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When I saw the various posts conveying outrage against the mall in Kolkata which shamed a breastfeeding mum, I couldn’t help reminiscing about my own experiences as a new breastfeeding mum.
Although breastfeeding is undoubtedly the best way to bond with your baby, and nothing the world is comparable to the feeling of a warm, fuzzy baby, skin to skin, nuzzling up to you, totally and completely dependent on you for her nourishment, every new breastfeeding mum will also relate to me when I say that breastfeeding is not always the easiest thing to do. And on top of it, you have the world judging you when you breastfeed your baby in public. Leave us alone, guys!
As a first time mum, I remember watching videos of mums’ breastfeeding while I was expecting, and honestly, I expected it to come quite naturally to me. But you are in for a mild shock as sometimes it can be quite painful in the beginning, and might take some time to get hang of.
Hence, when the said baby arrived, and she started suckling for the first time, I must say the sensation was quite unnerving at the beginning. And then, most satisfyingly beautiful. But then, it began to grow a bit uncomfortable as the first week went by.
Apparently, I was a milking cow, whose baby did not need as much milk. I absolutely understood what an overfilled water balloon must feel like, just moments before bursting! Not to mention, I must have looked like a woman who does not know how to wash her face without wetting her t-shirt!
But things did get better as time passed… Both baby and my body understood how to fall into a rhythm…
But only just! It turned out that my baby was a massive feeder… and by massive I mean maaaasive!!! She went on and on, for two whole hours at times! My arms would go numb, my legs would go off to slumber land, not to mention the condition of the said members of my chest! As an after-effect, I would be ready to devour a complete person after such a feed, and the most common victim of this zombie like state of mine would be my poor husband!
Thankfully, everyone around me soon realised that in order to prevent such carnivorous tendencies of mine, continuously feeding me, while the baby feeds, would help. And generous helpings of laddoos, apples, bananas and milk soon followed. All was peaceful in our heavenly abode for a while…
But now the new mommy got bored sitting in the house feeding the baby, and cleaning her spit, poop and pee all day. So I had to step out. And stepping out meant a completely different category of breastfeeding adventures.
I must warn you about Murphy’s Law No. 10 – Your baby will demand a feed exactly when you are in the longest checkout line of the supermarket, moving at a snail’s pace, after shopping for week’s grocery which you have painstakingly selected over past one and a half hour. The said demand will happen at least 2 miles from the nearest baby feeding station. Thanks to which you will be left searching for a safe place (which reads, away from glares of very-curious-to-look-at-your-assets-public) for feeding your baby, who will be wailing out so loudly by now, that the fellow shoppers would wonder whether you fed the baby ever in your life. Of course, they don’t know that she just got off a two hour feed before the shopping adventure, and you timed your shopping exactly one and the half hours, so that you would have half hour before she demands the next feed. But then, shopping makes one hungry, right?
You arrive at the nearest public loo, praying for a clean corner, lugging a wailing baby in one hand (coz no way in hell will she sit in the pram!) and bags of groceries tucked under the other. Only to realise that the only clean corner is on top of the sink. You bravely plonk yourself on the sink (coz you are a brave breastfeeding mum), and start feeding your baby. The respite comes when finally your baby starts suckling, and you hear awwwssss of other mums walking in on you.
Of course, you have by now completely bypassed the various stages of the embarrassment of showing your assets in public, which were objects well hidden from public scrutiny, before the said baby had arrived.
Finally, if your baby is a massive feeder, there will be that one fateful day when you will need to visit the loo with the baby still hanging on to you. Of course, you will try to wait till the baby finishes her feed. But just when you thought she has dozed off suckling, she is back at it again. And again. And again!
If you ever doubted your capabilities as a multitasking mum, now is a good time for those clouds of doubt to vanish. How you manage to pull down your pyjamas (coz that’s the official mum uniform, and all you will be wearing all day for a very long period of time), settle into the seat with baby still latched on, and manage your task, will be no less than a feat. Please do not make me explain the next steps of wiping and washing…. best left to your vivid imagination, I am sure!
All these hilarious episodes make for a great laugh years later, ladies. And despite these adventures, never ever for even one moment, would I trade the bond and closeness which I felt with my baby during the nursing. Just wish the world was more empathetic to nursing mums… that’s all we need!
So go ahead mommies, Happy Breastfeeding!
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: unsplash
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