Breastfeed: Give the Gift of a Lifetime to Your Baby

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mom and daughter

It was a cold winter night when my water broke, I knew I am about to deliver. We rushed to the nursing home amniotic fluid running between my thighs when the Gynaec was called. I had no labor pain; they had to induce which I could not tolerate. I refused for a normal delivery and asked for a C Section. They took me to the OT and did proceed for a C Section.

I was still not out of the anesthesia when the medico woke me up to get a glimpse of my daughter, a tiny little fairy crying loud, I could barely keep my eyes open and woke up on my bed after three hours. That’s when the medico came and handed me my baby, my stitches hurt, I couldn’t sit, he pulled me up, then asked me to feed my baby, the first milk from my breast. The nurse held Riya while she suckled my first milk. It was so natural for the baby to understand this is her feed and also how to drink it. It was inbuilt in her by nature; in fact it is in all babies.

But things turned different. While my breasts were swollen with the milk, I didn’t know how to feed my baby, she went cranky, she was jittery, she cried and all I did was to struggle, Riya’s nanny and my mother struggled alongwith me. I stayed up whole night trying to console Riya, all the while attempting to feed her but I couldn’t. I ran to the pediatrician, she taught me how to handle the infant, also advised to store the milk when it oozed, warm it a bit and feed the infant. Unable to understand the instructions I did exactly opposite, I pumped my milk as Riya preferred her thumb to pacify her, and fed her orally, the infant unable to bear the force feed threw up and had bouts of colic pain. There were endless visits to the pediatrician sometimes in the midnight trying to understand why Riya is so cranky and the reasons for her chronic colic pains. I being a working mother had a limited maternity leave period so I left my breast fed infant and joined work when she was exactly two and a half months old.

My baby was given top feed in spite of the pediatrician asking me to quit my job and take care of her, made it clear it’s her only feed for six months not even water, and that I was blessed with the fact I had plenty. I didn’t listen, for me career took an upper hand and I resumed my duties. Work demanded tours, factory visits, inspections and I went. What I got to know from my mother and the nanny who looked after my baby was she had fallen a victim of constipation, she developed adenoids which turned out to be acute tonsillitis and she was just two I had to admit her when she was up with a fever the thermometer read 104.

It’s a breast feed week starting from 1st August, 2017 till 7th August, 2017 and I have a message for you ladies. I am not a story teller where I will bring out my narration to publish a communiqué. So here it is:

Breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed infants. During breastfeeding, antibodies and other germ-fighting factors pass from a mother to her baby and strengthen the immune system. This helps lower a baby’s chances of getting many infections, including ear infections. Mothers like us feel top feed in addition to mother’s milk can go hands in gloves; well no it’s not the case. Riya suffered bouts of colitis, constipation, tonsillitis and was introduced to antibiotics at a tender age for two.

The longer you nurse (giving little or no formula), the more profound and long-lasting the benefits. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and continued breastfeeding for at least the rest of the first year or longer if desired by mother and baby.

Breast milk keeps the baby healthy; it supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions. It protects against allergies, sickness, obesity, diabetes, cancer, infections. It is easily digested – no constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach. Babies have healthier weights as they grow. Breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests. The milk changes in volume and composition according to the time of day, nursing frequency, and age of baby to promote healthy growth. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby.

Apart from babies, breast feed have several advantages on the mother too. It reduces risk of Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers such as breast cancer. May find it easier to return to what they weighed before they got pregnant. Strengthen the bond with their children.

Riya took to formulae feed easily though she suffered and me too, I gained weight, felt awkward when the milk oozed in spite of using breast pads and when I was at home, Riya refused my feed given to her addiction to top feed.

You need to make it work, breastfeed soon after birth and breastfeed frequently 8 to 12 times in a 24 hour period. Hold your baby skin-to-skin. Keep your baby with you in the hospital. Do not give a pacifier or bottle until breastfeeding is well established. Give only breast milk. Take help of nurses to train you how to feed your baby if you find difficulty in feeding one.

While breast feeding may not be the right choice for every parent, it is the best choice for every baby.

Breast milk is love, turned into food for it takes someone special to share that love.

Enjoy motherhood, it’s a blessing. Breast feed your baby.

~Rimli


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