Can't Feed Your Baby?
Photo by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash
Motherhood is no doubt a life changing moment from the time you get the good news but as we all know, it comes with a lot of challenges and as the title suggests, I guess statements like this or similar to this have been heard by a lot of new mommies like me. I am a mom to a nine-month-old baby and I couldn’t feed, breastfeed my little one for a single day from the time of his birth till now. This blog is about the struggles and societal pressures that I faced with an intention to help would be mommies to not succumb to these pressures.
I had an emergency C section delivery since my water broke and I started having convulsions, so the nurses said that it normally takes seventy two hours before one starts producing milk and to wait for two days at least before starting to feed. I still now remember how excited I was, thinking of holding my little one close to me and feed him, so much so that I had already bought feeding bras, feeding pillow, dresses prior to my delivery. And then the day came, the nurses brought him to me and tried to latch him to my breast but alas! He couldn’t. They said it is perfectly okay since some babies do take time to latch but I should not give up trying.
- INITIAL PROBLEMS:
I didn’t realise even at that time also what was awaiting for me next. After several failed attempts the Lactation expert said that my nipple was too small and that’s why baby was not being able to latch properly. Then started those extremely painful exercises of elongating the nipples, massage, trying to pump, I got high fever due to all of these along with the stress that I was not being able to breastfeed my baby. The final cherry on the cake was when on the 5th day of returning from the hospital, we had to rush him to the hospital again at 12.45 A.M since he was continuously crying for more than two hours and not even medications of colic also gave him any relief. He had to be hospitalized for that night and put on saline. I hope this entire paragraph is summing up the mental trauma along with the physical exhaustion of a delivery that I had to go through within one week of being a mommy. And I believe all the moms would be able to relate to it and understand how I felt during that time.
- SECONDARY?? MAIN PROBLEMS:
The problems mentioned above were the immediate ones that came up without any prior notice or invitation, the later and most discouraging ones were coming up next. Slowly people (relatives and neighbors) who visited in the name of seeing the new born but actually came with unwanted advices started shaming me. Here, let me say a few things first. After the initial days I started taking medicines both Allopath and Homeopathy, beverages, all types of cultural homemade remedies to increase my milk supply, tried pumping after every two hours but nothing worked. The result was my breasts becoming red, hot and swollen due to excessive pumping, nipples becoming so sore that my inners stuck to the skin, despite several attempts I could not pump more than 60ml milk, none of the Formulas suiting my baby and every other day he is crying either from Colic or Constipation.
But, nobody except for my parents and husband bothered to ask me how I was feeling after the delivery or at least after being a mom, rather they continuously came up with lectures on benefits of breast feeding, how it is more feasible and cost friendly, how I can try other methods and I should keep on trying more, I should always cling on to my baby otherwise he wouldn’t be more attached to me since he is not feeding etc. And one fine day, one of my aunts from the in –laws side finally said – “You can’t feed your baby, it is your fault. you are not trying enough, in fact just because your body shape does not get disrupted you are giving up, this will just result in a weak bonding between your baby and you, and on that day you will realize how important our advices were and repent.”
Yes, these were the exact words which she said to a new mom who was already tired, devastated due to her baby’s regular colic problems, desperately trying to feed her baby and finding remedies so that her little one gets a bit of relief and yet in the eyes of the society failing miserably. I really wonder how can people be so in-sensitive? I understand some were genuinely concerned and also, I am well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding but what to do if your body cannot produce milk?
Start hating yourself or suffer from a continuous guilt like I used to? NO! It’s a shout out to all the mommies here that please do NOT let yourselves get affected so much that you sink into depression and it affects both you and your baby. New mommies or would be mommies get lots of advices some wanted some unwanted but it is only YOU who will decide which ones to take in and which not.
I am indebted to two males in my life, my father and husband, for making me realise this thing that nobody cares and loves more for a child than its mom and only the mom knows what is best for her child, so never give in to what others will say or think, remember it’s your baby, a mom and baby’s attachment is universal, no external source can weaken it.
And it was from that day that I started focusing on the other most important issue that is, which Formula would suit my baby and how is he keeping, my father told me to not give up on trying but not to entirely focus on that. He said; try to focus on what is there in your control and not on something that is not happening. I tried different methods for the first two months and then miraculously one brand suited my baby and he stopped being colicky and extremely constipated.
Honestly, my body had given up a lot earlier, it was my mental strength with which I was fighting but again when both my husband and Pediatrician said that lots of babies are Formula fed, it is absolutely fine as long as your baby is healthy and playful, I completely shifted my focus to my baby and spending more time with him which I could not do in the initial two months being extremely engrossed in trying to dig liquid gold.
I want to conclude with the saying that the ultimate gold is a healthy happy baby and nothing else, so even if you are not able to breastfeed your little one or choose not to, don’t be regretful or ashamed of it, firstly it is ultimately your body and thus your choice and secondly, once again I am repeating, remember you are the mom and only you will understand what is best for your baby.
So please DO NOT REPEAT my mistake and go through the mental trauma which I went through, be very strong despite that time you being very vulnerable and emotional because ultimately it is your own fight, not everyone is lucky to have someone to understand their pain and struggle. I invited the pressure on myself and this is a very personal testimony that I have penned down here, I want all the mommies to spend beautiful moments with their little bundles of joy as these moments never come back and all you will be left with either these good memories or regret like me that I could not give enough time to my baby for the first two months.
And yet today here I am, a happy mommy to an equally happy, healthy and playful nine moth old baby who still now drinks Formula Milk only. Cheers to motherhood!
Ankita Dutta is a PhD Scholar, Bengali Content Creator in YouTube, professional singer and a new mommy. She talks about issues relate to Pregnancy, Child Care and Mental Health in her channel to help out all the new and would be mommies so that their journey of motherhood is a smooth one.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.