My Breastfeeding Hardships and how I overcame them (plus tips for mommies)
By : Namrata Patil
My elder son was born 9 years ago via C-sec. That was the time when breast pumps and other breastfeeding support accessories and support groups were unheard of. Since I was under anesthesia, the doctors had started my son on formula immediately after he was born. I was told that breast milk takes some time to form after a C-sec so I went home waiting for that to happen.
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I had relatives and guests visiting me after I got home on Day 3. One of them was a senior nurse who asked me why I was not breastfeeding. I told her that I was not lactating yet. She felt my breasts and told me how badly engorged they were and if I did not express it immediately, it would be very painful and may cause issues later too. I got to know that breast milk starts to form in the breasts during the course of pregnancy itself.
She gave me some warm water compresses and created a desi manual suction apparatus by cutting off the part of a syringe where the needle is attached and inserting the piston there. So I was manually pumping out my breast milk with this syringe now.
My husband was a huge support and he would wake up every 2 hours in the chilly cold nights and help me express milk, keep it in a bowl and feed my baby with a spoon. I tried latching on my son, but he just would not and I continued expressing with the syringe ensuring my hubby did not spill even a drop while transferring it to the bowl since it was a lot of hard work and more precious than gold. Support from family members goes a long way in making a mother’s breastfeeding journey comfortable.
Then my sister in law suggested me to try using a nipple shield. I did and my son was breastfeeding happily for a month and post that he latched to my breast properly and there was no looking back for 11 months.
I have to, however, admit that since my son was already used to a formula by now, breast feed was more of dessert for him after his main meal of formula. I was worried about his immunity, etc but fortunately, he built it over a period of time and has had relatively few sickness episodes in spite of being 75% formula fed. Breast milk does help to build a child’s immunity but if for some reason you are unable to breastfeed your child, don’t worry.
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After 8 years I was blessed with another son and as expected he was exactly the opposite of the elder one. He was exclusively breastfed from day 1 though I would give two formula feeds at noon and at night to ensure him and I got some time off from the constant sucking. In fact, he took the bottle for just a month and was back to just breast feed.
I realized my son was ready for semi solids as he would stare longingly at our food when we ate our meals. I started semi solids when he completed 4 months and by the 7th month, he was eating all that the family ate.
I had some issues during this time like a recurrent milk blister/bleb which was extremely painful the third time I got it when my son was almost 18 months. I was determined to wean him off as the bleb was killing me.
I applied a paste of crushed neem leaves to my nipples and ensured he slept away from me at night so he would not ask to be comfort fed to sleep. Within 2 weeks of crying and howling and me feeling guilty about it, my son was completely off breastfeeding. It was a huge victory for us.
There are certain tips and tricks as well as genuine advice that I shall share in my next article that every mum will love me for and be able to abide by and identify with.
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