World Breastfeeding Week; four women share their unique experiences on first time breastfeeding
In honour of world breastfeeding week which commenced on the 1st of August, 2018. I decided to interview four women who share their first time experience on breastfeeding. What was most synonymous about their individual stories was the PAIN associated with breastfeeding and the UNIQUE emotional bond formed between mother and child. Enjoy!
"My first experience was awful, I'd cry from pains, my nipples were cracked and bleeding"- Giselle, full-time mummy and makeup artist.
Not long after the delivery of my son, the nurse placed him on my breast for the first time. I felt so many emotions all at once . I was overjoyed, excited, fearful and nervous. Growing up, I never thought much about breastfeeding except, the medium through which babies feed . My mother breastfed both me and my siblings. Before my baby was born, I took breastfeeding and parenting classes. I naively assumed it would be come naturally to me, you just put the baby's mouth on your nipple, right? Luckily for me, I belong to a culture that encourages us to breastfeed. In fact, I watched my mother breastfeed six of my siblings. My mother used to say there are benefits of breastfeeding your child as it helps develop emotional stability, personality and intelligence. Well, my first experience was awful. I didn't know you had to wait for your milk to come in because my mum had gone on how easy it was to breastfeed. My nipples were cracked and bleeding and my son wanted to feed every half an hour. On the third day, milk started coming out. My nipples were cracked and really sore and led to bleeding again. This didn't stop me from breastfeeding my baby. During the first few weeks, my mum asked if I could make it one more day through the pains. Everyday, I'd tell myself just make it through and I DID!. The first three weeks were far from glamorous but I learned a lot about myself, to be patient with my body and push through the pains. My son and I were learning together and it mirrored the journey we would both embark on for the rest of our lives. There were painful days but life got sweeter. I am so grateful I was able to breastfeed my son and from that moment, I promised to breastfeed every other child that came after him.
"Breastfeeding my son was amazing but it has it's downsides" - Cheryl, Early Childhood Educator and full-time mummy
Breastfeeding my son was amazing, it created a bond between my child and I. A connection only my baby and I could understand. It was a very beautiful experience. The benefits of breastfeeding is beyond amazing, I was able to lose some of the baby weight I gained. I knew exactly what my child was getting which is whether I was eating. He was a healthy chunky baby that never fell sick that the wonderful nutrients of breastfeeding. But breastfeeding has it's down side to it. Before I got to enjoy the good things that it had to offer, I had to first learn to breast feed (latching properly, and learning to adjust to the pain) it was a process that took a while because I was also a new mum so not only was also a whole new process for me but after we both got a hang of it, it became a wonderful experience that I so love very much.
"I was proud of myself for being able to nurture my son through breast milk"- Nyala, Health Care Worker
I was very scared at first when I had to breastfeed my first child. I didn't know what to expect from breastfeeding. It was very difficult to know what the best route was but it got better. I had a very strong connection with my son as it was more of me being proud that I was able to nurture him, it was our bonding time. This experience was worth everything.
"I only did it because it was the best option for him"- Endah, Client Service Adminstrator
It was painful, didn't know why i had to do it. I only did it because it was the best option for him. He was hospitalized for 72 hours and I could not hold or breastfeed. So i had to express and feed him by bottle. It's often advised to no use the bottle for the first month because the baby would get to used to the bottle and refuse to lash on. That was the case with him. It was easier to express and bottle feed. He would only breastfeed when he wanted to sleep or if there was no other option.
Do you think it is mandatory to breastfeed?
It is up to you. Yes, breastfeeding has its perks and it's supposed to improve , "mother-baby bonding" that doesn't mean moms who don't breastfeed are missing that bond. A child will always know it's mom, I can't explain but it's magical
Did you have a sense of fulfillment after breastfeeding?
Well, my kid was fed and happy, so I was happy too.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this post. I would love for mums to share their experiences on breastfeeding. Let's keep the conversation flowing.