Even before you deliver, you know breastfeeding is very important for your baby. When I was expecting I started attending weekend prenatal classes during my 6th month.
I always wanted a normal delivery (that would be covered in another post) and wanted to keep know what delivery and post delivery would be like. No doubt these classes helped but when one is actually in a situation, that situation determines the next course of action . Remember, at times, things are meant to be, even if you try hard.
My delivery was expected to be normal, but even after 10 hours of labor pain the doctor decided to go for C-sec. At that point you cannot really say anything to the doctor, bearing sharp pain and thinking about the baby being healthy at the same time. A delivered a healthy baby via c-sec. I was numb and restless at the same time, just wanted to hold the baby in my hands and hug her tightly. Next came the breastfeeding part, so excited I was to be able to feed my child. The baby latched perfectly and tried to suck; it is said that a newborn even when the umbilical cord is attached can crawl upto the mother’s breast and feed. My little one also tried to suck, but her little mouth could not get any milk or colostrum. The nurses came in tried to clean the nipple, tried pressure and what not but NOTHING!
Frankly, it was disheartening but usually in c-section the milk comes in late so I was very hopeful that i will. It came but very little, I used to express using hands and feed with spoon. Few drops would make me feel happy that my child got some colostrum. After 4 days I was home, from a position where I could not get up courtesy the stitches and the pain; I was at home taking lactation pills, trying all sort of desi-home remedies but still hardly any milk and the baby was hungry so she was put on bottle feed (formula feed). Did a lot of reading from success stories to not so success stories. My mum and me would keep trying she would hold the baby since I did not have much strength and I would put her mouth to my breast. Since I delivered at my home town, which is a same town in Punjab- Pathankot and lactation experts= none. Then came the breast pump which pumped around 30 ml of milk and I was ecstatic, a ray of hope had come in. The breast pumping process was too tiresome with the manual pump but I tried after sterilising the equipment and what not, but still 30 ml. Now, the baby who was having formula milk all the while did not like the breast milk! Huh, I was like, seriously! I kept searching on internet, joining FB groups with lactation experts, scheduled appointments but none helped.
Finally I made peace with formula milk, but with a lot of guilt in my mind. Even when I visited paediatricians as the baby was having colic, the doctor would ask formula fed or breast fed and then would conveniently say its because the baby is formula fed. Sad I was again, every time.
Today, my baby is solely formula fed and perfectly fine. For all the mothers who keep feeling guilty- please stop doing so. If you can breastfeed- great, it you cannot- still great!
Every individual has different body, different hormones, different lactation built. Some women do not get enough milk and it is because of various factors- past medical history, PCOS, C-Sec, etc… But it should not lead to agony, remember formula feeding has its own pros- you don’t have to be present while feeding, you need not worry what you eat, you know how much milk your child had:) Is this possible with breastfeeding?
Another myth I would want to point out here, baby having colic is NOT because he/she is formula fed. Breastfed babies also get colicky. Now, the paediatrician would conveniently put it on the breastmilk that the mother must have had something which caused gas. Now the breastfeeding mother feels bad. Mothers- be it breastfeeding or formula feeding; babies get colicky and most babies after 6 months will be just fine as their digestive system completely develops. (Will cover colic as a topic in my other post)
I remember reading a story lately that a mother could not breastfeed but the hospital insisted that she does and the baby does not need much milk initially. Hence the baby was not put on formula feed. The baby starved and died.
Moral of the story- It is not possible for all the mothers to breast feed, even a mother who formula feeds is a mother.
Still breastfeeding is always good. Today, when I look back there are few things that could have been done in a better way and may be I could have breastfed.
For expecting mothers, my tips would be:
- Don’t stress
- Check with a lactation expert for pills incase you might need them and keep them handy
- Try home remedies- that won’t hurt
- Breast pump- can be a saviour. The whole funda of increasing milk is also dependent on the fact that more the baby sucks, more is expressed. Now if the baby is not sucking because there is a lot of effort and hardly anything is coming out. A breast pump can be of help. It can help one express milk and increase supply. But do not buy a manual one (sadly, I bought this because electric one was not available at my hometown.) A manual one takes a lot of effort and a person who has recently delivered definitely do not have that strength to use a manual pump. Even if you think that electric one will be so expensive(10-15 k) it is still worth because a formula milk also costs around 5k- 7k per month. And if you are planning to work, breast pump will come handy as you can express and keep the milk in bottle for use .
It is completely your choice how to feed your child- both formula fed and breast fed babies are fine. Just enjoy with these tiny tots full of energy and love.