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As a first time mother, I had a lot of time to prepare for my baby’s arrival. I planned, researched, shopped, took classes to learn how to handle a newborn baby and waited impatiently for the arrival of my little bundle of joy.
A term that caught my attention during this phase was “exclusive breastfeeding”. It means that the infant receives nothing but breast milk for the first six months of his life. It has many long term benefits for both the baby and mom. So when I read about its benefits, I was certain that I’m going to exclusively breastfeed my child no matter what. But is it that simple?
Before delivery, while going into the labour room, I told my doctor that I would prefer if my baby had lots of skin-to-skin care. I even wanted to breastfeed the baby immediately, and luckily she was very supportive of it. The hospital staff made sure that my wish was granted. And here I was, holding my baby for the first time. She looked beautiful, and I was only wondering “Is she the one who was kicking and punching me all this while?”. After a good amount of skin-to-skin care, we moved on to the breast, and all hell broke loose for me at that moment. All the studies and the research didn’t tell me that some babies take time to learn how to latch. My baby hated my breasts, and when made to latch, would cry so much that we had to resort to formula. Seeing my baby being fed formula shattered my heart but motivated me to maintain the supply and help with the latch.
It took us a month to establish both the latch and the supply but both my baby and I didn’t give up. We tried some more, and when it didn’t work, we cried a lot. After a lot of hard work and many sleepless nights later, here we are into the fifth month of our journey, and now it seems like a cakewalk! My baby is one of the happiest babies you’ll ever see. But when she gets a little cranky, there’s always a breast to latch on!
So this is what I want to say to all the expectant moms who are struggling to breastfeed. That breastfeeding is a game of demand and supply. Make sure you’re latching your baby to the breasts as much as you can in the initial days. You might be tired, sleep-deprived and in pain but that’s the only thing that’s going to work. Hang in there and keep trying. It will happen to you too.
Happy breastfeeding mummies!
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