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In the month of November, 2014, I became a mommy to my daughter and since then my life has changed upside down. My priorities and dreams have changed. Today, I am recalling the birth night of my daughter Shona – nurse came to my room and asked my mother-in-law that the newborn is hungry and crying for milk. She asked her to help me express milk from my breasts. I was hearing all what she was saying and asked how they would express it.
She asked me to open the buttons of my gown to allow them to squeeze my breasts to take out milk for my daughter. I nodded in shock and followed what she said. She then approached me and started doing her work. I clutched my mother-in-law’s hand so tightly and tried holding my tears but could not suppress my screams. We both were looking at each other (me and my mother-in-law); her eyes were trying to assure me that everything will be fine, ‘Be Strong’! Then after lot of trying and pressing, thick and yellow fluid came out.
But it wasn’t sufficient to satiate her hunger of my baby but whatever came, the nurse took it to the nursery to feed my baby through feeding-tube. My daughter was too weak to suck milk on her own so was fed through feeding- tube taken from her nose to stomach. My Doctor informed us that the first milk that mother produces is full of antibodies and immunoglobulin, which helps protect newborns as they come into our world of bacteria and viruses. It’s as though you’re giving her, her first vaccination. (Someone once estimated that if human colostrum could be commercially manufactured with all the same antibodies and immunoglobulin in it, it would cost somewhere around $80 an ounce)
The pressing and crying continued for a few days and almost after 10 days she started sucking my milk on her own. At that moment I was experiencing a whirlwind of emotions – I was overjoyed that now we are doing it the natural way, at the same time I was crying in pain. But I wanted to continue doing it no matter how painful it was; I wanted to stick her to my upper-body till the time she would need me. It was a euphoric moment of my life. I can say at that moment when she put my nipple in her mouth and suck it, that moment I became a complete mother.
I was given breast-feeding lessons by doctor and nurses. Doctors told me to feed the baby with expressed milk more as it would help her gain weight faster. Sucking breast milk requires energy and our focus was to conserve her energy and help her gain weight and flee from the hospital. For almost 4 months, half of her feeds were given with expressed milk so that she could gain weight faster. During that period, I became so obsessed with breastfeeding that I used to eat a lot to produce good milk for my daughter (when you breastfeed you also feel very hungry after every two hour).
I remember when we were in hospital for 13 days, I used to put an alarm after every 1 hour, expressing the milk would take around 45 minutes and chasing nurses and putting the milk in feeding- tube would take almost 15 minutes; the whole process sums up to 2 hours and my daughter right after 2-hour would wake up and cry for mummy’s milk. During initial days, I used to panic a lot, I just could not see her crying for milk but gradually everything became a routine process. I breastfed her for 15 months and I feel I am fortunate for doing this for my baby and I feel special that I am the only one to have that unique feeling with her. It also helped both of us to nurture that special bond with each other.
I would like to thank my doctor, nurses, and especially my MIL (who stood by me like a rock) for supporting me in my breastfeeding journey. Without their support, I would not have passed through this difficult phase of motherhood.
Watch this beautiful video that shows how it takes all of us to raise the healthiest possible generation for tomorrow.