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I would say that a relaxed mind is the key to a healthy flow of milk. No doubt, those around you contribute towards that bit. I am someone who kept my baby on breast milk solely for the first six months of his life. And to say the least, I am very proud of this.
Initially like any other new mom, I have had a fair share of hiccups and roadblocks. No matter how much you and your family educate yourself on the birth and the life thereafter, the best teacher will always be a personal experience. Pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood is journey full of mystery right from the very beginning. It is highly unpredictable. I am someone whom the doctors wheeled in for a Caesarean section, but I gave birth naturally in the most sterile environment ever. I felt an urge to push as soon as I was laid on the operation table and the nurses began fixing the different lines on me. But thereafter what followed was not so pleasant. I had to use a nipple shield to bring out one of my retracted nipple. Since the baby is only immune to the mother's flora, anything is considered infectious. Every time before and after the use of nipple shield, we had to sterilise it. During the day, we found it ok. But at night, it took its toll on us especially being new parents. I also had some mishaps with my stitches. I had to get it re-sutured a couple more times before it healed completely. I found it very painful to sit and feed my son. I felt helpless and spend most of days crying. I am pretty certain on retrospect that it was my mental health which didn’t trigger enough milk flow. I was given a powder to get my milk flowing. That did help, but deep down, I was not happy because I felt nobody understood my pain or how I felt.
A week later when we went for check up, the paediatrician said that my son had not gained enough weight. I was worried and that was when my mother insisted that we feed him liquid diet after a month. I felt responsible for what was happening to my baby. I knew about the dangers of introducing food when their digestive system is not equipped to handle anything except milk for the first six months of life. And before even turning three months, mother wanted him to pile up a few extra kilos.
I then realized that rather than focusing on taking care of the new, helpless life before me, I was focusing entirely on the pain I was going through. My priorities were not set right. I was worried if my stitch would turn infectious. To be honest, I was even scared whether I would die if some flesh-eating bacteria made its way through my wound. So I started to defocus from my wound and started focusing more on my baby. The wound healed, my pain reduced and I was able to eventually sit comfortably. Then, I was actually able to watch and enjoy while my baby fed on my milk. I sang to him, stroked his hair gently and rocked him. He began gaining on the lost pounds and everyone around was happy.
My support system comprised of my mother and husband. I wouldn’t say they were not that great. Everyone has their limitations. I don’t know what I had expected from them, so I cannot judge them. But to change yourself, you have to look within and find out where exactly the block lies. They did everything they could, for my well-being. In my case, my emotional block slowed down my milk production. But when I rectified that, the flow became abundant. Though a few family elders and my mother suggested that I start solid feed after three months, I stuck to my decision to not introduce anything except my milk till he turned six months. My husband supported and respected my choice.
I am one happy mother who is proud to share that I fed my baby till he turned 1 year and 9 months. He then weaned himself off my feed. That shows a sign of independence I believe.