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To milk or not to milk?

At the outset, when my son was born, I had no idea what it meant to breastfeed a baby. I wasn’t prepared for the toil and labor as I positioned myself in back-breaking poses to suit my baby’s needs. Soon enough, within the first week, I ended up having sore breasts with a baby who wouldn’t latch easily to the breast. By the second week, I convinced myself that this is the hardest thing I have ever done and still the baby just cries. My initial assumption was that perhaps, he is hungry, why else would he cry. Quickly, I grabbed a few bottles of formula which he gulped down his throat. And he still cried!!!

Better sense prevailed when I spoke with my lactation consultant who suggested that I needed to let him get a hang of breastfeeding while my own body accustomed to his needs. I nailed the thought inside my head – Just get yourself to breastfeed him and believe that he will grow. And so, for the first six months of life, I watched my son grow with the aid of breast-milk which was fascinating yet the most daunting task.

There are downsides to everything in the world. And so, breastfeeding came with its hitches as well:

1.       Sore breasts are the hardest thing to deal with but good news – they don’t last long.
2.       It’s annoying to be woken up at wee hours only to pull your t-shirt to pop the boob into the baby’s mouth. Imagine doing this three to four times a night.
3.        A baby needs to be fed so often that being outside is no exception. I used to feel embarrassed while breastfeeding outside but I told myself that my baby’s hunger pangs demanded Category 1 attention. Bottom-line: Ignore world.
4.       It’s amazing to see how everybody seems to have a say on what a mother should or shouldn’t be doing. I dealt with a number of people who encouraged to me stop breastfeeding as soon as possible. Reason: He won’t wean easily the older he grows.
5.       Re-iterating the earlier point: weaning a baby off breastfeeding isn’t always the pleasant experience because it’s almost like taking the baby off the life support and transitioning him to another way of survival. (The weaning period were the hardest two months. Thanks to my mom, I was able to breastfeed for 17 months while working on the weaning process)
6.       Being tied down to the baby: Perhaps, this is the most glaring fact about breastfeeding. In a world where mothers aspires to get so much done, being tied to a baby for long time makes her immobile.

So, what’s good about breastfeeding anyway?

Perhaps, it’s not enough if you tell a mother – You have no idea what gift you are giving your child when you breastfeeding. When your greatest desire is to give your baby the best, why not just start by handing him his rights – the right to breastfeed.

I can’t write anything valuable and new about breastfeeding besides what is already on the Internet. A quick search about benefits of breastfeeding on google will give you everything a mother needs to know before she decides to wean her baby off the breast.

But what one American mom did, has blown my mind because she has altered the idea of breastfeeding to a whole new magical level. So, this American mom did a wonderful experiment - she compared a drop of breast milk and a drop of formula under the lens of a microscope. And the results were astounding. Breast-milk basically, changes composition and tailors antibodies according to the baby’s needs, right from the moment of birth, the times that the baby falls sick and as the baby keeps growing. The mom posted a video of what she found in the breast-milk and the formula. The results were beautiful proving once again, that the liquid gold that protects your baby is indeed gold for your baby’s lifetime. Video link: Breastmilk under microscope

Promoting breastfeeding isn’t being anti-formula because there are number of moms out there who simply do not pursue breastfeeding because of lack of support or work but they would have if they had the chance. While I feel sad for the things they are missing out, a part of me is in awe of all the hard work they put in for their babies and still manage to get things done. It takes sheer strength and will.

And still, there are so many mothers who simply wean of their babies too early because they are too exhausted or they believe the baby isn’t getting enough or they believe the sooner she weans is easier or somebody pushes them to introduce formula.

While breastfeeding may not be the right choice for every parent, it’s the best choice for every baby. Go on, pop that boob into your baby’s mouth and keep believing that the best is working inside of that little precious body. 

About the Author Chital Mehta loves to explore new books. After becoming a mother, she started this blog to share her experiences as a mother. Apart from being busy with her baby, she makes times for writing, reading and watching movies. She has authored 4 fiction novels. You can find details on her facebook page :Chital Mehta facebook

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