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The Reality of Breastfeeding
The human body never ceases to amaze me. Just when you think you have peaked, it reveals an all-new side. My breastfeeding journey started on a rather rocky note as Agastya was in NICU immediately post-delivery, and I had no idea what was in store for us. All the books and ante-natal classes had definitely made me realise the benefits of breastfeeding, but reality seemed way too different.
After a day of not being able to feed my baby, I felt maybe it ended for me even before it started. He had gotten used to formula milk, and I was clueless about breast engorgement or latching issues.
I had followed the principles of Garbh Sanskar and virtue baby for 9 months. I taught my baby to be courageous in the face of uncertainty and was surely not going to lose faith. So, we kept on trying and trying to just give him top milk and make it convenient for both of us.
Also, the Japa maid kept telling me how I was not producing enough milk to satiate my “underweight” baby’s hunger, and how I was depriving him of a healthy life. Well, to all those who didn’t believe in us, we don’t give up. My son is now one, and I exclusively breastfed him until 6 months of age, before starting on solids. I continue to do so till date.
I’m sure every mother has a different story. I am not judging anyone for their choices, but we need to highlight the fact that there is indeed very little spoken and known about this important facet of newborn life and its nourishment. Breastfeeding is such an integral aspect of the whole process, yet such little importance is given to it.
I’d also like to highlight the sleepless nights, the vulnerability of feeding in public places (with or without a stole), the frustration of being watched by someone, the cuts, the bites, the soreness, mastitis, etc. There’s a lot of motherhood and breastfeeding nobody ever told me about. Also, all these things should have made me weak. But, I can, without a doubt, say that it made me much stronger and it helped me graduate from a tough woman to a tougher MOM!
One of the worst times was when I attended a pre-wedding ceremony at one of the top five star hotels in Delhi on a cold winter night. I walked up to a female manager on duty to ask if they had a place where I could feed my baby. Well, I had to do it in the washroom, as they asked me to book a room just to breastfeed my baby.
Breastfeeding is as natural as childbirth and one of the most amazing and empowering miracles of mother nature. It has not only helped me spend more time with my baby, but also steal extra snuggles and smiles, and connect with him at an entirely different level. It helped me trust my instincts as a mother and just know that he is safe as far as I am around.