My experience in breastfeeding my one and only daughter Divinaa born on 1st June 2006. Here comes my story…..

 

Why did I choose to breastfeed?

The answer is simple: I wanted the best for my baby. It had taken us three years to conceive this little miracle. I started reading all about pregnancy and baby care and joined discussion forums on the internet if the topic was pregnancy. I also enrolled myself in ante-natal classes. One of the topics covered was breastfeeding. I found it useful and very informative. As the pregnancy advanced, so did my knowledge of breastfeeding. By the end of nine months, breastfeeding was no longer a matter of choice. I realised even the pamphlets produced by formula companies said breast milk is best!

 

Then came the birth, and the beginning of my battles. First, I opted for total breastfeeding and so the hospital staff did not offer the bottle to my baby. When my milk flow did not come in by the end of the second day, I was really anxious but was told this is normal and that a newborn with a good birth weight always had “reserve”. Next the paediatrician, who had earlier supported my decision to exclusively breastfeed, suggested formula supplementation for my baby for few days because my baby had high jaundice. He said it was necessary to help clear the bilirubin from the baby’s system. So, glucose was introduced with two feedings of soya based formula. I felt low and distraught.

 

Even though, there was no milk supply yet, I let my baby suckle at my breast to stimulate the milk flow. Initially, my newborn needed a little guidance while latching on. Then much to my relief, my milk supply started in the late afternoon on the fourth day.

 

But when I went home on the fifth day, a new set of problems cropped up. My baby wanted to nurse   almost every hour! She would not only cry but “scream” if I did not put her to the breast fast enough. I felt like a milk dispenser and wondered whether my baby getting enough milk. I even wondered whether there was any milk! Luckily, I called my ante-natal class instructor Mdm. Teoh from the Lam Wah Ee Hospital. She calmed me and said my milk was coming and that the baby was just doing her job, latching as much as she could to increase my milk supply. The best advice she gave was in reminding me to RELAX and enjoy my baby. It was such a relief talking to her.

 

I will not say breastfeeding is a breeze, especially during the confinement period. While still physically recovering from childbirth, I had to get up an average of four to five times every night to nurse my newborn. Breastfeeding babies move their bowels more often and so my husband and I found ourselves waking up a few times each night to clean our girl and change her diapers.

 

I also received a lot of comments like “Is there enough milk for the baby?”, “How long do you want to breastfeed?” “Are you still breastfeeding her, is she getting all the nutrition?” the list goes on. The worst was from a sales girl in a hypermarket who promoted formula milk. She commented that my girl is already old enough and I should’nt still be breastfeeding, in fact breastfeeding should now be replaced with formula which, according to her, helps to improve her IQ, EQ and all kinds of Qs! I could’nt spend time explaining to her the higher quality of mother’s milk over formula. Later I filed a complaint to a breastfeeding support group on the type of false campaigning being done in the market.

 

But then again, I have set my mind to give my child what I know is best for her and so nothing will allow me to give up breastfeeding. Not when I see my newborn becoming such a natural at the breast as each day goes by. Not when I see those cries being soothed immediately when she is nursed. Not when I see that contented smile on her face after her hunger has been satisfied. Not when I feel our bond getting stronger each day.

 

Weaning

My original target was to breastfeed my baby for at least a year, then it was increased to 2 years but finally I only weaned her when she was 2 years and 8 months. The reason of course, is because breastfeeding just gets easier with time, especially since I’m a stay-home mum. However, I intended to gradually wean her off since I decided to go back to work.

 

What is it that I enjoy most about breastfeeding and mothering? Breastfeeding is wonderful as it’s free, convenient and hassle free. It has also helped me lose weight fast, made me feel ‘indispensable’ to my baby and of course, it’s great to hear comments from others about how strong and healthy my daughter looks because of the fact that she’s breastfed! Mothering is tougher than going out to work, but it’s definitely much more rewarding too. Though the rewards are mostly, if not all, intangible, her spontaneity, smile, hugs and kisses more than make up for all the lost sleep, her naughtiness etc. Not only that, mothering is fun as I get to see her taking her first step, get to know her really well as I’m with her so much.

 

If a new mother were to ask me how to succeed at breastfeeding, I will advise her to equip herself with knowledge on the subject by reading, attending talks and talking to experienced mothers before the baby arrives. Latch the baby on frequently to stimulate the milk supply. Have skin to skin contact. Most importantly, have the determination and conviction that breastfeeding is best for your baby!

 

I am very happy that I made the decision to breastfeed my daughter even though I regret few times for weaning her off too soon. I am also thankful and fortunate to have a supportive husband. I also received lots of support from my mum and one more person that I will never forget in my life is my sis-in-law Adeline Jayshankar who was there to share her experience, clear all my doubts and queries. Adeline was my role model who had successfully breastfed her two kids who are 19 and 16 now. I hope all mothers will try to breastfeed their babies and enjoy the wonderful bond breastfeeding mothers have with their babies. Here, I end my story with Go Green! Go Green! One way is through Breastfeeding.

 

Last but not least a poem for my darling daughter Divinaa Aravinthan…here it comes;

 

I’m blessed;

Breastfeeding is so special to me

It’s just between Divinaa and me

It’s an art we learn together

That we can share whatever the weather

 

I’m blessed;

To remember the first suckle of my baby

It’s an excellent moment for her daddy

He knew that we were going to succeed

Since he’s there for all our needs

 

I’m blessed;

Though there have been hard times along the way

I could never quit, knowing she’s getting the best anyway

 

I’m blessed; 

The months have flown by

Divinaa’s 4th birthday just passed by

50 months of her happiness and smile

Have made breastfeeding all worth while

 

Divinaa;

Sometimes you have asked me why ‘amma’ stopped

Remember dear when there is a start there is a stop

I sit and dream and I hold in my heart

The time I spent giving her the Best it’s actually a good start

 

I love you my darling….

I love you Divinaa….

Being a mum is a promotion;

Being a breastfeeding mum is a graduation. 

 

 

From : Jeya Aravin, Malaysia

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