“A newborn has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three.”
-Dr. Grantly Dick-Read
Every woman who has ever wanted to be a mother has at some point or the other given a thought about breastfeeding their child. Be it a first-time mother or moms for the second, third or more no. of times, working moms or SAHMs, making decisions about breastfeeding has surely crossed your mind.
Doctors, paediatricians and other researchers have always been stressing so much on the importance and benefits of mothers’ milk compared to formula and other baby food supplements. There is not an ounce of doubt that the whole experience is exceedingly enriching and fulfilling, not only for the baby but also for the mother. Someone once rightly said, ‘Any milk can fill a baby’s tummy. But breastmilk fills the soul of both baby and mother’.
I cannot stress enough on how gratifying an experience it was to have been able to breastfeed my son for two years. Initially, like many moms, I too faced difficulties in this regard. I had had a caesarean section and for the first two days, I couldn’t even turn on my side, let alone sit upright and hold my baby for a good latching position.
Although he had shown strong sucking reflexes, he had to be given formula via syringes for those two days, as I had not developed a proper flow of milk until the third day. But by then he had gotten so used to the direct feed, that he just wouldn’t latch on to the breast and feed naturally.
We started trying every trick in the book. But nothing seemed to be working for us. I was so tired and drained of all my energy and added to it was the sight of my crying baby and the guilt of not being able to breastfeed properly. All this got me so bogged down, that it made me want to give up and switch entirely to formula.
But all thanks to the nurses and above all, the newbie daddy who did not let that happen. He just would not give up. Moreover, he took it upon him as a challenge and made sure it was accomplished. I actually owe this beautiful experience only to him. Imagine holding a newborn baby with both your palms and arms held out, standing and bending forward from your waist and staying still in that position for 20-30 mins so that the baby can latch at the breast and suck comfortably without being shaken too much.
All this with a severe back sprain and for several times during the day and night. By day five our little guy realised that daddy would somehow have it done his way by hook or by crook and this was the only way he would get his meals. So, he finally gave in and decided to do what he ought to be doing as sweet little baby. Honestly, I probably would have had my way with the formula if it weren’t for my adamant husband who was bent on (well, literally) giving our child the best! And what could be better than breastmilk to a newborn?
In support of International Breastfeeding Week, Pregnancy to Parenthood – an online community-driven parenting blog asked some moms to share the funniest/weirdest breastfeeding advice and some of the answers were hilarious. Many moms also shared some annoying experiences whilst breastfeeding their babies. This community activity was done to raise general awareness for new moms to whom breastfeeding experience could be overwhelming.
Most Funny and Annoying Breastfeeding Advice
- I was once told that if I’ve been out in the sun for a while, I shouldn’t breastfeed immediately after coming in. Apparently, the milk has SPLIT and I should express a little and throw it away. I only split into laughter on hearing that. Because the only thing that ‘splits’ on being in the sun for long is my head.
- A woman once advised that if my milk supply was less, I should serve a little of my breastmilk to a kitten in order to increase the flow. It was beyond my understanding. Thankfully she didn’t ask me to do vice versa. Guess I would have fainted at that.
- A neighbour advised me not to breastfeed my baby if my hair was still wet after a shower. The baby could catch a cold if I did. The only question that came to my mind was, ‘what has my hair got to do with my breasts?’
I am sure every new mom has at least once come across self-proclaimed dieticians and nutritionists especially in our country who don’t hesitate to give their advice on what to eat and what not to. This can be really daunting to the already exhausted and vulnerable new mother.
- I was asked not to have lemons, pickles or anything sour while breastfeeding. I ended up breastfeeding my son for more than 3 years whilst having my fair share of my lemonades, lassi and pickles during that phase.
- Someone said that gassy foods like eggs, cauliflower, potatoes and peas should be avoided as it can lead to the baby having gas in the tummy. Sorry but ‘Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khaungi Ande’ (I will eat eggs every day).
- It was so funny when a lady told me not to eat bitter gourd. She said “tumhara dudh kadwa hoga” (your milk will become bitter).
Breastfeeding is a very private and personal moment for the mother and her baby. There has to be a quiet and peaceful atmosphere where both need to be at ease. Breastfeeding in public or private, just leave the mother and baby alone. Period.
- At a function, my baby was getting very cranky. A lady came upto me and said, “agar tumko dudh nhi aata toh main pila du tumhare bachhe ko?” (should I breastfeed your baby if you aren’t getting enough milk?). And mind you that lady was over 50. No jokes. I reacted in the same way as you just did. Clueless!
- Many times, my friends would be sitting and chatting with me while I was feeding my baby. I just hated that. Feeding is a personal time for baby and mom where no one should interrupt unless there is some unavoidable urgency.
- I used to be surrounded by so many ladies at a time who used to come to visit the newborn even when I had to feed my baby. Nobody bothered to excuse me. I used to hate this, but could never mention it to anybody. Also, in the initial days, when my baby was not able to suck properly, my breasts were pressed by at least two people with a bowl placed under. I used to feel like a cow.
Thanks to the efforts of all the paediatricians, gynaecologists, nutritionists, researchers and activists who work towards educating people about the importance of breastmilk. Many new mothers in India and around the globe are becoming aware of the vital role that breastmilk has to play in the overall growth and development of the baby. With an attitude of acceptance to breastfeeding, we are not only giving our children the nutrition that they deserve but we’re also aiming towards building a healthier nation in the long run.