Breastfeeding, a blessing!: Breastfeeding Journey

Rachna Bhandary Shetty was born and brought up in Nashik and moved to Pune after her marriage. She holds a Masters Degree in Commerce and had even applied for the Chartered Accountant course. In between, marriage happened and she chose not to continue with the course. After moving to Pune, she enjoys and loves every bit of being a home-maker and a mother to her two gorgeous children – Navyaa, 6.5 years, and Kriday, 10 months.

1. How would you describe your breastfeeding journey with Navyaa?
It was a vaginal delivery with Navyaa. But, unfortunately, I did not have breastmilk. Or maybe, I was made to believe so. Hence, the doctor suggested for top feed. We were in the hospital for a week post-delivery as she was diagnosed with jaundice. Although, top feed was being administered, I tried breastfeeding too. Flat and cracked nipples just made it difficult. Honestly, at that point, all that mattered at that point was for her to recover. After we came home, she continued to prefer top feed over breast milk.

Unfortunately, at that time, we did not have a lot of resources around to help. And when the doctor itself suggests formula, it becomes difficult to convince the elders in the family to breastfeed. And the fear of a new mother that the baby is hungry worked in the favour of non-supporters.

I continued to try nursing her directly and she finally started taking to it.

2. Was the experience better the second time around?
Kriday also had a vaginal birth – he came out a week before the expected date of delivery. This time I was suffering from hypo-thyroid. I knew I had enough breastmilk but in spite of nursing him continuously, he did not pee or poo for close to 40 hours, post-delivery. And as per the doctor’s suggestion, we were asked to give him formula. I was a little disheartened when I gave in. But I guess luck was in my favour, and Kriday refused the formula. Constant trying and different methods to feed formula did not work. He was exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. I am enjoying every bit of the second round of breastfeeding. It is beautiful.

3. How do you deal with growth spurts, teething or an illness? The baby tends to feed like a new born around that time. Did you want to give up? What keeps you going
Kriday not preferring formula is a blessing! We have breastfed through growth spurts and teething. Although it does get difficult during continuous feeds, I remind myself that this is just a phase that will pass and I need to keep going. The comfort it provided was seen on his face, in his eyes. It made me happy too. Breastfeeding has even saved us on 8-10 hours road trips too!

4. Let’s end this interview on a fun note with some crazy myths that you have heard of.
I have heard of so many at both times that I have lost count completely and choose to ignore. It’s quite a topic of fun and laughter when I catch up with my mommy friends. Here are a few…

— Do not breastfeed in front of anybody / cover yourself completely to keep the evil eye away.
I do not even want to comment. I can never get how silly people can be.

— Do not feed the baby in sleeping position.
Honestly, that is the only nursing position that has worked wonders for us. And for the unknown, irrespective of the position you nurse the baby in, the baby is always in the sleeping position. So how does it matter if the mother is standing, sitting or sleeping? In the end, all that matters is the comfort of the mother and baby.

— Do not feed on demand. Let the baby cry as its good for the lungs too.
This is insane. Who comes up with such ridiculous things? If you do not feed on demand, it affects your supply. The baby’s tummy is small and hence they tend to feed more often. And it might not always be about hunger. It could be for comfort too. And why would I not provide my baby with the comfort he requires.