In this post I pour my heart out on the unpleasant experiences about breastfeeding that I went through as a mother.
‘A beautiful young mother, looking really pleasant and calm, is sitting or lying down in the hospital bed. She holds a newborn baby and breastfeeds him/her. The baby, who seems very content, slips into a peaceful sleep in his/her mother’s arms ’ – what a heart warming scene!!
This is what we all see in some baby product ads and films. This picture got into my mind so much that, I always thought breastfeeding was an easy thing.
After all breastfeeding is so natural!! It should automatically come to the newborn baby and the mother.
Poor me. My picture perfect scene of the ‘peacefully breastfeeding mommy’ and ‘the content little baby ‘ was shattered with the very first feeding session itself.
Yes, things didn’t turn out, at least for me, as expected.
I was lying down in the hospital bed, all exhausted and sore with pain from the natural delivery I just had. And my bundle of joy lay besides me.
I had a very long labor 🙁
A nurse comes in, examines me and says, “Ok, you can breastfeed your baby now”. Haa … The moment I have been waiting for the past nine long months has come. The very first bonding of me with my baby is going to happen!!
My nurse insisted me to feed him only in a sitting position. In spite of the intense pain and discomfort I somehow managed to sit with my mother’s support.
I took my baby in my hands and brought him near my breast. The very next second, he turned his head to the other side!!! What? … Ok, may be, he didn’t understand what I am trying to do.
I waited…NO… he won’t turn his head…I tried turning his head towards my breast…but in vain.
My mother said,”May be he is not hungry now, try after some time”. So I waited.
A couple of hours passed, I tried again and again, but my tiny little baby wouldn’t even look at my breast. What is wrong? This is not what I have thought it would be like.
All sorts of weird thoughts started coming to my mind. Before I could imagine more stupid things and get nervous, a pediatrician came in and checked my baby.
She asked if I managed to breastfeed him. I said that I haven’t and explained the situation.
She asked me to put my pinky finger in his mouth and see if he is sucking. So I did what she said and to my relief he did suck my finger.
The doctor asked me to express milk and give it to him. I tried, but in vain.
The doctor said that my son is healthy and no need to worry. I will have to make him suck and only then my milk will come in.
A nurse was sent in to help me learn the correct breastfeeding posture and the way to hold the baby while breastfeeding.
With the help of the nurse, I was able to make him turn towards my breast, but again he won’t suck.
Hours passed by, but my several sincere attempts to breastfeed my baby didn’t work.
Result – a hungry crying baby and a totally depressed broken down me!!
Unsuccessful Attempts at Breastfeeding:
This was more than what I could handle. At night when the nurse came in for the rounds, I told her about my unsuccessful attempts.
I tried expressing milk again, but to my dismay, there was nothing coming out of my nipples. Then the nurse said that I could try giving him a little formula milk.
This was the last thing to happen, as I was so particular about breastfeeding. I started to worry…Will breastfeeding not at all work for us, will my baby have to survive on formula milk… and so on…
Hmm…ok at least my baby will not be starving…So we gave him a few drops of formula milk with the help of the nurse.
By now, it was almost 20-22 hours post delivery and my newborn baby hasn’t even taken an effort to latch on the nipple.
Pediatrician came in again for the checkup. On learning that I had given him formula milk; she started to scold the nurse and me.
She assured that baby is perfectly fine and I don’t have to worry too much but keep trying.
She helped my baby to latch on and I don’t know what magic she did, he latched on for a few minutes for the very first time 🙂
Ok finally things are turning out as expected. Now I was able to make him latch on though with a little struggle.
The next day morning the pediatrician came in and said that I could go home if I am confident enough to breastfeed the baby. I was not, so I just doubtfully nodded my head.
She gave me medicines to increase my milk supply and gave a discharge from the hospital.
Low Milk Supply & Hyper Lactation:
Now that the baby has learned to breastfeed, the problem was with my very low breast milk supply.
For the first 10-12 days, the milk production was very very less. He was not getting enough milk to satisfy his hunger.
He kept on crying for milk. I started to eat lots of moringa leaves (drumstick leaves), green gram, pomegranate and fenugreek (methi).
On top of that, I took the prescribed medicine to increase milk supply. All these resulted in hyper lactation.
My body started to produce much more breast milk than my baby needed.
Problems Associated With Breastfeeding:
More problems started to come in.
My baby started to gag, choke, gasp and cough while nursing. Milk was coming too fast and it seemed really difficult for him to gulp.
While nursing, at least 3-4 times a day he will choke followed by coughing. I remember the two times when milk came out of his nose. I know it’s normal, but being a first time mother, all these scared me.
Each time he choked or gasped, I started to cry. I felt I was doing something wrong.
I felt defeated, helpless, frustrated. All these started to affect me.
I started to get afraid of nursing. I insisted my mother to be with me every time I nursed him.
It was a very difficult time. I always nursed him in a sitting position holding him almost upright.
It was a pain to see my little one choke and arch-back. I also had to deal with an engorged leaky breast and sore nipples. But I didn’t give up breastfeeding.
Thanks to my mother who helped and supported me to pass through this tough experience. It took almost 3-4 months for Reyhan and me to get adjusted to breastfeeding.
I should say he had a huge appetite. He would nurse every one and a half hours for almost 40 to 45 minutes.
An engorged leaky breast, sore nipples, restless days, sleepless nights, a gagging and choking baby. I have learned from experience that breastfeeding is not an easy thing.
What These Unpleasant Experiences About Breastfeeding Taught Me?
Today I pat myself on the back for not giving up on breastfeeding.
Reyhan is now 15 months old and still breastfed. Now he frequently bites me with his new set of emerging pearls.
I should say it hurts like hell 😛 But I am happy and proud that I am breastfeeding my munchkin.
Opting to breastfeed is easy, but to keep on breastfeeding in spite of all the challenges, shows your willingness and determination to provide the best for your little one.
Kudos to all the mothers who are breastfeeding and those who have tried everything they could to do so.
Share with me how was your experience on breastfeeding your baby.
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