My Breast Feeding Journey & Tips For New Moms
I delivered my baby girl via Cesarean on 16th june 2020 and immediately latched her on the OT table itself as I firmly believed in the ‘golden hour’ and wished to give the colostrum as early as possible to my baby.
When we were shifted to the ward I continued feeding my bundle of joy every two hours and on demand. The milk supply was low and the suck was poor but I did not stop and continued feeding my girl. Being a healthcare professional and a second time mom I was very confident that I will exclusively breastfeed my baby. I still remember,… I used to sit all night feeding my little girl in the hospital, as I knew that initially the supply would be low however the more one feeds, the more is the milk production. On day 4 we were discharged and we went home. The breastfeeding journey continued.
On day 7, I felt that the baby was looking pale, her eyes were yellowish and she passed yellowish urine too. It alarmed me of neonatal jaundice. We took the baby to the pediatrician. Her bilirubin count had increased to 16. COVID being at its peak, we were not admitted to the hospital and were advised to frequently breast feed. When I came home I received multiple unsolicited advice of giving formula milk to the baby, people saying my feed was not enough which shook me to an extent, however I did not give up and continued to breastfeed. At times when I felt that she was getting tired of latching on for long hours, I would express and then feed her with a spoon. We got her bilirubin test done after 2 days and to my relief, the level had come down to 12.
I had to join the back office when my baby was 7 months old. Her weaning had already started by then. Due to the pandemic crisis, my duty hours suddenly got longer and more rigorous, clubbed with night duties, for which, neither me nor my baby were prepared. Going back to work at night to the hospital full of covid positive patients, leaving her at home was so traumatic for me. My breasts used to be so full, I used to change the scrub and used to express milk and throw it with a heavy heart due to the fear of COVID all around.
Many-a-times I thought of introducing formula milk, but somehow the mother’s instinct never let me do that. I would pump and express milk at home during daytime and used to store it for my husband to feed the baby. The initial days after joining office were really tough with sleepless nights and days, but gradually adjusted to it and happily continued feeding. There had been days which were very hectic and I was not able to pump so I did have a backup of formula feed to give her so that she doesn't starve and her nutritional requirements were fulfilled. I continued breastfeeding her till she completed 2 years.
PS for new moms and moms to be:
- BREASTFEEDING IS HARD BUT THE OUTCOME IS GOLD!
- Babies are born with sucking and rooting reflexes but breastfeeding is a process which mother and baby both have to learn in their own ways.
- Breastfeeding must be initiated, and continued even if the supply is low. The more you feed the more is the milk production. Do not give up easily.
- Do not panic, be at peace. Try to stay away from stress as it badly reduces milk production.
- If you have inverted or flat nipples start massaging them with coconut oil from the seventh month onwards during the pregnancy.
- If you have cracked/bleeding nipples due to feeding just apply the breast milk/coconut oil after feeding the baby, they will heal. Nipple shield can also be used if required.
- Always empty one breast and then move to the other so that the baby can get foremilk as well as hindmilk both, which are rich in carbohydrates and fats respectively.
- Keep changing the breast during every feed.
- Use cotton/disposable breast pads if you have leaking breasts (and believe me its absolutely normal!).
- All babies are different; some take feed for 5 minutes while others for 30 minutes.
- During the initial ten days, babies lose approximately 10% of their birth weight, after that if your baby is gaining weight, it clearly indicates the feed is adequate.
- The mother needs to stay well hydrated to enable a good breastfeed to the baby.
- Stay strong mommy and listen to your gut feeling mommy. Don't get influenced by others.
- Most important - READ, READ AND READ about breastfeeding during pregnancy. Do take lactation expert’s help if required.
I hope my story motivates few to continue breastfeeding. Is there anything which I missed out on, would you like to add? How was your breastfeeding journey?
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Major (Retd) Kamlesh Malkani is a mother of two- a six year old and a 15 months old toddler. She is a healthcare expert and served in the Indian Army for 15 years. After the birth of the second child she prioritised her family and kids over work and is now a full time mom and a part time mom-blogger. Her Instagram handle is Kamstheblessedmumma and email id is email@example.com. You can DM her on Instagram or email her for any queries related to mother and child care. She would be happy to help.
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.