Monday, October 21, 2013

Breast is the best

E turned 6 months a week back. I gave myself a silent pat on my back for making it so far. She is still on breastmilk now, but boy the journey! So dear World Health Organisation - I made it! I don't have plans to stop yet, and though it is only 6 months now.

So looking back on how jaundice isn't common in Tally and they made such a big fuss about it. First 2 days of her life spent under the light, and mummy could only carry her out and feed her every 2 hours for 20 minutes, whether she latched well or not. Then they decided instead of letting me feed her longer, it's better to give her formula to flush out her jaundice, and did not offer me alternatives to giving her in a bottle (which I now know there are other ways!). All I wanted was for her to get better, so I said yes. No one told me I could pump to stimulate the milk, and I didn't know better. Here comes the downward spiral - the more she was bottle fed, the more impatient she got with the breast, the less she was latched on, the less milk I produced. I was in tears, postpartum guilt hormones raging. It was a tough first month.

I am completely jealous of mummies who produce a whole freezer of milk. I am completely jealous of fully breastfed babies because it is so easy to bring them out - pop out the boobies and they will have a full belly. Then I decided it to live and let live. It is okay that she doesn't want to feed directly from me - as long as she gets the goodness of the milk. So I decided to become a lean mean pumping machine.

No, I do not enjoy pumping. Still don't. Probably never will. I mean, you are hooked up to a vacuum producing machine with 2 funnels cupping your boobs, elongating them right? Duh. But I pumped day and night. I watched netflix while pumping - an episode of Vampire Diaries or 30 rock or whatever I fancied and embarrassed to tell people about. Even then, I still needed to supplement her. Shrugs. I became happier because I came to terms with the fact that I may never have enough.Whatever was made was given, and the shortfall was made up by formula. I live and let live.

At 3 months my supply stablised and since have almost enough milk - a bottle of formula for her last feed every few days when my supply runs low. She still gets fed from the bottle but loves to comfort nurse before she goes to bed and when she wakes up. Although she does not direct latch, she is so clingy to me and I am just enjoying every moment (well, almost every) of her clingyness because I know this will not last long.

If I have a number 2, I will try to get it right from the start now that I know what went wrong. But hey, life is not perfect. I am here wishing all the mummies who are struggling to hang in there if you can, but don't beat yourself up if you decide to throw in the towel. You and I both know they will grow up just fine, formula or breastmilk. E is in the 90th percentile, a ball of energy and super fun, And we know she will probably be the same even if I fully formula fed her. So do what you can, give what you can for as long as you can, then let go and live and let live. We all want to give them the best, but what we feed and do for them in the next 18 years is just as important.

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