From Giving Up @ 6 Weeks To Breastfeeding For 46 Months: My Breastfeeding Story

This mom’s breastfeeding journey and the amazing mother-son bond she built will give you serious goals!

The end that was the beginning

It was past midnight, my son was 6 weeks old and I was ready to give up on breastfeeding. With cracked and oozing nipples, I shuddered at the thought of the next feed.

Surprisingly, we had been off to a good start to our breastfeeding journey. Though I had had an emergency c-section, my son was brought to me within the first hour, and he latched on like he knew exactly what to do. I remembered having looked down in awe at this tiny one through my hazy drugged induced eyes. We had learnt how to latch and hold for the next couple of days and were ready by the time we were discharged from the hospital.

KSP #WorldBreastfeedingWeek Special- Click here to read now! 

But, at around 5 weeks we hit a rocky patch, a path filled with thorns and jagged rocks. My son started biting and clamping down at every feed. He was pulling off violently and crying. I had forgotten how to hold him, how to get him to latch and was in severe pain. I decided to go down the formula road.

Instead, on the advice of an older cousin, I visited a lactation consultant the next day. Within a couple of minutes, she identified the problem and gave me a couple of things to try and voila! Within a few feeds, we were a professional breastfeeding couple again and continued to feed for almost 4 years!

Curious to know what she told me? That I had an issue of oversupply or overactive letdown and to try reclining and feeding him or to try block feeding. Block feeding is when you feed on the same breast multiple times to reduce the overall supply. And it thankfully worked!

Not a number game!

WHO recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed till 6 months and then to continue to be breastfed till 2 years. But be prepared for the shooting squad if you decide to do breastfeed after the first-year mark.

“It is just like water to him! No use anymore.”

“You are STILL feeding him!!.”

You will have to hear this and more when you do extended breastfeeding. It is difficult to counter each one with

“Isn’t water the most precious of them all?”

That is why you will need a village of like-minded mothers who are eager to help out with their experience, knowledge and support like in the Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers Facebook group. They were my pillars of strength, my backbone of breastfeeding know-how. And I recommend all you going to be or breastfeeding mothers to join this wonderful group.

I did not breastfeed till he was 46 months(yes that is a long time!) because WHO recommended it or because of the innumerable benefits(like bonding and immunity and it is great during times when the kid is sick). But, that is what felt right and natural to me. Was it easy? No! There were days when “I want to break free” played like a thought loop. There were times I hated the high level of co-dependence. However, I cherished all the exclusive mom-son times and the bonding we shared.

It got really difficult when I got pregnant again. And that is when I felt like I wanted to stop. And I am happy we did.

My two-cents about Breastfeeding

  1. When you are pregnant talk to your doctor about breastfeeding the kid within the first half-hour or one hour.
  2. It is a myth that milk does not come in immediately if you have a c-section. Colostrum, the immune-rich wonder milk which is transparent in colour, is available from the 7th month onwards.
  3. The size of your baby’s tummy on the first day is the size of a marble! A few drops are enough to fill him.
  4. Do not expect breastfeeding to come naturally to you. It is an acquired skill, akin to synchronised swimming, you need to learn how to latch and hold and practice and learn more and the result will be beautiful.
  5. If you encounter problems and you most probably will run to a lactation consultant. The alternative is to post your query in Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers group.
  6. Women need to make self-care a priority. Take care of your health even after the pregnancy and the first 3 months. Most of us tend to let go of ourselves. Drink plenty of fluids, eat nutrition-packed food and get enough rest.
  7. Your baby will not breastfeed forever. I guarantee it. If you decide to let the child self-wean, he will. If you are ready to stop before that, it is up to you. Don’t feel guilty about it.

The choice is yours and your baby’s only to decide how long you are going to breastfeed. Not your neighbours or relatives. Definitely not the breastfeeding enthusiast online spewing breastfeeding gyaan. Not even your parents and the husband.

Do what is best for you and your baby. Happy Breastfeeding Week!

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