Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Breastfeeding - A personal decision

Breastfeeding to me is the most special bond between a mother and child. It is the only thing a mom an provide that no one else can. It is that time when you realize that you have been blessed.
I chose to exclusively breastfeed my baby for the first five months and introduced solids in the sixth month. The frequency of breastfeeding sessions declined gradually and now at 18 months, its down to once during the day and mostly at night.I plan to wean her completely by 24 months. I know  other mothers who went through a similar schedule and also know a whole lot of others who chose not to feed beyond the first few months.
Every mother, every baby, every mother-baby relationship is different so its important to follow your instinct and take cues from your baby.

I chose to breastfeed my baby for these reasons

Lucky.Many mothers do not stick with breastfeeding beyond the first couple of weeks because of issues like the baby not latching, insufficient milk, sore nipples and much more. I was very lucky to have none of those problems. The first night that Lil Bee came home was a nightmare because my body was not ready and I did not have milk for her so we had to feed her formula. The next day I was ready but Lil Bee would not latch on. As a first time mother, I became anxious, depressed, stressed and scared..But my mother kept telling me to stay calm and keep trying. It took a while and after trying out different positions and methods, Lil Bee and I were finally able to get a hang of it.

Convenience. For me breastfeeding was also a lot about convenience. I am the kind of person who prefers to just breastfeed my baby instead of worrying about sterilized bottles, nipples, formula, water temperature etc. But I have friends who would rather have a bottle on the go instead of having to feed on demand.
We did and still do a lot of traveling with Lil Bee and it has been so easy to breastfeed her when she demands it and let her sleep soundly. At the malls I just ask the attendant or take a dress to the trial room to try out and feed her there. Lil Bee had a routine going for most part so I knew when she would demand milk and planned my activities accordingly.

My personal upbringing. In India breastfeeding is the norm. Most mothers  wean their babies  only after the first year. So I guess the desire to breastfeed came naturally. In the United States its different. I have had nurses, doctors and pediatricians stare in amazement when I say I am still breastfeeding.

Its Good. Last but most importantly, breastfeeding is good for the baby. And the mother. The American Pediatric Association recommends breastfeeding your baby exclusively for the first six months and then on for at least a year.  Old beliefs about the benefits of breastfeeding are strengthened by recent research on the same.Also did you know breastfeeding burns calories? I found out about that much later. Just by sitting in your chair, holding your baby close to you and watching God's miracle helps you lose nearly 600 calories !

After the first couple of months it is important to give your child well balanced and nutritious meals and snacks and not depend only on breastmilk.
Making an informed decision is important. Whatever you decide to do, its your personal choice. I believe motherhood is a blessing and needs to be enjoyed the way you want to.

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