It’s Breastfeeding Week!
This is week is celebrated from 1st to 7th of August every year. Why do we celebrate this week?
The whole concept of it is to spread the awareness of breastfeeding and to improve the health of babies around the world. Breastfeeding isn't only good for your baby but it decreases the risk of mother’s developing ovarian cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes.
But in my case, things didn’t go as per plan! If I felt my pregnancy was hard, breastfeeding was even worse.
The first time I breastfed my little bundle of joy I was a mixture of so many emotions.I was apprehensive and happy at the same time. So many questions kept popping up in my head. Has she latched properly, is she even drinking, how do I burp her, am I doing it correctly, how do I hold her, how do I sit????? For a new mother, breastfeeding can be very stressful at times.
The next day I had a lactation consultant come and visit me in my room. She taught me how to breastfeed properly. So it was alright I guess after that. I also got a lot of advice from my gang of women advisors back home. =)
So, for about a month, everything went smoothly in the breastfeeding department. My MIL made it very clear from the beginning. She said “give one top feed/formula feed everyday to your baby”. This was because it gives the mother a chance to get some rest and sleep as formula milk is said to be heavier than breast milk so your baby’s tummy is full for a longer period of time as it takes longer to digest. I usually used to give her one top feed at night. So it used to pull us through a longer period of time.
The next month I had to undergo surgery for my fissure and piles. I left Reya with MIL and bhabi. She was obviously going to be bottle fed the entire time. I used a manual breast pump to extract as much milk as I could but obviously they filled up again. So, during my entire hospital stay I pumped milk. I accidentally even used an electric breast pump. Little did I know I was making a huge mistake.
The next morning post surgery my breasts engorged. I was desperately waiting to go home and feed Reya. I was in a lot of pain. Breastfeeding Reya was even harder. I had a word with my gynaecologist. She told me to hang in there and manually extract the milk from my breasts.
Eventually as time went by they got better. But it kept happening again and again. I never used any breast pumps. I only manually extracted the milk when I had to. Finally one morning I just broke down. I couldn't feed my baby any longer because I was in so much pain. I told Nishant to make a top feed for Reya and take her to her Dadi. I then got ready and went to see my gynaecologist. She told me to stop breastfeeding.
My whole family supported this decision. But I was still apprehensive about it. My MIL and bhabi then guided me and told me that there are so many mothers out there who don’t even lactate. Many babies grow up on formula milk.
It was confirmed.
I gave up breastfeeding.
For seven days I couldn't hold or carry my daughter because my breasts were so tight and painful. MIL slept with me and helped with Reya and took care of everything else. Unfortunately, Bhabhi had gone for a vacation at that time. How I missed her.
After few days things got better. I felt I was finally back to normal. It took me two and a half months to recover post delivery. Reya grew up just fine without breast milk.
The thought of breastfeeding still makes me shudder. A salute to all the mothers who breastfeed their babies. For some it’s really really easy. But in my case it was a nightmare.
At the end, don’t feel guilty if you breastfeed or you don’t. It doesn’t matter! All you have to do is play your part as a mother. Look after them, feed them well, take care of them and yourself. Because without you, they are lost. Do what is best for you and your baby. You both are in this together.
You got this!