Hi, I am Rachna, a mum. Like a pen for a writer, so is breastfeeding for a mother. Yes! The greatest weapon of a mother to make her baby survive, stay healthy and grow. Its benefits are multidimensional, but sadly, even the most experienced mothers may find it difficult to breastfeed their brand new baby. Babies know to suck, but not how to feed on a breast, due to which the mother may have to suffer from pain, hardness or even sore breasts. But, even if education and exposure is available, most of this is hardly discussed ,as breastfeeding is more of a private affair, or mothers are either shy or embarrassed to discuss the issue, (even with their own mothers). I would say nothing is more important than the well being of your newborn. So, mothers should no longer feel shy or embarrassed about breastfeeding and anything related to it, instead should seek help and reach out.
When I learnt about my pregnancy, I was hell bent to exclusively breast feed for the first 06 months. Due to my medical condition, my C – section was planned well in advance. I had discussed with my doctor that I would like to breastfeed immediately and therefore didn’t want any medicines like pain killers, sedatives etc. I had asked the neonatalogist and pediatricians not to feed my baby with lactogen or any other product (not even water) and had requested them not to bottle feed at any cost. This meant that the sole responsibility was in my hand and breastfeeding was the only survival mode.
When I first got my little bundle of joy in my arms, it was not very easy to get started, as my baby was tiny and it was difficult to even hold the baby. To help my baby reach I had to use pillow. I didn’t have a feeding pillow then, but later I bought one and it really proved to be useful. I very well that the feed of the first 3 days was immunity for life. Breast milk on the first 3 days is very rich in antibodies and provides immunity from all bacterial infections. Newborns know how to suck naturally but it takes them time to latch on properly. Moreover, the moment they are on the breast they doze off to sleep. Initially, I used to worry about my baby sleeping off the moment I nursed her, later I realized it was perfectly normal.
My doctor didn’t guide me much about nursing. It was more of a natural process and got better with practice. Due to C-section, I was asked to feed in a side lying position, but from the 2nd day I used cradle-hold position. When my baby was sick or vaccinated, the positions changed as per need. Ultimately it depends on the mother and her baby what position they are most comfortable in.
Newborns have a very tiny stomach, so they feed a little every now and then. I had to nurse my baby round the clock. During the 1st two weeks I was busy admiring, adoring and adorning my baby. I was really exhausted and sleepless as I had to wake up every one hour in the night to nurse. Later on, I found a trick – to sleep when your baby is asleep and stay awake when your baby is awake. This gave me some much needed rest.
I chose to exclusively breastfeed and was worried about weight gain. The trick was to feed 2-3 times on one side , then change sides. In this way baby gets both fore milk and hind milk. Fore milk is thin, clear, watery and rich in antibodies, vitamins, proteins etc. Hind milk is thicker and white and is mainly fat. Babies need fat for their brain development in the first 2 years of their life.
I exclusively breastfed up to six months (not even water), after which I introduced water and other food. It is important to gradually replace breast milk with other food after 6 months. With time and practice, nursing will be a memorable moment for both mother and baby.
For me, motherhood is the best thing that ever happened!