So last week was breastfeeding week. There were so many beautiful stories… experiences… and I thought perhaps it is high time that I finally write about my experience which I had been wanting to since long…
Breastfeeding is perhaps the most precious bond you had share with your little one. While I was pregnant I always did know that I would breastfeed my baby but never bothered to read about it and also my idea of feeding was much much different than what it is now.
I was very lucky that some days after my delivery I got introduced to a group on facebook…. Breastfeeding support for Indian women. That perhaps was the turning point in our breastfeeding journey.
After a cesarean delivery sadly nobody got my baby for immediate skin to skin and latching. The importance of doing this is something I learnt only much later. It helps stimulate the milk production glands. Because of my lack of knowledge I did not even insist and it was only almost 24 hours later that we had our first latch.
I shall never forget that first latch. It was so beautiful, the moment she was placed on my breast she latched like a pro without any difficulty. So perhaps the success of our journey also lies on my girl. She never created any difficulties for me was very demanding and had a good appetite. The difficulties were only because of my lack of knowledge and also my physical discomfort because of the cesarean. And my lack of knowledge and little bit of wrong influence made me take the easy way around formula feeding.
During this time perhaps it was my mother in law who encoraged me to feed as much as I can. Perhaps had it not been for her insistence I would have moved more to formula.
Formula of course got started in hospital itself. The baby instead of having been brought to me was sadly given formula feed since I had been operated upon. I think it is very important to be well aware of importance of feeding… early latching… skin to skin. Had I known all this I would have not let formula be given to her. So maybe cause formula makes the baby feel more full she got used to that feeling and would cry even after feeding for an hour. Also what I did not know was that babies in those early months feed for long hours at stretch. So I had feel that maybe my feed is not enough for her.
And then we had pain in stitches and lower back post operation. Again I should have studied the various feeding positions. Feeding while lying could have come to great rescue.
One must read about breastfeeding in their pregnancy. It is simple and yet not so simple. There are challenges especially if you have been through a cesarean. Also it is a very demanding task. Most new moms tend to get tired and frustrated in those long early month feedings and move to formula. A little knowledge takes you a long way. It is surely tough in the beginning but it comes to a very beautiful feeling as the baby grows. Had it not been for the motivation I was wanting to start solids early and perhaps leave feeding by 6 months or at most a year. But today if you ask me it is the most beautiful feeling and I would love to continue till she decides to wean…. the only challenge being her about to appear new set of teeth.
So anyways we continued breastfeeding in the first month with a few top feeds here and there so I could rest a little longer. Around the second month I came across this beautiful group called breastfeeding support for Indian Moms. Of course I had no issues as such but the posts and information posted on this group was very strong motivation. Came across many mom’s who went through so many difficulties to feed their babies. It made me understand the importance of breastmilk and why it is rightly called the liquid gold.
In the same group I came to know of various positions to feed. Lying down and feeding is perhaps the best way to feed. But I was always very skeptical as the baby is so tiny. But with the support of this group and some you tube videos I mastered this as well. Feeding while lying helps feed for longer periods and helps mom and baby both sleep better. Around the same time hubby went away and I was all by myself for almost 10 days. Nursing while lying down was a saviour. She would feed and sleep and it was easy to slip away.
In the beginning I would only feed while lying during day as at night I was worried I had doze off. But as Ms M got stronger and bigger I managed to feed lying down at night. And today at 8.5 months that is such a blessing as my sleep is not disturbed at all.
So we all know of the physical benefits of breastmilk. But nursing has much more to it… it helps baby sleep better. Also it is supposed to help a mom sleep better because of certain hormones released while feeding. It is best solutiin for all falls and bumps. No matter how cranky she is nursing helps her calm. Also breastmilk has awesome healing properties. We had a wasp bite n the swelling n redness subsided almost immediately on application of breastmilk. And yes nursing helps you accomplish difficult tasks with ease like cutting her nails 😜. How efficiently you can use this magic wand of course is entirely your skill.
Like I said earlier I use to think I had nurse for 6 months or maximum an year. But the group made me understand the many benefits of nursing a toddler. Self weaning was not something I heard of before. I only knew of mothers adapting strict methods to help their babies wean.
As per WHO baby must be exclusively breastfed for first six months. One year the main diet should be breastmilk. Solids must be introduced around six months when baby can sit but solids must not replace any nursing session. WHO recommends feeding beyond one year and beyond if it suits both mom and baby.
These are the many many benefits of feeding a toddler. Also toddlers are prone to infections and there is no immunity builder like the breastmilk. Moreover there are many food strikes due to growth spurts, teething etc and in such times breastmilk is truly liquid gold.
The baby must be weaned only when the mom feels the need or when the baby self weans. Do not wean the baby because the world tells you that your milk is not good enough. For a human baby mothers milk is undoubtedly the best. No cow buffalo goat can replace the nourishment of breastmilk. And yes contrary to what people say babies do wean themselves. Noone would survive on breastmilk even as an adult. But yes even if you decide to wean a gentle approach to weaning must be taken. Applying medication or bad tasting products to wean a baby is cruel… taking away a child’s source of nourishment and comfort. Please do read about these gentle weaning methods on internet. I have yet not crossed that stage and am yet to gain knowledge. But when I do I shall surely share my weaning story. But now is not the time to even think about it for now I am loving this beautiful relationship we share. Loving that gorgeous smile when she stops feeding and looks into my eyes. Loving those hugs while sleeping. Loving every moment of it.
To new moms… please stay strong…. the start is challenging but the rewards are beautiful. Do not give up…. 🙂 I shall also try and put together some tips for new moms which I happened ro have learned along the way