Breastfeeding: My Route, My Journey!

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Author: Astha Deo

Maa ka doodh nahi piya Kya”, “Maa ka doodh piya Hai toh bahar aa”… This kind of dialogues resonated in Indian Cinema halls and Bollywood lovers ears many times. Sounds funny but what is breastfeed, that watery milk, how can it be better than Cow’s milk or formula!

In Indian culture, where a mother is treated as God, mother’s milk or breastfeed is equal to Elixir. In fact, mother shaming on the name of breastfeeding is so common. Still, the question is, just to follow the culture & tradition, should every mother breastfeed. In the age of shining commercials, where baby food, formulas are projected as a superfood, which can make a child super child (all rant about stronger, taller, sharper etc.!!!), how to trust breastfeed, which quality and quantity cannot be measured. So, being a mother of two, I have a chance to feed two different types of babies… here are the challenges, I faced during this:

Beginning of Breastfeeding: The kickstart!

Breastfeeding
“Breastfeeding.”

I went to the maternity hospital, for delivering my firstborn. I had a session of breastfeeding too. My inner voice told me that I have to do it, I have no negative thoughts. As soon as she arrived, after cleaning, I tried to latch her and it happened so naturally. It had its own obstacles, like low supply and she gets distracted easily. But still, I felt content with it! The second time, I was the overconfident one. Tried and tried again. But the little stubborn one drifts to sleep most of the times. I had invested loads of patience to make him learn to take feed. Gradually we got into a routine.

Kuch toh log kahenge

Kuch to Log Kahenge
“There is no substitute for mother’s milk.”

My first born was a chubby baby and the second one had a petite body. The first one has low immunity all credits to her tonsils and the second one has weak digestion. So, I keep getting suggestions about giving elder one honey, kadha etc… that also, when she was not even 6 months. But both the times I EBF (exclusively breastfeed) till six months, very religiously. With the second one, things were worse, he looks thin and food deprived to everyone except his pediatrician, who insisted to continue breastfeeding. Otherwise, I heard so many comments from n number of people, which includes strangers too. Those were like my milk is not enough/ not healthy enough/not fatty enough/NOT GOOD ENOUGH. That’s it, I ignored it continued with my feeding sessions.

Is it enough?

Until 6 months, when I was EBFing. I have doubted my supply quite often. I wondered, Is his tummy full or not? Am I nursing him enough or not? He is getting enough or not? After the petite little one, it was my biggest worry. The only person I trusted was his pediatrician. He made me understand, how poop and pee count show me proper supply. Weight and height chart can also show proper growth in babies. If my baby is active and achieving all his milestones on time, I should not doubt about it.

Happy mom, happy child

Happy Mom Happy Child
“Breastfeeding is nature’s health plan.”

Stress affects our mental as well as physical health. It affects our hormone and so our supply. Eating well and eating well is the biggest prerequisite to feed but having a good time with your baby is also a must. Those cuddles, those hugs works wonder with your emotions from day 1 & so with your hormones. May your hands are full, your house is messy, your work is not going well, just cuddle the little one, hmm little for him, see those twinkle in little eyes, let him hold your finger and see how it affects your mood magically. Being happy with them, helped me a lot in feeding. I never have negative thoughts about feeding.

Kahin bhi, Kabhi bhi

Public feeding, different women have a different opinion about it. Some had rude experiences too and some are not ready to accept it as a private thing because it’s feeding. I had a middle approach about it, as we traveled a lot with both the babies. I have to feed him at public places like airport, restaurants, malls etc. I am happier to say that most of the places have baby care rooms. So, we got a comfortable place to feed. While flight takeoff and landing breastfeeding always protect my little ones from ear pain and other discomforts. I do have my share of preparation for it. A feeding bib, a couple of washcloths, burping blanket and much more.

Weaning: Where is the full stop!

Different mom, different perceptions… WHO prescribes 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and till 3 years with food? Though in India, pediatricians prescribe till 2 years only. But I believe, it’s absolutely mother’s choice. When to wean, when not to wean. Of course, 6months of exclusive feeding is a life saver but again it’s a personal choice. But setting a routine is a must, so the dental care because teeth are the one who gets affected if not cared properly while breastfeeding.

It takes a village to raise a child

It takes a village to raise a child
“Mother’s milk, time-tested for millions of years, is the best nutrient for babies because it is nature’s perfect food.”

Feeding looks like mommy’s job but, it is not. In both the times, their father burped them after every feed and makes them sleep. So, I can relax after that. Baby’s Nani and Dadi, tried all tried and tasted recipes to increase supply. My maid waits outside for her work, so the baby won’t get distracted and leave feed in between. My cook cooked healthy yet tasty food to give me proper strength. My elder one kept quiet and played alone when I was feeding (I feel so guilty!!!). My neighbor, who engaged my kids and offered me a glass of water, so, I can relax for a while. Its true kids have not raised alone but by a village or say a close circle of family and friends who keep embracing you with their positivity and good thoughts. That helps a lot to a lactating mom. I was really lucky to have that support.

That’s all about my breastfeeding journey; it has its own ups and downs. But one thing was always there, it was a fulfilling experience. This breastfeeding week, I want every lactating mom to be confident & everyone in her close circle to be empathetic towards her, after all raising a kid is not easy, ask your mommy😃!!
Happy Feeding, Happy Rising… it’s all about being happy!

For World Breast Feeding Week 2017, we have a special blog contribution from Astha Deo. We thank her for taking time out for writing this beautiful piece.

About the Author: Astha is a former employee of AllizHealth but a permanent member of AllizHealth family. A software testing engineer by profession, she handles her work and family like a well-trained juggler. She has a passion for writing about various health topics and about motherhood and has con.

Important Links –
When to see a Gynecologist?
Motherhood Joy or Postpartum Depression?
Monitor your toddler’s growth using Child Growth Charts
Childhood Obesity in India – AllizHealth Study
General Diet Plan

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