I am a new mommy to a 6 month old baby boy and my breastfeeding journey didn’t have a pretty start. My little bubbie was born at 1.5 kgs ( underweight) at 34 weeks! After spending a week in the NICU, he came home all crinkled- but couldn’t breastfeed till he was at least 2 kgs. After 3 weeks of pumping and feeding with a small bowl and spoon, he was finally ready! But sadly- I was not. As any mother will tell you- it all begins in pain and ends in delight. A month of painful one hour feeds later, me and my bubbie were on the way to a beautiful breastfeeding journey. Here are some tips that helped me (and still do!) keep my sanity and hopes up!
1. Do not be guilty about watching TV while you feed.
When a little human is chewing at your nipples for a good 60 minutes, it is completely acceptable to lose your sanity courtesy the pain and the movement. Infants take a while to get their latch and technique right, it can be quite difficult on the mom. Do not feel guilty about using the TV/Netflix as a distraction. It absolutely does not affect your relationship with your kid contrary to popular belief. Use the opportunity to talk,sing and make conversation of course, but if the pain gets too much- use the distraction.
2. Eat well and drink lots of water.
Watch what you eat. You don’t have to eliminate or change certain things in your diet- but it is better to eat all in moderation. Excess dals, MSG foods, maggi and more may cause your child’s bowel movements to become irregular, so keep a check on the same. Having said that, drink water by the bucketloads. It makes you feel less bloated, keeps the energy level up and provides for a healthy supply of breastmilk. Methi ladoos, fenugreek boiled water, spinach and loads of healthy food will keep you happy! Remember- eat once every 3 hours. Your body is still providing nutrition for 2 people!
3. Learn to sleep while breastfeeding.
In the first few months post delivery, you will be feeding your infant on demand. A 1-2 hours gap at most, an infant feeds a minimum of 8-10 times in a day. It translates into very less sleep on you the mom and can be quite tiring. So learn to sleep while breastfeeding in the lying down position. After the initial pain of the latching ( or not if your little bub latches perfectly), you will and should be able to doze off while your nipple is still in his/her mouth. That way you can catch a little shut eye – maybe your baby will be asleep with you too!
4. Stretch your back. Do some light physiotherapy.
Your back undergoes a lot of stress during and after your pregnancy- its very important to take care of it. Most hospitals now include some light physiotherapy in their birthing packages and you should definitely take advantage of it. Back exercises in bed, light yoga, constant stretching after every feed- all will help your back remain intact and help you continue your breastfeeding with ease.
5. Postpartum depression is real. Surround yourself with positive thoughts and people.
It’s very real folks. You may not feel it in the beginning or anything at all- but if you do find yourself in the captivity of negative thoughts in your head towards your new change- fear not, its normal. You and your body have undergone a massive shift and your mind may take a bit of time to cope with it. Plus when you have an infant attached to you 24/7 it takes a toll on your behaviour too! Surround yourself with positive thoughts and people- breastfeeding calms you down and is a great bonding experience with your baby. Don’t let anything come between that beautiful feeling. Breathe in, breathe out- take baby steps. Happy mommy= happy baby! Join an online support group such and talk it out with other mothers. Don’t bottle it up.