My Breastfeeding Journey
Chloe has turned 17 months today and so has my breastfeeding journey. I owe it all to the constant encouragement from my family, the fabulous support system in the form of Facebook group ‘Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers’ and my workplace for allowing me to work from the comfort of my home for an extended period of time. Without these people in my life, I am not sure if I would have had the patience and determination to carry on.
Whoever said it was easy, probably never had the opportunity to breastfeed. Whoever said breastfeeding is given undue importance, clearly isn’t informed enough.
The day my baby was born was the happiest day of my life. However, there are two things that happened that day that I just can’t wrap my head around and stop regretting. My biggest regret is that I never got to have that first beautiful skin to skin or even a fleeting look at my baby for 3 long hours after her being born via C Section. The second being the fact that my baby was formula fed during the first few hours of her life. I wasn’t even advised to try to breastfeed nor did anybody ask for my consent to feed her formula. I do realize that it was mostly due to lack of awareness on my part and partly due to irresponsible behavior of the nursing home staff where I delivered.
It was only after a friend invited me to join the Facebook group ‘Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers’ soon after the birth of my daughter, that I realized what a privilege and blessing it was to be able to breastfeed. It was then that I decided to take this whole breastfeeding journey seriously.
During the last 17 months, I met many mothers who wondered why I was putting myself through this ‘ordeal’ when I could easily substitute with Formula or Cow’s Milk. I want to tell my well meaning friends that Cow milk is overrated. Why would I feed cow milk (that is meant to be consumed by a calf) to my baby when she has 24×7 access to her own mother’s milk, specially when she needs it most?
The next question would be, why not formula, even doctors recommend it! In fact, I actually met a pediatrician who scolded me for letting my baby go hungry by not feeding her formula because of my ‘ego issues’. He stressed that I wasn’t producing enough milk and apparently, it was evident from the face of my crying baby. Needless to say, we never went back to him. None of the other doctors I met thereafter, felt the need to introduce formula and were actually strictly against cow milk for babies under one.
While I do understand that formula might be life saving for many moms out there for several reasons, I have my own equally important reasons for sticking to breast milk for my baby. We all do the best we can for our babies.
I am now proud to say that I have breastfed at airports, during flights, in the train, at malls and at my workplace etc. without any qualms and I haven’t looked back since. We are going strong and my baby will continue to breastfeed for as long as she chooses to.