During my pregnancy, I had learnt a lot about breastfeeding benefits from my own research as well as in the Nine Months classes. Yet, so many people had told me scary stories of sore nipples, latching problems, low supply and other issues, that I could only keep my fingers crossed, wondering what my fate would be.
Luckily for me, within an hour after my Caesarean, my baby latched on, and almost effortlessly, she was able to suck a few precious drops! That moment remains one of my most cherished memories till today! No doubt, the first few weeks were hard because of sore nipples. I must have tried everything – right from lanolin cream to tea bags… But with each passing day, both my little one and I gained experience, and we started getting better and better at our new found skill.
Many people (read the elder generation relatives!) advised me to give the baby a bottle of formula, saying that she would sleep longer, giving me a chance to rest. But I followed my instinct and avoided this, turning a deaf ear to all those well-wishers. Throughout the sleepless nights I reminded myself that it was a sacrifice of just a few months, and that this was perhaps the most precious gift I would ever be able to give my baby. … After all not only is breast milk the most nutritious option for a baby, it is also a great immunity provider and an IQ enhancer.
As things turned out, at about eight weeks, my hard work paid off and my angel started sleeping six hours at a stretch in the nights! I’m sure she would not have slept a wink more even if she was formula fed! It was equally miraculous for me that within six months I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight, despite having put on 14 kgs during pregnancy. Breastfeeding had a major role to play in this for sure and I began to understand the benefits of breastfeeding.
I also found nursing to be one of the most convenient (not to mention free!) way to feed your baby – no warming or sterilizing required… Just one nursing cover or stole, and you are good to go! Even now that my daughter is eight months old and takes solids, if we are going out for a few hours, I prefer to nurse her rather than carry bibs, feeding bowls, food and water. And we are both equally happy with this arrangement!
For all you mums-to-be out there, all I can say is, don’t overthink this… And if you face any problems when the time comes, there will be lactation consultants, breast pumps, nipple shields and loads of stuff to help you out. Breastfeeding has many benefits and can definitely be one of the most magical experiences of your life, your most prized memory associated with motherhood. It is undoubtedly one of the best ways to comfort your baby and bond with her – an exclusive one-on-one time when nobody can question you… So go for it – be an “ebf” mom, and you won’t regret your decision for sure!