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Am I a Good or a Bad Mother? Challenges I Faced While Breastfeeding
Just before my due date, I ordered seven sets of dresses so I could breastfeed my baby easily. I was blessed with a baby girl, and I don’t have words to describe how happy I was. But right from the first day, my body wasn’t producing a lot of breast milk. This was not the case in my previous pregnancy. After my first delivery, my body produced a lot of milk from the beginning, but this time nothing seemed to work. I had lactonic powder, methi seeds, jeera seeds, almost every solution I could find on the internet to increase my breast milk supply. I was eating more food than was required by my body. I was pumping every three hours and kept trying to breastfeed my baby.
Hurrah! All my hard work proved fruitful, and finally, my body started producing milk. My baby took formula only twice, and I was really very happy. But I continued to overeat, and I was not exercising in fear that my milk supply will decrease and this went on for five months. I gained so much weight; my knees and ankles were sore. My back would hurt badly, but everything was okay because my baby was breastfeeding.
But just when she was about to finish her fifth month, she started showing her disinterest in breastfeeding. She was only interested in solids. Again, I was in the same place since my daughter wasn’t being breastfed as much; my supply started decreasing. I was so desperate to continue breastfeeding that I began pumping and having all the herbs again. It’s been over a month now, and my baby is not ready to breastfeed. She wants to be fed at night, just to sleep.
Many of my relatives and friends told me that it is best to breastfeed until the baby’s one year old, but no one understands how much stress and guilt I have experienced because my body was not producing a sufficient amount of milk.
Now my baby is going to complete her sixth month, and I am really happy that at least I breastfed her for the first six months. Things need to settle now, and my body needs some of my attention. Breastfeeding is only a part of motherhood. It is never a symbol of being a good or a bad mother. I breastfed my first baby for more than one year, but this time I am unable to.
Breastfeeding is the best thing a mother and baby experience, but the social pressure to breastfeed used as a way to prove that you are a good mother is really harmful. A baby’s health is the most important thing, but a mother’s health is equally important. It should be up to the mother and her comfort to decide whether she wants to breastfeed exclusively, give a combined diet of breast milk and formula, or completely formula feed. Even if she wants to pump and bottlefeed, and there should be no guilt associated with it.
Now I’m breastfeeding my baby as per her requirements and not stressing myself because of insufficient milk supply or listening to others. People still come and give suggestions and make faces when they come to know that she is not being breastfed, but now it does not bother me. My baby and I are happy and healthy, and it is the only thing that matters.