Being a new mum, everything is new and every day is a learning experience. Before having a baby, I had never even taken a minute to think about breastfeeding but after having the baby it is my whole world.
Before Chhori was born, we went to Antenatal classes where we learned a lot to help prepare for labour, birth and parenthood. During one of the sessions, I learnt the importance of the mother’s breast milk to a newborn. Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients for the baby. It is easier to digest than commercial formulas and the antibodies in breast milk boost the baby’s immune system.
So I decided that I would do my best to exclusively breastfeed Chhori. Though I soon realised that reading about breastfeeding is one thing but doing it yourself is something else entirely.
Having Chhori delivered via C section, it was hard for me to do anything for the first few days. It was so frustrating at times when I would see her cry and couldn’t run to pick her up instead I had to buzz the midwife and wait for them to give the baby to me. Most of the midwives at the hospital were really nice but it was still really frustrating at times.
To top things off, as the baby was just a few days old, she didn’t know how to latch properly on my breast and it was painful to watch her cry for milk. There was help available for sure. The maternity nurses do offer breast-feeding tips, starting with how to position the baby and make sure she is latching on correctly. But it is not as easy as it seems.
To make matters worse, on the fourth day I was still in the hospital when I woke up in the middle of the night soaked with my own sweat. It felt as if my breast had increased several cup sizes and it was very painful. I felt so unwell that I buzzed for the midwife straightaway.
She came and touched my forehead and went to get the doctor straight away. I had fever and the doctor told me it was normal as my body was starting to produce milk. I was in so much pain that I started to cry. I know it sounds silly now but at that time I couldn’t control myself. The doctor gave me some medicine and took Chhori to the nursery for the next 4 hours so I could rest.
It took a few days and numerous tries and lots of help from the midwives for me to be confident to breastfeed the baby on my own and by then Chhori also learnt to latch properly.
The first week was the hardest. I remember crying from the pain when Chhori could not latch properly but now it is a lot better. It is true that mum and baby find their rhythm eventually.
I also learnt that breastfeeding made me very thirsty so I make sure I drink plenty of water during and after breastfeeding.
I am so happy that I have a good supply of milk and until now Chhori is on breast milk only and I will love to continue that until her pasni when she will be ready to start her solids.
There are lots of things one can do to help increase the supply of milk and one of them is drinking a special Nepali soup called, Jwano ko Jhol (Thyme Seed Soup). I will post the recipe soon. I swear it worked so well for me that I had to reduce the amount I was drinking as I was producing excess milk.
Apart from breast milk giving your child the best start in life, it also helps moms lose weight. I am surprised but overjoyed that I have lost most of the weight I gained during pregnancy and a huge credit goes to breastfeeding.
I know it is not easy at times but if possible breastfeeding is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our new born child. I am so happy that I am learning this special art we women are privileged to give our children.
Take care everyone,
M from nepaliaustralian