, the more I produced.
But soon I came to the realization that breastfeeding two kids is not a cakewalk. Through the first month of their birth, all I was doing was juggling between the two babies. Feeding them one after the other would leave me totally drained out. I experimented with various nursing positions. Sometimes I would try a football hold, sometimes cradle. At times, I would even try taking the two of them together. But nothing could save me from the excruciating back and neck pain.
It was in their second month when my doctor recommended me to start expressing milk. So while I directly breastfed them three to four times a day, I delegated the task of bottle feeding them to other members of my family. That way I could catch some rest while my kids got to bond with everyone else.
By the time kids turned four months, their feeds were more spaced out. They did not require to be fed every three hours. So I got my chance to reduce the numbers of bottles and increase the direct feeding sessions. By six months, my kids had bid adieu to bottles, and were back to exclusive breastfeeding along with semi solid food. In most cases, babies are first breastfed and then gradually weaned off to bottles, but in my case it was just the opposite.
Just like any journey , mine too had its highs and lows. I had my days of engorgements and low supply and even suffered from sore nipples and mastitis. There also came a time when one of my kids faced nipple confusion and refused to be fed at all. However, I didn't give up on her and patiently continued. Right nutrition, support and motivation from my family along with my own mental strength and dedication, helped me to sail through it all.
My twins are eight months old now. Our breastfeeding sessions are less to satiate hunger and more to bond and comfort each other. I enjoy their little antics while feeding. When fed together, they hold each other's hand and at times even pull each other's ears. When fed individually, they play with my hair while I make funny faces for them. I still suffer from back pain. I still crave for my share of sleep through the night. But nothing beats the bliss, I experience when my kids snuggle in my bosom for love and warmth. Hence, I don't want to stop anytime soon. I plan to continue with this journey for as long as I can.
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