If this is the first time you are reading a post on this blog, let me introduce myself. I am Baby Hashtag. My mother publishes posts on this blog (whenever she is over her procrastination) but I take over the posting duties from time to time to give people an insight into my colourful world.
My mumma jumped into this whole motherhood thing without any preparation. Of course, she read a lot and she owned ‘What to expect when you are expecting’ which she claimed to have read cover to cover but I’m pretty sure she got through not more than 20% of that book. Also, given that she had the most awful case of pregnancy brain, she remembered practically peanuts of all that she read. So naturally when I came along, she was a glorious mess not knowing what to do. To top things off, Mumma’s doctor was not very helpful. Things and birthing plan situation was not clarified well in advance, owing to which there was an emergency C section done in spite of her going into labor on the exact due date.
What followed were a string of unfortunate events that make mumma angry now that she thinks about it. There was no skin to skin. I was whisked away to the NICU citing a complication which later turned out to be nothing. I was formula fed without my parent’s permission.
I could only see mumma, papa and the rest of the family only after a full 10 hours of being born which sucked. Also, the nurses announced that evening that I should continue to be formula fed because mumma probably wouldn’t be producing milk cos she had a C section. What a bunch of hogwash that was!
An hour after I met mumma, I latched on perfectly and thus began our breastfeeding journey.
Two things to note here:
1. C section moms can lactate within hours of delivery
2. Encouraging the mother and baby to have skin to skin helps
While I was a trooper at breastfeeding, I was still learning things. So we did have a few bumps along the way in terms of bruised nippular area and my absolute disregard for formula milk. Since mumma was fed lies about how her milk wasn’t enough for me, she would feed me formula milk every time in a bottle after my breastfeeding session. Or, she would try to feed me. I rejected it with all the heart. Cos I was full. Why would I need something else less delectable when I was so drunk on mommy milk. A couple of nights of tending and struggling and coaxing and understanding, we were out of the top feed circle.
Then came my next challenge.
So mumma is super healthy (read fat) and it led everyone to believe that I would be a chubby baby too. Turned out that I wasn’t gaining weight as they hoped. I was born at a potentially fat baby weight but I gained weight super slow. The backlash was unbelievable. Ofcourse it was all directed to mumma.
“Your milk is water, switch to Formula.”
“You are not eating right or not feeding him enough.”
“Your milk is not enough for the baby, she seems hungry all the time.”
Then there were gems like:
“Your baby cannot be lean, you are so fat!”
Oh, the judgement.
This went on incessantly for the first three months where mumma, papa and everyone around kept worrying about how little weight I was gaining as I grew older. Every morning mumma would ask the maalish wali aunty if babies would gain weight after intense maalish. She was suggested almond oil for the massage. That was used. Someone suggested that mumma eat a particular combination of food. That was tried too. But nothing worked.
I was three months old. Cute, playful, healthy but had no Michelin baby tires. One day mumma decided to let the trials be. She just accepted that I was going to be a lean baby, that my body was such. Not that she did not revisit the concern and torment herself over it but she learned to accept it and worked harder to give me a healthier lifestyle more than anything.
Breastfeeding amidst weight gain concerns turned out be difficult for me and mumma. Being constantly told to pursue formula milk to serve the weight gain purpose was torture. But I was nowhere near giving up on nursing. So even if mumma had decided to do the switch she would have had failed miserably cos I ain’t letting go of my breastmilk.
So the breastfeeding continued. Exclusively. For the first six months of my life.
Today, at 14 months old, I do not breastfeed as I used to when I was an infant but I’m nowhere near weaning off completely.
I’ve been told off so much that extended breastfeeding would be bad for me and mumma. People have tried to scare my mum and have asked to wean me off otherwise I’ll be a dependant child all the time. I gently nudge all these suggestions aside while I nurse before going down for my afternoon nap.
At this age, breastfeeding for me is more comfort and a coping mechanism to battle teething, little ouchies and boo-boos. Also, I love snuggling with mumma. She says I look cute when I fall asleep as I nurse. Now who would want to give up on opportunities to look cute.
Not me, nuh uh!