Breastfeeding: your stories

Here is Tarana’s breastfeeding story. You can find her over at Sand in my Toes:

Tarana Pic

I made the mistake many first-time moms do. I thought breastfeeding was as ‘natural’ as giving birth. Well, I ended up with an emergency C-section, and having to supplement in the first ten days.

I was unprepared for being separated from my baby after birth. He was given formula milk during that time, and I felt like a bad mother already. Of course, I wanted to breastfeed, but my little boy would scream every time I tried. He was frustrated because he was ravenous, and just couldn’t latch on. The doctors kept telling me to breastfeed, but disappointingly, offered no support on how I was to overcome my problem. They didn’t have a lactation consultant or even a breast pump at the hospital. I hated myself for not having discussed this beforehand. My focus had always been on the birth itself, and now, I felt completely helpless.

The cycle of screaming continued with every attempt to breastfeed, and by then, I was happily giving formula to my baby because I was dazed and tired post-surgery, and I couldn’t see any other way out. Once back home, I had some success with pumped milk, but I continued trying to breastfeed. His latch improved slightly (I think the pumping had actually helped), but apparently, he was still hungry, so we continued to supplement.

I thought I would never be able to exclusively breastfeed, and having been denied a natural birth, I wasn’t too happy. One doctor’s visit a week after birth changed everything. We took my son for a check-up and the paediatrician advised me to keep trying to breastfeed and eliminate the bottle completely. My supply would fall short otherwise, she warned me.

Something about what she said clicked, and I made a few decisions. One, I completely stopped giving formula. Two, I would try to breastfeed before he actually started crying. I fed him every hour. I didn’t think about schedules or hunger signs. I just followed my instincts. Somehow, our troubles ended, and we were doing fine! I was relieved to have overcome our initial hurdles despite the lack of professional help.

I have read many stories of mothers who gave up breastfeeding early on because they didn’t receive the right kind of support. I learned that it is only in the rarest of cases that a mother is medically to breastfeed. Usually, the hindrances to breastfeeding come in the form of a wrong latch, flat nipples, or a lip tie. My advice to new mothers is to have a lactation consultant on speed dial! In fact, it would be a good idea get in touch with your local La Leche League chapter during pregnancy, even if it is not your first. There is no debating that breastmilk is supreme nourishment for a baby’s first six months. A little perseverance (with the right support) can really pay off in achieving this.

I am happy to say that although I initially wanted to breastfeed only for six months, and later, a year – I am still breastfeeding my two year old. We are ready to start weaning him off now, but it’s been an incredible journey of bonding and love.

Tarana Khan (or just TK!) is mom to a toddler. She loves writing and has done her stints as a copywriter, reporter and content editor, before embracing parenthood full time. She blogs at Sand In My Toes, where you can drop by to read more of her parenting and other adventures! You can also catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Google+.

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