I remember when I got pregnant, I was so excited and curious to know about everything related to pregnancy. I read so man various pregnancy related books, I thought I was quite prepared to bring this baby in the world. I, thankfully, had a pretty good pregnancy with a small glitch here and there.
When it came to delivery and breastfeeding, I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a non epidural – vaginal birth. When it came to breastfeeding, I thought it would come to me naturally and I will breastfeed my baby for at least 2 years. But things don’t always go how you plan them to go.
My baby girl was born via c-section after 40 plus hours of induced labor. The recovery went fine too, with some shivering and body chills sometimes. At that point in time, breastfeeding seemed to go well. I started lactating soon after my surgery, my baby latched beautifully and here I was thinking about how easy it was to breastfeed. Little did I know that there was more to it than just that.
Things got difficult when my doctor on day 6 told me that my baby had severe jaundice and had to be admitted to the NICU. I am not the kind who stays calm in a stressful situation. Let’s just say I am not good with stress. The moment I was told my baby was to be admitted to NICU, I started panicking and that was when my milk supply dipped majorly. The nurses at the NICU asked me to pump and give them the milk to be fed to the baby. I knew nothing about pumping because I never read anything about it as I was confident that I would be exclusively breastfeeding my baby. That was my first time to pump, and I could only pump 10-12 ML in 40 mins. It disheartened me further and added to my stress. My baby had to be fed formula milk that day. My baby’s weight dipped more than the initial 10% weight loss when I took her home.
Next day onwards, I again started exclusively breastfeeding her. But on my subsequent visit to the doctor a few days later, her weight had not increased. That’s when I had be told to add formula milk to her diet. So I added 3 – two ounce of milk in the bottle.
Fast forwarding to two months later, my daughter was going through severe constipation and even poo with blood. Meanwhile, I had met a few lactation experts. On my visit to the pediatrician, I discovered that the baby had not yet gained sufficient weight and her constipation was because she was not well fed. The mom guilt creeped in and I added a lot more formula.
Now I was a part of the vicious circle where because I was giving her a lot more formula milk and my body was producing much less. I was giving up. I didn’t want to. I was desperate to feed my baby my milk but my body wasn’t cooperating. That’s when I met my 61 year old friend, Patty Reis on Facebook from across the world. She is an amazing Lactation consultant and a wonderful human to say the least. She has been my guide and a motivator. She got me back into believing that I could totally get back to breastfeeding. On her suggestion, I started pumping 8 times a day and when I saw even 10 Ml milk in my pumping session I knew I was doing good.
I am just 11 weeks into this journey and may still not be producing enough milk to exclusively breastfeed my baby, but I am proud and happy that I didn’t give up. I know I am not giving up anytime soon. I know breastfeeding has been the hardest thing I had to do, but I love every bit of it. It is so fulfilling. It is such a beautiful way of connecting with my baby. I wish I had it in an easier way but I am glad I am able to do it regardless.
I am so grateful to Patty for guiding me and motivating me in this journey, my daughter for hanging in this journey with me and my husband to be supportive every time I would have an emotional breakdown and for dealing with all my mood swings.
While I am still on this journey and hoping to continue this beautiful journey, I would want to tell it to all the mothers who cannot or chose not to breastfeed the baby, the love for your baby flows from the heart and not from a bottle or breast. Loving the baby is more important than anything else. ️
Blog post submitted by a guest blogger, Sugandha. Her baby’s name is Aadveka and they live in Saket, India.
Coronavirus has forced many new mothers to stay home, unable to receive the lactation support they need. Many have quit breastfeeding out of frustration and have felt defeated and reluctantly turned to formula in order to feed their babies. Sugandha persevered with some unlikely support, encouragement and education from an IBCLC halfway across the globe. If you need help, reach out and WarmLine would be happy to help you find some resources for breastfeeding.