Before I conceived my baby, I had zero knowledge on anything to do with pregnancy or parenting! I had seen my cousin giving her daughter formula milk when she was around 2 months old. So, I thought that giving formula is compulsory as this is how a child will get his milk requirement! But as they say, yu get trained only on the job!
As a mom-to-be, I enrolled myself for pre-natal classes and learnt that a baby should be breastfed exclusively for first 6 months and atleast for a year. Moreover, if we breastfeed our child for 2 years, the child gets 200% immunity. This stayed in my mind. I resolved that I will definitely try to breastfeed for a year atleast. Back then, I didn’t really know how would this work out for me.
I delivered my baby through C-section in September 2012. I knew I had to give him the first drops of milk called colostrum. I ensured I gave him that.
New born babies tend to cry a lot. People usually attribute it to being hungry and assume that either the milk is not enough or they don’t know how to latch. This leads to lot of anxiety and feeling of guilt in new moms. In my case, the hospital staff was very friendly and guided me well to start this entire feeding process. My child would cry a lot and I too felt that he probably is hungry but they are so tiny at that time, they barely need a lot of milk. We must explore other causes like too much heat, cold, colic, etc. Overfeeding the baby is also not correct.
I remember when I was getting discharged on the 3rd day, my doctor told my family that I was not yet prepared to handle the breastfeeding process and that I will face issues, but my family wanted me home (it was my husband’s birthday the next day)! So, I got discharged on that Sunday and that was one of the worst days. My son wouldn’t stop to cry leading me to panic. I just didn’t know what to do and how. I felt I won’t be able to feed him at all. We ordered formula milk immediately and gave him few sips of it. What really happened here was that I “gave in” due to the stress and family pressure, trying to prove to be a good mom (right from initial first week), I simply gave up!
I went to a lactation consultant the very next day with my baby and his nanny! She examined and said there was absolutely no problem. She guided me on how to help the baby latch. Since then, there was no looking back! I never ever had to give him formula milk. When D turned one, he had a fall injuring his mouth badly. That was the only time when we had to stop breastfeeding as he couldn’t take it. Infact, I almost thought that this was the end of our breastfeeding journey, but he got over it soon and needed more to recover faster!
My advice to new moms is that firstly, be confident. Your child is as new to this as you are. Do not give in to pressure. Nobody learns it on day one. Take help of your doctor or a lactation consultant or other mommy friends. Secondly, if your baby is urinating enough number of times, he is getting enough milk. Please don’t assume that it is less and start taking supplements or other drugs to increase milk supply. Thirdly, when you are breastfeeding, you can really eat and drink whatever you like (home cooked healthy food). I had no restrictions except for higher liquid intake.
Another issue is that of privacy while feeding. Some mothers find it difficult to nurse their babies when they are not at home. When you are on the move, you can always cover up and feed. I have nursed my child in flights, trains, airports, washrooms & many other random places! Yes, if it is required, simply do it.
I nursed my child till he was 23 months old! Well, I didn’t intend to do for this long. Infact, his pediatrician asked me to stop it 6 months earlier. My son would only want me all the time and this was his way of being with me. When you cannot breastfeed, people will look down upon you and if you over do it (as per them), they will remark – “Why don’t you wean!”. So, let the world be. Go with your gut and what is best for baby.
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