My struggle with not being able to breastfeed my baby
As we all know, breast milk is ultimately the best source of nutrition for a baby. As a mother, I knew from long before that babies are advised to breastfeed for at least the first six months after birth. Also, I learned that breastfeeding had many benefits for mothers too. Mothers who breastfeed their babies benefit by burning an extra 500 calories, relaxing as their body releases oxytocin while they breastfeed, and even heal faster after delivering their baby. But can all mothers can breastfeed babies? From my first-hand experience, certainly all mothers can not afford it. Studies say that 2% of mothers can not produce enough milk for their babies. There are a lot of reasons behind this. But as a mother, I will share my dreadful experience today that I went through.
After delivery, when I found out that I could not produce enough milk for my baby, it was the worst day of my life. Physically and mentally I was devastated. But as I had a healthy baby finally, I was relieved. I was not in any state to celebrate it, but my relief was gone quickly when I found out that I could not produce enough milk for my baby. I had no other alternative and had to feed formula milk to my baby. This was another horrible experience for me. I can certainly recall one day vividly. I was shopping in the super shop to purchase formula milk for my baby. At that time I had come across a woman from my neighborhood. She gave a stare to me as if I was doing a crime. She did not tell anything, but her expression was enough to make me feel so low. Another day, another person also saw me. She exclaimed, ‘Gosh! Are you doing the right thing?’ So I had to face this particular type of ‘milk-shaming’. Some judgemental people even suggested (though not directly to me) that I did not breastfeed as I was trying to keep my figure. Certainly, this was not the case. I was captivated by a sense of guilt and trauma.
I can not express how devastated I was. I am grateful to my partner that he comforted me in my tough time and made me feel better. Luckily, my baby was growing up quite well. That ultimately helped me to come out of the trauma. Another thing I can remember now, when I could not breastfeed my baby I had to go through some tests to find out the problem. It was understood that I had lactation failure which prevented me from producing enough milk. I also found out that some mothers face this problem. At that time some of my relatives suggested that I keep trying to breastfeed. But I could not make them understand that this was something treatment could not fix. Ultimately my baby also could not adjust with breastfeeding, so I had no option but to try formula milk.
I was on maternity leave after the birth of my baby. During my pregnancy, I always had to worry about how my child would adapt when I would start work again. But for my lactation problem, I had to depend on formula milk from much earlier. I am saying this it because I think all future working mothers should plan properly how they will breastfeed after the leave.
Finally, I hope that no mothers has to face the trauma that I had to go through. My only consolation is that my child is growing up healthy.