Breastfeeding 101

I am fairly sick and tired of women being undermined, and being told they cannot breastfeed due to whatever reasons. I fail to understand why some people feel compelled to tell a woman that they should supplement with formula, rather than supporting her breastfeeding journey. A breastfeeding mom needs all the support in the world.

A breastfeeding mom is fragile, and is constantly worried whether she will be able to have enough, or if she will fail miserably and let her baby suffer in the process. What she needs is reassurance and to be told that she is doing the right thing.

But there are some things that a new mom has to keep in mind too. And if you, as a new mother, are keen on breastfeeding, I think these points will help.

  1. Please insist that the baby is brought to you for breastfeeding AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Do to skin and breastfeed, even if it is for just 3minutes. that should be the beginning of your breastfeeding journey. ASK THEM TO HELP YOU GET THE BABY TO LATCH.
  1. Do not formula feed the newborn, you don;t want to confuse them right at the beginning. tell the hospital that YOU DO NOT WANT THE BABY TO HAVE FORMULA. BE VOCAL.
  1. Know that THERE MIGHT NOT BE ANY MILK as soon as they are born. But there will be a clearish liquid called COLOSTRUM.
  1. COLOSTRUM IS SUFFICIENT for the baby till the milk comes in (usually in2-3 days). Do not let anyone tell you that you have no milk and opt for the bottle in that much time. The Colostrum provides everything that the baby needs

  1. IT IS NOT EASY. I am sure many of you think it would be easy, and will happen naturally. Well, why not! I thought it would too. But it is incredibly difficult and requires a lot of work.
  1. GET A LACTATION CONSULTANT. In Doha, it costs you about 300QR or so. But think about how much you spend on a newborn’s clothes. Clothes which they can wear for a max of 3months. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money to give him something that adds lifelong value, something that can impact their health? Please don’t let the money be a factor.
  1. LATCH. Breastfeeding is not painful, and if it is, then it is not being done right. Make sure most of the aerola and not just the nipple is in the mouth of the baby.
  1. SUPPLY is not an issue if you work on it. more milk is continuously produced, as long as milk is going out. Even if you think you have very less milk, then baby drink that. It will then lead to further production
  1. COMMITMENT It isn’t something you can take a break of. It is something that needs a lot of commitment. Atleast till your supply is regulated.You cannot say, oh! I won’t do it now and will do it later. It will work, but it will require atleast twice as much work later.  There is no cheat codes or days off. It is a full time job, and requires your 100% commitment – especially in the early days.
  1. HAVE FAITH AND KEEP AT IT. A lot of women give up because it hurt, or because they believed supply was low or because every Tom Dick and Harry (read – in laws, friends, relatives, housemaids etc) decided baby was too thin and needed more milk!

It really is worth it, once you get the hang of it. But go in with 100% commitment, and be willing to give up your sleep and comfort for a few days or weeks.

It is fine if you opt to formula feed. But do it empowered with the knowledge of what you can, not because you feel let down by your body, or because you are bullied into it.

And no matter what you choose to do, know that you are doing the best you can and that is the most important thing. No regrets.

PS – This is not an anti-formula feeding discussion. I respect mom’s and their choices, as long as it has been their choices and not forced.

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Dilraz Kunnummal is the author of the much-loved children’s book, ‘See You Soon’. The role she’s proudest of is being mama to her cheeky little boy, and her journey as a parent is where she draw inspiration from for most of her writing.

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