I am a mother of a seven months old daughter and breastfeeding was a long journey for me.
Before delivery you may have little or no awareness about the challenges in breastfeeding. All you concerned, is the list of things that comes during pregnancy and delivery. You will be engrossed and revolve around the topics related to labor pain, diet, pre- natal exercises and so on. But once you deliver the baby, everybody including you forget the “past pregnancy” moments. The only thing that comes into mind is “Breastfeeding” – that’s to an exclusive one.
Nowadays in corporate hospitals, you will get a chance to get free consultation from a lactation consultant, which i think, every single hospital should include as part of their delivery process/care.
Personally I had gained a lot of confidence from my lactation consultant and I was able to breastfeed my baby exclusively for 6 months.
I would like to mention the challenges I faced during breastfeeding and how did I overcome the same.
1. Nipple Structure
It is a very important thing for a mother. To get your baby latched on properly from the very first day, your nipple should not be flat or inverted and specifically, if your baby is a bit underweight, it is very hard for your baby to get latched. I am not sure how these cases would have been handled in earlier days but nowadays you can get nipple stimulator and nipple shield which will help you overcome this situation during intilal days of breastfeeding.
My experience: I had flat nipple and it was discovered by my lactation consultant during my stay in hospital after delivery.
My baby was also 2.4 kg(slightly underweight) and she was not able to suck properly. So, the lactation consultant advised me to use nipple shield. I was frustrated at first but thankfully it was a normal delivery for me and I recovered with my stiches and everything after 1 week. So, I started using nipple shield and with the help of this, my baby was able to suck and feed herself completely. But with the nipple shield, baby takes longer time to be fed. Sometimes it felt like I was feeding my baby throughout the day. But i guess this sacrifice is completely ok as you are gonna thank yourself for the rest of your life. Breastfeeding makes you feel empowered and divine.
After 2 months, I tried to feed the baby without the shield and this time I had my happiest moment- I was able to feed my baby naturally.
To make breastfeeding smooth and easy, you need to follow a specific diet for atleast 3 months.
My experience: I used to take a lot of vegetables, fenugreek seeds with ghee, sagoo kheer. These foods had already shown their effect after 2 weeks.
Also I used to take fruits and a lot of milk products to fulfill the Calcium demand of my body.
This is one of the problems typically faced by indian ladies with a large/joint family. If you are a first time mom, the condition is even worse. Thankfully, nowadays a lot of feeding specific clothes are available even in small towns.
My experience: initially I used to worry if someone use to visit my family. Then I used to ask to give me privacy and people got used to it. Now, I can breastfeed my baby anywhere.
4. Family Support
This is the most important thing in breastfeeding journey. Without this you may give up at some point of time as it is extremely tiring, sometimes associated with postpartum depression. You are out of shape, out of routine and out of a lot of freedom.
My experience: My family members were extremely supportive. They tired their best to make this journey more comfortable and enjoyable.
I hope this will help you in your journey too.
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