My Breastfeeding Journey
The National Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year in August to encourage and support mothers in their breastfeeding journey. For me, the breastfeeding journey was pretty smooth. My baby latched on like a pro on day one and I grew comfortable with breastfeeding sooner than I realised. Even though this journey was anything but bumpy and happened without any speed breakers, the onset of COVID in our family, which also had my little boy under its grip, put a stop to it. Consequently, I was in isolation for more than a week and when I emerged from quarantine, my baby had stopped breastfeeding altogether since he had grown an affinity for the bottle and formula.
In this post, I reflect on the five most memorable and challenging moments in my journey as a breastfeeding mom.
I clearly remember struggling in the initial few days with holding my baby in my lap in a position that was comfortable for him while also being comfortable myself. Achieving both at the same seemed like an uphill task and I had to count on my family for support. Holding my baby for prolonged hours in my lap as he breastfed was a challenge that I found impossible to surmount, (add to this the fact that breastfeeding made me extremely tired and exhausted). Things, however, became much easier for the both of us after I invested in a breastfeeding pillow. All I had to do was just strap it on and place my baby on it! Voila! My baby loved it and I was feeding him- completely hands free while watching TV! Ah! I can still smell the sweet fragrance of independence that this amazing invention brought us both! My baby was happy and so was his mum!
On another occasion, when I became extremely sore from breastfeeding day in and day out, my doctor suggested that I buy a nipple shield. Thanks to them, I could breastfeed without experiencing any pain. It made breastfeeding at the time so easy! Check out Nursing Bras here.
The first three months were the most arduous for me with respect to breastfeeding, since my baby was latched on for hours together, especially at night, when all I wanted to do was catch up on my sleep, but it seemed like a distant dream. On an average, my baby would breastfeed thrice a night, for at least one and a half hours each time! I found myself running out of patience, particularly one night when he breastfed from 1 PM to 4.30 PM. Later, it dawned upon me that babies also suckle for comfort and warmth, and that is their natural way of falling asleep. Most of the time, an infant is not even sucking out milk, but just looking like it as he or she draws comfort from suckling and being held close to a mother’s chest. I realised the only way out of this challenge was to feed lying down, which I would recommend to every breastfeeding mom. From here on, breastfeeding was much less tiring. Check out breast pads here.
I had never ever given pumping a thought because I had heard from other moms about how tedious the process can be- pumping at least a few times everyday without fail at regular intervals, sterilising the pump and of course, having sore breasts after. However, once, I gave it a serious thought because I wanted a break from breastfeeding and wanted to bottle feed with others pitching in. With much hesitation, I turned on the breast pump and was aghast at the sound it produced and the way it rotated. I turned it off then and there to never give it a shot again! Hats off all the mums who pump!
I had seen pictures of mums breastfeeding in public and even read a ton of articles supporting it. I admit that these pictures and articles helped me muster the courage to breastfeed in public. I remember my first time very distinctly. Our car was parked In the marketplace and my baby longed to breastfeed. Without any apprehensions, I lifted my shirt and began to breastfeed. It is at this moment that the guy who helped with parking cars said that he wanted to move our car as it was wrongly parked. He got into the car and realised I was breastfeeding. His expression did not change and he never looked back at me to peer. Another time, the watchman saw me breastfeeding in the car but looked away the minute he realised my baby was at the breast. On both these occasions, the men did not frown or pass on a look of disgust. In fact, I could see that they saw it as something natural, and that’s how it should be too! Check out breast feeding cover here.
After my baby stopped breastfeeding, I attempted breastfeeding him several times, but he would simply look away. This went on for two weeks and I would feel extremely sad and mellow about the sudden end to our breastfeeding journey. I spent a large amount of money speaking to a doctor about resuming breastfeeding and spent a lot of time everyday trying to learn how to bring my baby back to the breast, but nothing seemed to work. On day 16, I decided to accept the fact that my baby wasn’t going to breastfeed anymore and made peace with it. It’s been three months since he stopped breastfeeding and I stopped feeling dismal about it. The time I spent feeling anxious about not breastfeeding is the time I now spend joyfully bonding with him over toys, music, dance and storytelling. That apart, not breastfeeding has not affected my baby in any way. He is achieving all his milestones well in time, gaining weight and growing taller, sleeping well and best of all- is a happy baby!
Namrata Gulati Sapra is a passionate part time journalist blogger and a fulltime passionate mommy, whose journey in motherhood is nothing like she expected it to be, she believes. When she isn't blogging or mommying, she is enjoying her cuppa and Netflixing!
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.