My Breastfeeding Journey
Motherhood is one of the most beautiful blessings in a woman's life. I discovered a new ‘me' right from the time I came to know I had conceived. Life has changed completely since then. But the ‘new me' is more amazing with all the strength, power and the sea of love that motherhood has generated within me. My experience of breastfeeding has contributed immensely to becoming a wonderful, strong and happy mother and I will share all about it in this blog.
The beginning of the journey
During the first trimester of my pregnancy, I started reading about breastfeeding, and was amazed by the benefits. However, I had my doubts whether I would be able to breastfeed. After I delivered my baby through a caesarean section, within half an hour, I breastfed her. Fortunately, my baby latched on well right at the first instance. I kept feeding her every hour for the next few days. I was guided very well by the nurses at the hospital. Since I had enough milk supply, I did not feed formula to my baby. She was solely breastfed for the first six months. No other liquid was allowed to be given during this period.
Transitioning to solids
After six months, I started giving my little one water, juice, lentil soup and fruits and vegetable pulps. This was supplemented by breastfeeding. By the next month, I eventually introduced the solids, while still continuing to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding beyond the first year
I breastfed my baby besides giving her all kinds of food that we ate at home. After she turned eighteen months old, I reduced the feeds to only night feed, and gave her more of the solid food. Now we are trying to wean her off slowly from the night feed too. But I am not in a hurry, I believe that this transition should be slow and easy for both my child and me.
The myriad benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has had immense benefits for me. It is absolutely true that breastfed babies are immune to infections. They fall sick less often and even when they do, they recover quickly.
Breastfeeding helped me bond with my little one right from the time she had her first feed. I had gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, and thanks to breastfeeding, it helped me get rid of all that weight quite easily.
Breastfeeding during the pandemic
The COVID 19 pandemic hit the world around the time that my daughter was five months old. It left me panicking over the uncertain virus, specially when the first wave hit our country. However, my paediatrician assured me that even if I get infected, I should continue breastfeeding my baby, so that she develops antibodies. Also when I had initial doubts about the vaccine, she assured me that when lactating women are vaccinated, their breastmilk was supposed to develop antibodies against the virus. So, I got myself vaccinated right at the first opportunity I got.
Tips for new mother
It is very important to educate yourself about breastfeeding right from your pregnancy. If you have any doubt or queries, always consult your doctor. Lactating mothers need to eat adequate healthy meals that are essentially high in protein. Breastmilk has immense health benefits for the baby and the mother. But it is not easy at all, it requires time, patience, consistent effort and lots of energy. And that in turn raises the need for care and support for the new mother. Ensure that you have a good team support in the form of your partner and family. Here are some beautiful tips for new moms or moms to be.
Afterthoughts on the journey
I do not know how much of long-term health benefits my daughter will have from our breastfeeding journey, but for me, it was a lovely part of my experience as a mother. How was your breastfeeding journey? What are the benefits that you have reaped through this journey? What are your thoughts about breastfeeding a child beyond the age of one?
Disclaimer: This blog post is not against formula feeding. I just wanted to share my personal breastfeeding journey. Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula- feed your baby, or use a combination of both, is entirely your choice, and all that matters is that your baby is fed, happy and healthy.
Anindita Ganguly has a doctorate in English Literature. Her research area is Women's theatre. She has worked as a writer and editor in several publishing houses over the last decade. A voracious reader who loves doodling and is passionate about music, gardening and movies.