I still clearly remember that day. We were waiting in the reception lobby of the paediatric ward to meet my daughter’s paediatric doctor and while my mother was managing her diaper bag I was holding my 2 months old baby, now sucking hungrily at her fingers. Then suddenly she wailed as if to say “ can’t you see mommy that I am hungry?” I quickly took out her bottle, mixed her formula with warm water and offered it to her. She immediately took in the nipple into her tiny mouth and started hungrily sucking at the teat, while grumbling, as if highly offended with the delay, whatever few minutes it might have been! But soon, I had my share of breastfeeding difficulties.
Suddenly her doctor entered and walked in a hurry towards her chamber, while giving us a glance while crossing. Since we were number 1 in the waitlist, in a couple of minutes time we were told by the lady at the reception to enter the chamber. I tried to the take the bottle out from my daughter’s mouth but she let out a loud cry of objection to which I quickly let her continue her feed.
Once we entered her room and settled down, the first thing that the doctor asked was “ why are you giving her a bottle?” “ Is it breastmilk that she is having?” Her tone and question both were quite sharp! I took a deep breath and told her “ doctor, she doesn’t take my feed, I have tried many times, but she cries, wails struggles but won’t take my feed…actually…….” You mothers have become too lazy these days”, the doctor cut me short with an annoyance in her voice and I was sad that she didn’t understand my breastfeeding difficulties.
“Are you aware breast milk is the best for your baby?, I request you, start trying breastfeeding again. If required let her go hungry, but breastmilk it should be !” She said quite bluntly. I nodded my head and after getting my daughter checked for cough and cold, silently left the room and headed back home with many things playing at the back of mine mind.
When my daughter was born, I had plenty of milk supply, to the extent my hospital gowns kept getting wet and had to be changed time and again. My daughter did have latching issues initially because of which I used to pump my milk and give it to her in the hospital, which later got solved by the help of a lactation specialist. All went well and she was completely on my feed, when suddenly one day I developed UTI. It was quite severe and I was put on antibiotics. My doctor suggested to reduce her breastfeeding to once or twice a day and give formula for the rest of the times. I had no option but to start doing that and then once my antibiotics course got over I decided to start breastfeeding exclusively once again.
But unfortunately for me, when I tried to breastfeed her, she refused! I initially thought maybe she is just throwing a tantrum but soon realised it was more serious than that. I had many breastfeeding difficulties. Every feeding session turned out to be a nightmare for me. She would cry in hunger and whenever I would try to breastfeed her, she would immediately turn her face and push me away with whatever little strength she had in her tiny hands. She would stay hungry and keep crying but not want my milk. Since she stopped sucking my milk supply also started going down. One day my mother told me’ stop struggling every day, every time. Let it be.” That day half-heartedly I gave up. She was happy but somehow my peace of mind was gone. My thoughts were suddenly disrupted when my daughter wailed again for milk. We had also just reached home and with a broken heart, I prepared her feed. But somehow the doctor’s words kept haunting me and i decided to try once at breastfeeding before offering the bottle.
Anticipating dejection once again, I offered her my breast. Suddenly she grabbed the same and started sucking away. I couldn’t believe it. Tears started flowing down my cheeks and I thanked God silently. After a half an hour of feed, she fell off asleep in my lap. I tried to put her on her bed just to realize that her tiny fingers were grasped around one of my fingers. I really felt as if she was trying to tell me “ It’s okay mama…I know it’s not your fault, you had tried your best, but I was the one naughty. I will not let anyone scold you again”. I smiled at her tiny face while kissing her forehead lovingly. After that day I breastfed her for almost 2 years without any other problems. But this incident taught me a few things.
Never stop trying. Babies too have their reasons and mood swings. Incase you can’t breastfeed your child for some reason, take a break but try again later. Don’t let the gap become too long, otherwise the milk supply decreases. Last but not the least, breastfeeding helps to build an amazing bond between a mother and her child. Enjoy every moment of it.
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