BEFORE THE JOURNEY

 

Well the journey started from my husband, Mr. M (actual name has been disguised to avoid embarrassment!) who was breastfed up to 3 years old. He is fully aware of the benefits and importance of breastfeeding. I have read that breastfeeding instills good bonding between mom and baby. I started to believe it when I saw the fantastic relationship which my husband and his mom have till today (which I’m jealous of sometimes!).

 

So, even before marriage, he had requested me to be a homemaker. I did not know that his “hidden agenda” was to get me to breastfeed our would-be babies. I agreed to all his requests – as how all “good Indian” girls are supposed to.

 

Exactly 9 months after marriage we received news, not a very encouraging one…I had to go through a surgery for ovarian cysts. It shocked everyone, especially me because I was really trying to conceive a baby at that time. After I recovered from the surgery, the doctor informed us that I had very minimal chances to conceive naturally. For 3 years we went through a tough time emotionally and physically, we sought both medical treatments and prayers. After a few failed attempts, I finally conceived my first baby through IUI treatment. I was ‘on top of the world’ with joy and excitement the day I saw the heartbeat of my baby on the ultrasound. (Probably as excited if not more than how James Cameron felt winning the Oscar award for Titanic!)

So, that was the moment I really thought hard of giving something special for my precious baby – BREASTFEEDING. My husband supported me and later he ‘revealed’ to me his “hidden agenda” of keeping me at home from beginning of our marriage.

 

My mother-in-law gave me good support and shared her experience and knowledge about breastfeeding. She stressed a lot about the baby’s health and the bonding that the baby has with the mom. I read a lot about breastfeeding. I sought information from my friends who breastfed their babies. Susthitha Menon was one of them. She was like a mentor and gave me wonderful and invaluable support. I equipped myself with sufficient knowledge about breastfeeding from wherever possible.

 

Before I headed to the labor room I was 100% sure that I was going to breastfeed my baby. I signed up the form at the labor room and firmly ticked – EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFEEDING thus, totally avoiding any scenario of the milk bottle being given by mistake!

 

 

THE REAL JOURNEY

After 3 hours of labor pain, out came my son weighing 3kg at 9.40pm on Monday 11th Apr 200_. The moment the nurse called me for the first feeding; I immediately got up and tried to walk. It was so hard. The nurse advised me to have a drink and to walk slowly because the baby was not crying yet.

I went to the feeding room where my baby was sent to me. I carried him with a gush of indescribable emotion with my eyes brimming with tears of sheer joy. The nurse taught me how to hold my son and do the feeding, but he was sleeping and was not in the mood to latch on. She said that this is very normal and that he would drink once he feels hungry. I had to go back to my room, I did not have the heart to leave him there – alone in the nursery, without me, his mother.

 

The sad part was that my son was unable to latch on properly; he tended to put the nipple under his tongue when it should be above. (Now I know that there are several reasons as to why this can happen, come to our MMPS meeting to know why!!) I started panicking on Tuesday morning. Tuesday evening the situation became worse – sometimes he would latch on, sometimes not at all. Tuesday night – the situation became critical. The whole night I sat in the feeding room because he was very hungry and crying. But at the same time he was having trouble latching on. The nurses tried all kinds of positions. They panicked too. I had a terrible backache from sitting all night. I totally broke down. But at no point during this situation did I even think of negotiating my decision of breastfeeding him. My husband was also a great support for me throughout this time.

 

On Wednesday morning the pediatrician came, spoke to me and understood my sense of anguish and helplessness. She gave me good guidance and support to continue to breastfeed. She checked my breast and assured me that there is already some milk and that my baby would have got some. I followed her instructions and by evening he was drinking well. But up to 3 months he was struggling for the first latch on of every feeding session. Sometimes it was very painful for me to see him ‘suffering’ to latch on. I had to guide and help him to do it.

 

Well, I thought I could go back home on Thursday but he got jaundice. So, I stayed a few more days at the hospital just to ensure that the breastfeeding process was not interrupted.

 

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

Later the journey was so nice, smooth and sweet. I fed him up to 2 years and 2 months, until I conceived my second baby (I did not know about tandem feeding at that time).He was a healthy baby all the while. He is very close to me and is always cheerful.

 

Then came my second son on 27th Jan 200_. What a different experience! He was able to latch on at his very first feeding session. A mom at the feeding room thought he was more than a day old baby – because he sucking very well. Like his brother, he is still enjoying his mother’s milk at 2 years and 6 months. Maybe he will break his father’s record of having been breastfed by his mother for 3 years.

My advice to all new mothers is breastfeeding is not difficult as how people make it out to be. You just need a little bit of determination to do it. It is the greatest gift of a life time that you can give to your baby.

 

From : Vasumathi Muthuramu, Malaysia

© MMPS. All rights reserved. All images/text cannot be republished.

Advertisements