My breastfeeding journey

This post is in the light of the World Breastfeeding Week celebrated from 1st to 7th August in more than hundred countries. In this blog, I will tell my story of breastfeeding my little one. Though breastfeeding has innumerable benefits, feeding formula to babies is also good. What alone matters is that the baby is fed and is healthy and happy. I do not wish to hurt the sentiments or emotions of parents who give formula to their babies. I believe parents always know the best for their little ones.

Though my pregnancy had no complications except for a slight raise in my liver enzymes (it got fixed with medicines), I did not actually think beyond safely giving birth to a healthy child. I had read about breastfeeding and its benefits, I was not sure I would be able to do it.

My journey of breastfeeding started from the day my daughter Anunya was born. I had a c-section birth at 39th week of my pregnancy (since the doctors suspected the weight of my baby was above 3.2 kg; they were right, she was 3.5!). After 30 minutes of delivery, I was shifted from the OT to the maternity ward. Soon after, my little one was brought to me for the first feed. Surprisingly, she latched well right away. I was elated as I looked at the tiny head.

I continued breastfeeding her exclusively for the first six months. As the doctors advised, we did not give her any other solid/ liquid food for those six months. In our community, we conduct a ceremony when the baby eats solids for the first time at 6 months of age. We call it the ‘annaprashan/ rice-eating ceremony’. So we had this ceremony in which I fed my daughter her first solid food, and she smacked her lips as if she wanted more of the sweet rice porridge.

Thereafter, I started feeding Anunya soups and oats porridge, eventually adding more solids to her diet (cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables, fish, eggs and chicken), every month, but continued breastfeeding as well.

For me, breastfeeding gave me great benefits, the most important of which was the bond between me and my child. I believe it has helped me bond with my little one from the first instant. Another important aspect was it has always helped me calm and soothe her. Since breastfeeding burns calories, it has helped me lose all the weight gained during pregnancy real fast. Besides there are several long-term health benefits associated with breastfeeding. Also, the pediatrician believes that since breastmilk has effective antibodies, it is advisable to continue breastfeeding as long as the mother and the child decide.

Now, was my journey easy? No, it was not. During the initial months when I had people to help me with the baby, I could manage things easily. But then the pandemic struck. There was hardly any help at home. With all the chores and managing the baby, it was difficult. I had some really bad days. I had emotional meltdowns, mental breakdowns and health issues. My husband is the only support I have had, and it was his care and helping hand, and of course his humour that helped me sail through difficult days.

My daughter is 21 months old now, so along with all the age appropriate regular diet recommended by her pediatrician, I have continued breastfeeding her. I intend to wean her off by the time she is two years old, since the pediatrician and also the WHO highly recommends breastfeeding for the first two years. I do not know how much our breastfeeding journey will benefit my little one in her future, but for me it has been an emotional, loving and fulfilling journey and I am thankful for this blessing!

Disclaimer: This post is a personal experience of breastfeeding, and is not against formula feeding babies. Whether we choose to formula feed, breastfeed, pump and feed, or even use a combination of both, all that matters is that our babies are fed, happy and healthy! ❤

3 comments

  1. She is adorable! I agree as long as baby is fed, it’s no one’s concern. I didn’t know it was national breastfeeding week! I breastfed my first born until she was 1 years old and my second born until she was 2 years old. I agree the journey isn’t easy. I had sore, cracked bloody nipples.

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  2. Your little human is adorable! I agree, a healthy fed baby is the best kind of baby! My daughter (currently 3yo) was breastfed for the first 4 weeks of her life then formula fed (and had pumped breast milk intermittently for 9 months thereafter). I didn’t focus on what type of milk she was drinking because I knew a happy baby overall was best for baby and mama! 🙂

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