The things nobody tells a mom-to-be (Part 1 – Breastfeeding )
I still have fresh memories of how I was just before my first baby was born. I had watched scenes in movies of women giving birth and screaming in pain and I had added some of my own fears to it and the result was, I was petrified! On one hand, I could not wait to meet my little baby and on the other, I wanted to push the actual birthing process as far as I could. I wish back then someone had told me, giving birth was the easiest part of the the ride that i had embarked upon!
I don’t really remember much of my labour pains, even though i know it was painful and long. But what i do remember is the toughest time I had in the initial phases of breastfeeding. We have just celebrated the International Breastfeeding Week and though a few days late, I thought I must pen my experience which might help some new mothers in future to be more prepared than I was.
After my baby was born, the nurse came and helped me latch my baby on and establish breastfeeding. My son started suckling and drinking milk and I thought to myself, wow now that is the most wonderful feeling ever. Until we went home and about 3 days later, I was in tears just thinking about the next feeding session. I was exhausted, my body was adjusting to the changes around me, I had cracked and bleeding nipples and every time my son latched on for a feed, I literally saw stars. I wanted to give up that minute and start him on formula feed because I was sure I would collapse in pain at each feeding session. Those have to be the toughest days in my parenting life, till date. Nobody had warned me breastfeeding would be so tough. Nobody had prepared me that the baby would feed all day and all night. All those 9 months all I had prepared myself for was to be strong while giving birth.
I was very lucky to have a very supporting and patient lactation consultant and a very very strong and supporting family who let me cry, who held my hand while I was in pain and encouraged me to not give up! Much to my amazement, I survived those few days till my nipples healed, till I learnt to latch my baby on correctly, till I learnt to enjoy the bonding with my baby through our feeding sessions. We went on to have a year of exclusive breastfeeding and my worst nightmare turned into a beautiful experience that I am sure to cherish for the rest of my life!
So, for all you new moms or moms-to-be, I would just like to say, be prepared for everything, during and after birth. Stay strong. Take help when you feel you need it. Meet a lactation specialist if you feel you are having problems in nursing your little ones and most of all, let your family help you help yourself. Don’t try to be brave and strong at that time. You have your entire life to show how brave you are! And oh yes, do buy a nursing pillow. It is a blessing, especially in those initial days when your body is so tired and your baby wants to feed like, well, a new born 🙂