My first experience with breastfeeding

Breastfeeding comes naturally to some women while others may be intimidated by it. Luckily for us, we belong to a culture that encourages us to breastfeed. In fact, most cultures today are propagating its benefits. While its benefits are numerous, it is a personal choice for how long a mother may want to, or be able, to feed her baby.

Several studies show breastfeeding helps better develop a child’s emotional stability, personality and even intelligence! What I remember the most is the calming effect it had on our baby and me.

It is amazing how within a few hours of existence a tiny baby, with eyes still closed can instinctively move in for a feed! It can be as simple as that. What follows is often not as simple.

A few weeks post-delivery the continuous feedings, postpartum recovery, mood swings, irritation and exertion kicked in. At the same time my daughter was keeping erratic hours, and we were not in the best of places physically or emotionally.

That’s when someone suggested that I purchase an electric breast pump. It would help in allowing me to have bottles that could be given to her if I was not around. I read up on how to extract and freeze the milk in bottles. And just like that we had a new routine, freedom and most of all more sleep.

Soon she was a six month old baby and her paediatrician suggested that we introduce her to ‘dal ka paani’ and cereals slowly.

I cannot describe the relief I felt when I got a break from continuously feeding her. I suddenly felt a lot more energetic and she was happier and ‘fuller’ too. That is when I realized it was time to research again.

This time to check the optimum age until which a baby should be breastfed. How long a mother breast feeds her child may depend on a number of factors, health of the mother, temperament, official commitments, or even on whether the first second or third pregnancy.

During a conversation with my daughter’s paediatrician it was mentioned that the longer I breastfed my baby, the better it would be as her immunity would be stronger and she would be healthier. That is how I decided to continue feeding our first born until she was 18-20 months.

Time flew, and she was soon two. She now ate almost the same food as us and I was literally comfort food for her! She no longer needed me to feed her unless it was nap time. I must admit it was getting embarrassing too, as she now publically announced her needs! I realized that weaning her off was now my priority.

One evening when she wanted to feed and I informed her that there was no more milk, to which she innocently replied that we could get more from the market!

Weaning her off, luckily for me was as easy as her first feed, and I can only be thankful for that.

Every mother has a different experience with breastfeeding; what has yours been like?

This article is written by Celes Care – India’s first Online Health Clinic for Women.

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