It did feel weird at first, especially when the nurses pulled out my breast and pushed it into my baby’s little mouth. But then I knew I had to do it and I eventually got used to it. So, now, when I was done with the breastfeeding phase, I decided to put out there the realities of the most imperative motherly duty. I felt this was required so new moms are more aware and not ignorant or scared about what to do and what not to do, like I was after my first delivery.
Firstly, let us get down to the pros, cons and know-hows of breastfeeding.
The perks of breastfeeding:
DEVELOPS DIGESTIVE TRACT: Colostrum is the ideal first milk that helps develop the newborn’s immature digestive tract. It is rich in immune cells and many antibodies that prevent various types of sicknesses like respiratory tract infections, etc. Together, the foremilk and hind milk are rich in carbohydrates, fats, protein, growth factors, enzymes and nucleotides and have a whole lot of benefits.
SAVES TIME AND MONEY: The milk is free and also available anytime anywhere. I have made use of this opportunity so much that my friends were flabbergasted in places like Pizza Hut, Ritz Classic or at an elite party. Also, while travelling especially, you don’t have to worry about cleaning and sterilizing bottles or calculating how much to feed your baby.
LESS PREP TIME: Preparation time is less as compared to infant formula. This means more snooze time especially at night because you don’t have to get up from your bed to prepare it. I would just feed my baby while both of us were lying down. Once she was done and asleep, I would also adjust myself and go back to sleep. Do not worry, there is more on breastfeeding positions below.
HELPS IMMUNITY: The main benefit of breastfeeding is that it helps the baby to have a strong immune system. It is said that repeated common colds and other sicknesses can be avoided if the baby is breastfed well. These babies are also said to have a stable personality, low chances of acute infections, allergies, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. This only time can tell.
WEIGHT LOSS IN MOTHER: While the baby increases its weight, the mother begins losing a considerable amount of calories. If that’s not motivation enough to breastfeed your baby, then what is? Hahaha!
REDUCES CANCER IN MOTHER: Breastfeeding moms experience reduced bleeding after delivery and is also said to have less chances of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. This also only time can tell.
MOTHER-BABY BOND: Breastfeeding helps the baby bond with the warmth of the mother. Because of this, the mother’s stress levels lessen during this difficult post-partum period.
Along with perks come pains in any episode of life. So, here are the pains of breastfeeding which are NOT to scare you but only to make you AWARE:
SORE/CRACKED NIPPLES: This was the most horrid time of breastfeeding. Sometimes I wanted to whack my baby because of the pain she inflicted upon me. Sometimes I would get nightmares that she wanted to attack me. At times, even the nipple care butter didn’t soothe my pain. You have to keep away from the baby until your nipples are ready to be bitten again. You can express your milk during this time.
LACTATION AND LATCHING ISSUES: It is recommended to start breastfeeding as soon as your child is born but most of the time a mother does not lactate because she is mentally not willing to, she has stressed herself out or she really has a medical issue. So, be positive and chill and you will be okay.
TABOO: Sometimes, you will find people staring at you like you are doing something wrong by feeding your baby in public places. Try not to feel too bad about it because people are not used to bumping into brave women.
DEPRIVED SLEEP: Sometimes you may experience less sleep because of the number of times you have to breastfeed your baby. It’s just a phase that will pass soon. Do not let it frustrate you.
WEANING PERIOD: This time can be a pain if you want to wean the baby off while the baby still wants to hang on to this soothing habit. The recommended duration to breastfeed is six months to a year while some even feed till three years. So, personally, I think if you can, you should keep on breastfeeding as long as you are lactating.
Wrong latching results in breast engorgement or cracked or sore nipples and therefore new moms need to be aware of the four main positions of breastfeeding as mentioned below:
CRADLE POSITION: This is the most common position wherein the baby is held comfortably with one arm supporting its head, neck, back and bottoms. For example, if the baby is being fed from the left breast, the mother uses her left hand to hold the baby.
CROSS-CRADLE POSITION: This position is similar to the cradle position but the mother holds the baby with the opposite arm wherein her palm holds the baby’s head. For example, if the baby is being fed from the left breast, the mother uses her right hand to hold the baby while keeping her left hand free to shape breast or guide the baby to latch on.
CLUTCH POSITION: This position is also called rugby or football hold wherein the mother holds the head of the baby in her palm while the baby rests on the mother’s side, with their body and feet tucked under the mother’s arm. This position is advantageous for mothers who have undergone a caesarean section since it places no or limited weight on the mother’s chest and abdomen area.
SIDE-LYING POSITION: This position is apt for mothers who are unable to sit comfortably. The mother lies down on her side while the baby is parallel to her. This was my favourite breastfeeding position all throughout my pregnancy for no other reason but to relax.
Breastfeeding was something I had decided to do as soon as I got to know I was going to be a mother. I had read around that it benefited the baby and also helped mothers lose their pregnancy weight. So, for whatever selfish reason, it was always on my list of important things-to-do after the baby arrived. Despite my positivism, I had enough milk to last only for a few feeds everyday while I had to resort to formula milk while I felt all sucked out.
Even though it is important to breastfeed your baby, mothers who feed their baby with formula milk are not to be detested because their reasons for not breastfeeding could be anything.
At good maternity homes, efficient doctors will work with you to support your breastfeeding experience in a number of ways. They will also answer all your queries with regards to breastfeeding and it is advisable to attend the available seminars held to know more about breastfeeding and handling your baby post-delivery. So choose your maternity home carefully and be aware of your responsibilities without letting it overwhelm you. All the best.
Hope this article has helped you in some way. Do share it with friends and family you think may need it. Also, do put in your comments below.
#LetsBlogwithPri is a Blog Train hosted by Prisha Lalwani, Author at Mummasaurus. It helps us produce articles more regularly than we could when not sitting in the blog train. I wholeheartedly thank Sneha Jubin, Author at It’s a Winning Story, for introducing me in her blog about the life of a Tamil aunty. Also, I would like to introduce Sweta Kachhap, Author at Cloud and Sunshine. Do read her review of a different take on Father’s Day.
Cindy D'Silva, besides being a mother of two angels, is a belly dancer, writer and photographer. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is a detailed biography about her on the ABOUT ME page in case you would like to know more. :)You can like and follow her Facebook page to get all updates on the latest blogs and more: https://www.facebook.com/blogaberry/