No points for guessing what this post is going to be about.
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world. Why then are so many people not for it, I will never know.
Our breastfeeding journey was certainly not the smoothest. I had assumed that it would be no problem and hence did little to no research on it. And then came my stubborn young baby who just wouldn’t latch on. He wouldn’t even let me use a nipple shield (which, by the way, is quite useless if you ask me) and our paed offered me the easy way out – formula milk.
However, my supply was quite good and I decided I will pump exclusively for my baby instead of falling into the formula trap.
I even took the time to meet a Lactation Consultant who sadly was of no help whatsoever. In fact she asked me to stop trying so that my baby doesn’t get averse to me and breastfeeding. However, my heart did not agree to this and I kept trying and after five months of exclusively pumping, I finally got my son to latch on to me when he was a little over 5 months old.
He is 10.5 months old now and breastfeeds like a pro.
Believe me, I have nothing against formula feeding. I know a lot of moms who really have no choice but to resort to it for various reasons but choosing that assuming it is better for the baby and easier for them is what I am not for.
Let me tell you some of the reasons why I am so pro-breastfeeding:
1. It’s the most natural thing to do and breastmilk is THE BEST nutrition your child can get.
2. No pacifier or bottle nipple will ever give the comfort your breasts can give your baby.
3. It’s a PAIN to wash and sterilize bottles day in and day out. Like, a SERIOUS PAIN. Even if you buy a gazillion bottles, you may still have no clean bottles when you need one.
4. Since your boobies travel with you everywhere, you do not need to worry about carrying a gazillion (more) things like bottles and a flask with hot water and sterile containers and what not, while traveling with a baby.
5. In case you are an exclusively pumping mom, you do not have to worry about your boobies bursting if you miss a pumping session or your supply dipping if you miss a few.
6. You can avoid unwanted visitors or guests by saying you need some privacy to breastfeed your baby and escape having to deal with them. No, really. Not kidding.
So, what did I do to get my baby to latch on?
- Skin-to-skin. Lots and lots and LOTS of it. When the baby is sleepy, when the baby wakes up, when the baby is starting to get hungry, every minute you can possibly hold your baby.
- Even if you are bottle feeding, make it a point to do it yourself. Or at least, most of the times.
- Change to a nipple that mimics sucking from the breasts (like Calma by Medela – what I used) instead of the regular ones. It makes the transition easier.
- Babywearing. Because why miss a chance to keep them close to you?
- Never give up. No matter who tells you what, just don’t. Even the most stubborn babies (like mine) just need some push. It may take a month or two or five, but keep trying. You never know when the baby will surprise you.
- Having a supportive family and friends helps a LOT too. So educate them on breastfeeding and its benefits if they aren’t very encouraging.
- Join breastfeeding support groups. It is one the best places where can get a LOT of encouragement every time you feel the need for a push to keep going. Breastfeeding Support for Indian Moms on Facebook is one such group which gave me all the motivation, encouragement and friends to keep me going even during times when I just wanted to give up.
To date, if there is one parenting decision that I am really glad about, it has got to be to never give up on breastfeeding.
Because, trust me, undoing a couple of buttons is WAY MORE easier than cleaning and sterilizing bottles day after day.
To all the mothers out there who have gone through worse and still stuck to breastfeeding or pumping for your babies, you are all awesome. So much power, love and respect to you!
And all you mothers that exclusively pump, I know the struggle. You guys have my utmost respect. ❤
PS: I love you D&I. You know why. 😀