I remember being consumed in sheer unbridled joy when I discovered that I was pregnant. In the days that followed, I envisioned myself as a new mommy, doing the little things that new mommies do; changing, breastfeeding and caring for my new little love. I soaked in the newness of pregnancy, floating along on a dream-spangled cloud of elation. Even then, as I carried my baby in my belly, I contemplated how I would conduct my life as a new mommy. In my roster of activities, breastfeeding occupied a prime spot. It was a dictum deeply emblazoned in my mind. I would breastfeed until my baby was two years old, I decided.
On 12th December 2016, we became parents to a beautiful baby girl, whom we named Advika. It was on the second day that I noticed something wrong. I had had a C-section, so it was natural for my milk flow to be tapered. But as the days slid by, it just didn’t seem to gain momentum. As a result, Advika never learned how to latch onto my breast. For the next fortnight or so, I depended on formula to nourish my little baby. About two weeks into motherhood, I decided to seek help.
I sought an appointment with Sister Ruth at Cloudnine Hospital, Jayanagar. Ruth noticed that my breast muscles were weak, making it difficult for my baby to suckle. She suggested a variety of techniques that would promote my milk production and surely enough, my milk reserves grew slowly, yet steadily. As a three-week old mother, I was finally able to breastfeed my baby.
I encountered so many fears, insecurities and false information in those first few weeks of motherhood. I was constantly coaxed to flip the breast over for the bottle. I was assured that I would never be able to breastfeed my baby if the milk hadn’t started flowing by now. But in my heart, I knew I wouldn’t let formula win. In those early days, my newfound spirit of motherhood was swallowed by a downward whirlwind of hopelessness. I grew to believe that I’d started motherhood off on a grim note. Sometimes, emotions subjugate realism. Trust me, I know.
Having overcome psychological and physical obstacles to give my baby the nourishment she deserves, I can tell you that there’s always a way with breastfeeding. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. If you have challenges, seek help from a lactation consultant and derive encouragement from your family. Breastfeeding is an experience unlike any other that I believe every mother should have the privilege of experiencing. It brings you closer to your baby and provides a nourishment that no brand in the world can match.
In a world where we are perpetually surrounded by pollution, artificial additives and synthetic ingredients, giving my baby an all-natural start was important to me. If there were one piece of advice I could give a new mother like me, this would be it: overcome your challenges and work towards breastfeeding. There’s no better start you can give your baby.