I was clueless about the journey ahead of my pregnancy. All I knew was that I had to breastfeed my baby, but I did not have any idea what it takes.
At 1 AM on 25th March 2015, my water broke and we rushed to the hospital. My due date was on 27th March 2015 so I had to have a C-Section after a 12-hour grueling labor. I went into a voluntary C-Section because I just couldn’t wait and bear the pain for another 12 hours which my doctor predicted. After the delivery, fortunately, the lactation counselor at the hospital, who was a pro in the best practices for breastfeeding, helped me and I hooked on to her guidance instantly. Within an hour after birth, I was immediately asked to feed the baby. I was lucky that V was a pro at latching and we did not face any issue. She also had the benefit of Colostrum, the first drops of milk! I was guided and counseled to feed baby on demand. No clock, no timings, no formula milk. Good diet and good water to help make milk for the baby. No water, no honey, no food for the first 6 months of breastfeeding. Just breastmilk! I just went with the flow and fed her whenever she wanted. She did not develop any jaundice or any other kind of deficiency which babies are so vulnerable to in the first few days. This was the start of a journey I now cherish.
A few months of no sleep, feeding round the clock on demand, co-sleeping with baby, waiting for the sleep cycle to set in was now drifting me towards back to work phase. Just then my dear friend from school Shraddha (who is an inspiring mom today), introduced me to this wonderful NGO – BSIM: Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers. It had all the right basics which I was following. They motivated mothers to not give up breastfeeding at least for 2 yrs. I had not thought of this then. I knew 6 months is for sure, but beyond that, I had no plan. This NGO helped me stay motivated and to keep going on. I and V enjoyed our time traveling, playing, working all with breastfeeding going strong. I never had a cranky, crying V. She would demand “piki” as she called it, and I would abide. She would always be happy and content. It’s just not food for babies/toddlers, it’s much much more.
We also learned how to breastfeed in public. We learned how to store milk and use it when I had to step out for work. We learned baby weaning and feeding during baby weaning. We joined BSIM for Bangalore based activities, to spread the awareness, to reach out and
help other mothers go on a stronger journey for better and good. I made some amazing mommy friends through this journey who are incredible in helping mothers. It all helped me and V sustain the breastfeeding journey until she was 3.5 yrs old.
It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. When I look back and reflect on this journey and how V has developed over the years, I wholeheartedly credit breastfeeding. V has been a very active, playful and a quick learner. She has a special bond with me.
I try my best to connect every new mother to this wonderful journey. It makes such a big difference in the child’s overall development and less hassle for mothers to sail through those initial years. It’s the best gift a mother can give to her child. And we as a society can make all the difference for mothers to go strong on this much-needed journey. I am all in to be that person to help another like me.