The most beautiful and equally challenging part of motherhood is breastfeeding the newborn. I breastfed my first child for 15 months and have been exclusively breastfeeding the second one for the past 7 months. Now that, we have already celebrated second one’s half-birthday, I have started offering some solids to her. The one cue that newborns give when they are ready for solids is they will look at you when you eat something and sometimes, they will reach your hand and mouth and try putting it in their mouth. My baby is doing this quite often lately. I prefer having my meals when she is playing or during her nap time. Now that she started her solids, I feel bit relaxed. Breastfeeding takes a toll on a new mother. It is exhausting and time-consuming. During my first time, I used to feel exhausted all the time and my knees and forearms would hurt all the time. I used to think that I have got some joint problem but when I stopped breastfeeding her, all the pains just vanished. The thing is I was taking care of her single-handedly with minimal outside help; also I never gave her top-feed and never pumped and stored my breast-milk to feed her with bottles. It was purely ‘on demand’ and ‘instant supply’ that we (me and my munchkin) followed. However, this time, with my second one, I have changed my mothering style and feel quite relaxed and chilled out. Below are the following changes that I incorporated this time that helped me in overcoming the breastfeeding challenges a lot.
Do everything possible to embrace ‘Normal Delivery’
I know it is not in our hands to go for normal delivery but one should do everything possible to go for it. Ask your doctors, read about it and do things that help and prepare you for a natural birth. Trust me; you really do not know its benefits until you experience it. I, too, was of the opinion that ‘c-sec is the new normal’ but when I, myself, experienced the natural birth process during the second time that now I suggest normal delivery to all the moms-to-be. The first benefit of natural birth is you can easily sit and stand in the next 24 hours after the delivery, unlike c-sec. So, physically and emotionally, it is less taxing and leaves you more available for the newborn. By God’s grace, this time, me and my newborn could start the breastfeeding the first moment I saw her. My first daughter was too weak to suck milk on her own so was fed through feeding-tube taken from her nose to stomach, for the first 7-10 days. I remember how I used to express milk for her and then feed her during the initial days. The whole process was so overwhelming and would leave me tired throughout.
Dedicate yourself to your newborn for the first 6-months
When you become a first-time mother, you are also born as a new mother. You too are new to everything. You are naive and not used to anything that a mother is supposed to do for her child. Sometimes you are on cloud nine and sometimes, you cry for nothing. A whirlwind of hormones is to be blamed for this. But as an experienced mom, my suggestion to new moms is let’s dedicate yourself to your newborn for the first 6 months. Love her, take care of her every second and while doing all this, remind yourself that this moment won’t come again. First 6 months are crucial for a baby’s growth and development and a baby should be exclusively breastfed during these months. I made sure that my both daughters were exclusively breastfed in the initial months and only, introduced top-feed in second one’s case when I had to go for something important at work. It was when she was 5 months old. During the first one’s case, I completely forgot myself and did not give priority to anything else, which would make me sad and depressed. But this time, I made a little change and introduced top-feed, when I had to attend something important on the work-front. It really worked wonders. Some time off from taking care of her made me happy and more ready for her.
Take outside help and take a balanced nutritious diet
During the first time, I used to cook on my own and was not ready to hire a cook. This way I suffered a lot. I used to eat anything which could be easily cooked and is readily available. Sometimes, I would order in. It really made me compromise on the well-balanced meal and it ultimately would make me more irritated and frustrated all the time. But this time I made sure that I have a permanent cook at home, who would cook tasty, healthy and seasonal food for all of us. Food really gives happiness to your soul. Now I eat all full meals and ensure a good supply of milk for my newborn. See when you live in a nuclear family set up; do not shy away from taking outside help. That’s the only way you can survive and thrive happily with your newborn. You really can’t do it all on your own.
Must have breastfeeding essentials
The only breastfeeding essentials that I used for the first time were nursing bras and breast pads. I never top-feed the first one, never used milk bottles and swore-by not storing expressed milk for her. I totally followed the traditional ways of breastfeeding her. She would 24/7 remain close to my breasts. It was definitely beautiful but too tiring. This time, to remain in peace and sanity, I brought a change in my nursing style and started giving my second one some top-feed using bottles. It is completely safe if you maintain the hygiene. Buy good quality bottles, formula milk, and sterilizer if you really want to give some peace to your breasts. A mix of breastfeeding and top-feeding is a great option for mother and baby both. But while choosing this, make sure that you buy these essentials from a trusted brand. After reading and from some word-of-mouth recommendations, I chose ‘Pigeon’ for all the feeding essentials and I am more than satisfied with using their baby products. It definitely made my breastfeeding journey smoother and easier.
By just following the above things, my breastfeeding journey with the second one has been not that tough like during the first time. I am sure, by following all this; any new mom can also alleviate the pain out of breastfeeding.
Take care mamma and have a happy motherhood journey to you!
Note: This article was originally published by me here.