Breastfeeding – Because it is beautiful!

Any person who has ever been a parent will definitely know what is breastfeeding. There are so many myths & tips on the do’s and don’ts, methods to boost supply – few according to the old wives tale, few as per the modern science. But ask a mother how it was, she will always say that it had been a roller coaster ride. For some it is such a sweet and memorable experience, that given a chance they are ready to experience it again. But unfortunately, for some it is a very bitter experience due to many a reasons like less or no supply, engorged breasts, sore nipples, mastitis, a poor latch, etc.

So, here is the Chapter 2  B: Breastfeeding – Because it is beautiful!  from the pages of my real life experiences.

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After a long labor of more than 6 hours, the little bundle of joy was born in the wee hours of night, just 6 minutes prior to Diwali. I was all drained up physically but emotionally my antennas were still standing strong. I wanted to cuddle my baby, play with him and look at his innocent lovely face. I had read about breastfeeding – they said it is natural and the miracle happens in a blink of eye (I really don’t remember where I read such a goody thing!) and I was actually carefree about it. Maybe that is the best part about being a first time mom – there is a lot of positivity and confidence, a naive approach that ‘let us learn it in the practical way rather than too much research’ (atleast I believed in that). I didn’t want to be petrified or die with anticipation, so I didn’t bother to read much during my pregnancy.

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THE FIRST FEED:
Now after being shifted to the private ward to get the much needed sleep, a sister barges in and pinches my nipple. And for the first time, I experience the warm flow that gushes out of my body. I get goosebumps, I get scared, I get elated that I have a supply. And then the nurse announces ‘YOU HAVE MILK – LOTS! NOW FEED YOUR BABY’. Saying this she goes out and comes unannounced once again and hands over my baby to me. I am clueless on how to hold him, forget the feeding part. She understands it, rants something under her breath and helps me to hold him. Now she helps in positioning the baby and says, ‘FEED’. Once again, I am clueless – how can I feed, the baby is supposed to suck in, but he is not. The website said, it is natural for the baby to latch, but mine doesn’t even try, but is sleeping peacefully! I try for full 10 minutes to wake him up, but he does’t even bat an eyelid. The nurse shoves my nipple in the baby’s mouth in a hope that he starts to suck, but then seeing no reaction from him, the nurse squeezes my breast to give him the taste of the milk. To my joy, he gulps it in! So I try to squeeze more milk into his tiny mouth as he keeps on gulping. And then suddenly, the nurse says switch to the other side and the entire process repeats.

My first feed is such a mixed bag of emotions – I felt overwhelmed, joyous, proud and then rejected that the little one is not sucking in, a sense of dismay and worry creeped in too! And to add to my agony the nurse says, ‘You don’t seem to have the right set of  nipples, you will have to use a NIPPLE SHIELD!’

NIPPLE SHIELD:
Now, I had never ever heard the word nipple shield! Soon it was morning and I was relieved to see my proud hubby dressed up in a new attire celebrating fatherhood and Diwali. I told him about nipple shield and thanks to Google, I now knew how a nipple shield looked like. My hubby immediately fetched it for me and now this nipple shaped silicon aided me in feeding the little one. It had the perfect nipple shape and the perfect circular base in the shape of areola, that even the perfect women must have lacked. But then, the nipple shield was my savior now, my baby doesn’t stay hungry or need to formula milk. And now, I was both happy to feed and disappointed that the baby couldn’t latch on to me. Soon the friends, relatives and family members came to visit us and the women whom I was close with wondered and each tried their best to help my baby latch, but failed at their attempts.

SHORT SUPPLY:
Now cut to a week after the discharge, I was still nursing my baby through the shield and my latching efforts went down the drain. I was mentally exhausted, sleep deprivation killed me and few other personal instances disturbed me even more and all this directly affected my supply of milk. Now, I had to rely on the Ayurvedic kadas, shatavari supplements and few other capsules to boost my milk supply. I was emotionally helpless but very adamant that I won’t give him formula feed because I wanted to fill him with all the best nutrients present in breast-milk. I had pestered and prayed to the Almighty, to all the forces I knew to help me with the supply.

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AND THE LATCH:
One afternoon amidst all the struggles, I had a silver lining in the form of an aunt, who used to massage me when I was pregnant. She had come to see the baby, and one look at him she knew that he was not fed enough. She saw me using the NIPPLE SHIELD and she went berserk.She told me not to feed him through the shield and it was okay if he cries his lungs out. Being a mother, my soul was broken into many pieces seeing my baby cry with hunger, but if it was not for persistence and support, I would have still continued with the Nipple Shield. And to my surprise the extremely hungry latched on to me. Initially, it was only the right side of the breast and we both struggled with the left. But, in a day, the little one picked up the knack to latch on the left side and I was sorted for the rest of the period.

THE PERIOD:
My breastfeeding lasted until Ayaansh was 2 years and I am immensely proud of it. My baby was healthy from within. His weight and other parameters were excellent. The two years I had with him, while he clinged to my breasts at all possible positions, given at any time of the day is still precious to me. We played as he fed, I sang rhymes and lullabies. I absolutely had no hurry to wean him off, but unfortunately I had to be hospitalized for an health issue and had to draw an end to the feeding. Now, if someone asks me whether am I ready to go through the process again, my answer would be a BIG YES. I SHALL BREASTFEED MY BABY TILL THE TIME HE NEEDS ME.

This post is written for #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge hosted by the @Blogchatter Community. The above post is my contribution for the Day 2 of #blogchatterA2Zchallenge starting with the letter B. You can finad all 26 posts on ‘A TO Z OF PARENTING ESSENTIALS’ under the hashtag #themummastartupwritesa2z in Facebook Instagram and Twitter