No points for guessing what this post is going to be about.
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world. Why then are so many people not for it, I will never know.
Our breastfeeding journey was certainly not the smoothest. I had assumed that it would be no problem and hence did little to no research on it. And then came my stubborn young baby who just wouldn’t latch on. He wouldn’t even let me use a nipple shield (which, by the way, is quite useless if you ask me) and our paed offered me the easy way out – formula milk.
However, my supply was quite good and I decided I will pump exclusively for my baby instead of falling into the formula trap.
I even took the time to meet a Lactation Consultant who sadly was of no help whatsoever. In fact she asked me to stop trying so that my baby doesn’t get averse to me and breastfeeding. However, my heart did not agree to this and I kept trying and after five months of exclusively pumping, I finally got my son to latch on to me when he was a little over 5 months old.
He is 10.5 months old now and breastfeeds like a pro.
Believe me, I have nothing against formula feeding. I know a lot of moms who really have no choice but to resort to it for various reasons but choosing that assuming it is better for the baby and easier for them is what I am not for.
Let me tell you some of the reasons why I am so pro-breastfeeding:
1. It’s the most natural thing to do and breastmilk is THE BEST nutrition your child can get.
2. No pacifier or bottle nipple will ever give the comfort your breasts can give your baby.
3. It’s a PAIN to wash and sterilize bottles day in and day out. Like, a SERIOUS PAIN. Even if you buy a gazillion bottles, you may still have no clean bottles when you need one.
4. Since your boobies travel with you everywhere, you do not need to worry about carrying a gazillion (more) things like bottles and a flask with hot water and sterile containers and what not, while traveling with a baby.
5. In case you are an exclusively pumping mom, you do not have to worry about your boobies bursting if you miss a pumping session or your supply dipping if you miss a few.
6. You can avoid unwanted visitors or guests by saying you need some privacy to breastfeed your baby and escape having to deal with them. No, really. Not kidding.
So, what did I do to get my baby to latch on?
- Skin-to-skin. Lots and lots and LOTS of it. When the baby is sleepy, when the baby wakes up, when the baby is starting to get hungry, every minute you can possibly hold your baby.
- Even if you are bottle feeding, make it a point to do it yourself. Or at least, most of the times.
- Change to a nipple that mimics sucking from the breasts (like Calma by Medela – what I used) instead of the regular ones. It makes the transition easier.
- Babywearing. Because why miss a chance to keep them close to you?
- Never give up. No matter who tells you what, just don’t. Even the most stubborn babies (like mine) just need some push. It may take a month or two or five, but keep trying. You never know when the baby will surprise you.
- Having a supportive family and friends helps a LOT too. So educate them on breastfeeding and its benefits if they aren’t very encouraging.
- Join breastfeeding support groups. It is one the best places where can get a LOT of encouragement every time you feel the need for a push to keep going. Breastfeeding Support for Indian Moms on Facebook is one such group which gave me all the motivation, encouragement and friends to keep me going even during times when I just wanted to give up.
To date, if there is one parenting decision that I am really glad about, it has got to be to never give up on breastfeeding.
Because, trust me, undoing a couple of buttons is WAY MORE easier than cleaning and sterilizing bottles day after day.
To all the mothers out there who have gone through worse and still stuck to breastfeeding or pumping for your babies, you are all awesome. So much power, love and respect to you!
And all you mothers that exclusively pump, I know the struggle. You guys have my utmost respect. ❤
PS: I love you D&I. You know why. 😀
8 thoughts on “Babies and Boobies.”
I breastfed and cloth diapered my son uptil 15 months! We live in Canada and I didn’t have any family support. My parents left 10 days after delivery. I worked full time until 1 day before delivery.
I see a bit of myself in you and it makes me smile. I went through a number of breast infections but still I carried on until 15 months or until the kid started chewing on my nipples. I noticed that a lot of Indian women discouraged me to breastfeed which only motivated me more. The doctors here are amazing, without their support I wouldn’t have. My son is almost 2yrs now and I see a lot of benifits immunity wise when compared to formula fed kids. Good job and best wishes to you!!
Btw when it comes to cloth diapering we used kawaii, bum genius and apple cheeks. I also sewed a few diapers….but after a year the child had to go to day care, the husband and I had to work in different cities, so gave up CD.
Aw, thank you! Almost similar situation here. 🙂
We have found a prospective day care (for when I start working) that doesn’t mind cloth diapering. So I am kind of excited about it. 😀
I’d like to say before I comment that I breastfed both my kids till they were 14 months old and have loved every minute of it. This is not the first article of this kind that I have read. Your intentions are to encourage moms and tell them about your experience. But, I dislike this idea that by choosing formula, moms are “giving up”. They are not, they are simply choosing a different way to feed and nourish their babies.
I could’ve written your post 5 years ago when I had an almost one year old on my hands. I had a colicky baby with reflux and our journey wasn’t smooth but I “never gave up” and nursed her for over a year. I was also home with her.
Fast forward two years later when I had my son, I was working full time at this point and had a 3 year old to care for as well. I loved my job and colleagues and knew I would go back to work when my son was 12 weeks old. My breasts and the pump have a hate-hate relationship. I’m the kind of woman who pumps for 30 mins only to get an ounce of milk. But, I had read many posts like these that told me, “keep going, don’t give up”. I went back to work and then began my struggle to keep up with providing breastmilk for my baby. I would stay up reading on ways to increase my supply, took fenugreek pills and drank herbal teas that would hopefully boost my supply. I would escape twice a day into the dingy storage room at work where I pumped and cry when I saw that I had not pumped enough for next day’s bottles. I live in the US and finding any daily help is next to impossible.My husband and I were juggling jobs, making dinner, managing a household and taking care of an active 3 year old and a baby. I nursed my son as soon as we got home and nursed him on demand all night even though that meant I was sleeping poorly. Finally when he was 8 months old, I decided to stop pumping. I was exhausted. I felt guilt and failure wash over me as I bought the first container of formula. I wish someone had told me that I was not giving up, there was nothing to give up. I was simply feeding my son. This message that is perpetuated of breast is best and “keep trying” can be very guilt inducing for a mom. There really is no need for it. He had a great bond with the Gujarati aunty who lovingly took care for him when I was at work and had a strong bond with me. He got formula when I was at work and I continued to nurse when we got home. I don’t see any difference in my bonding with my daughter who I breastfed exclusively and with my son, who I did not.
The other thing that irks me about all this is that dads don’t have to deal with this. No one questions them and they don’t feel any guilt that their baby is getting formula. They simply care about loving and taking care of their baby. My husband simply wanted me to be happy. Moms somehow feel like they have to give an explanation for why they have resorted to formula. And explanations for every decision we make for our children.
You are a first time mom today. You might find yourselves in my shoes if you have another baby. I’m here to tell you, that you will not be giving up if you decide to go the formula route. I recently read Amy Poehler’s biography and she has a whole chapter on this guilt trip that is motherhood. She has a simple mantra when she feels like she’s being sucked into the black hole of guilt. She says to herself, “Good for her, not for me.” This is now my mantra too.To all the mothers out there who have chosen formula for any reason whatsoever, you are all awesome too. “So much power, love and respect to you too and you have my utmost respect too.”
P.S. Sorry for the long novel.
P.P.S. Your baby is too dang adorable.
Okay, I understand what you are trying to convey and I am with you. Like I have mentioned in the post, I am not formula shaming. I do have friends who have had to resort to formula due to medical as well as other reasons. But I have also come across quite a few people who think it isn’t ‘cool’ to breastfeed.
I completely get it if you choose the formula route after trying to breastfeed and being unsuccessful for some reason or the other. But these people I am talking about did not even try which irked me. And some of them even went to the extent of trying to convince me to give up pumping because life would be so much ‘easier’ for me. Yes, it may have been easier, but why deny my child the best I can offer? More so, because I am a stay-at-home-mom at the moment and I can’t possible think of anything better I can do/give him.
Although guilt tripping anyone wasn’t my intention. Rather I wanted to share what I did (that worked for us) since quite a few people had asked me about it. So I thought I would pen it down here for them.
Like you said, maybe my next baby would be different and give me a whole new perspective. But for now, I am here and I wanted to share that. 🙂
And, don’t be sorry. It’s always good to listen to what other people think. Gives me something to think about too!
And, thank you! 😀
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Phuleez, keep this blog going.. 😀
This was extremely informative Madhu. I’m expecting my first in a few wks and am really worried abt the ‘latching’ piece of it. What if my baby doesn’t know how to latch? All your tips will be really valuable for new moms like me.
Your baby is a cutie pie btw.
Your welcome article is really great..
I’m a mom of 1 years 11 months old toddler… shall I stop breastfeeding.. kindly help when I need to stop breastfeed ??
I follow you on instagram and saw your story on baby led weaning. I would really like to know more. Like do you have a post on age suitable recipes. My second baby had turned 6 months and had been EBF until now. I must do this because I still feed my elder one (apart from dosa, idly, sandwich, basically dry stuff. Rice never moves) and she is 7 years old! 😓 Since our food has mixing and liquidy thing, would BLW help that in the long run?
And this post! WOW you are truly amazing. My first fed like a pro straight away, absolutely no problem. So totally dint anticipate any issues on that front the second time. But he just couldn’t latch and if he did it was toe-curling-pain. 1 month I suffered but wanted to give BF him. Since they drink so little as newborns I managed with little pumping. Worst time. Want to feed him, had milk but couldn’t. Somehow with nipple shield or pulling and massaging the nipple or something things got gradually better. I’m in awe of you for exclusively pumping for 5 months. 🙏🏼 I don’t think I would have. I’m lazy. And I thought I went through the worst time! 🙄
Pls let me know about BLW. Even 3-4 simple recipes for 6-8 months baby.
Thanks in advance!
Oh I forgot! Congratulations on your Pregnancy!