When My Child Refused To Breastfeed And What The Journey Taught Me

Posted: September 19, 2019

The author says that breastfeeding is every child’s right but what happens when a baby refuses to latch on? Here is a mother’s breastfeeding experience.

Motherhood is a roller coaster ride. After hours of labour pain there comes a time to hold the little one physically for the first time.

But wait! That’s not the end of the journey, it is beginning of a beautiful yet tiring journey.

The journey of breastfeeding is the beginning of the mother-child bond, of fulfilment, of joy and tears. Yes, you read it right – tears, not just of happiness, but those of pain and sorrow too.

Kudos to all those who have crossed the breastfeeding phase and can now see their child waving at them from the school bus. Meanwhile, all my best wishes to all the mothers who are in the breastfeeding phase or looking at it.

Breastfeeding and its importance

We all know the importance of breastfeeding and breastmilk for the children. It supplies them the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions and is also known to adjust the nutrient levels in accordance to their age.

It also imparts immunity against various kids of diseases to young ones. Breastfeeding is also beneficial to the mother. It helps reduce weight post-pregnancy, uterine contractions and reduces risks of breast cancer.

However, for many, the journey is not very smooth as it sounds.

My breastfeeding journey

I am a mother of a 33-month-old son and I had a difficult journey to breastfeeding. I had a natural delivery and my son was little over 2 kg when he was born.

He could not latch immediately after birth and we started our journey on shaky grounds.

As in many households, I was always judged right from the first day as a mother and I could see my son crying and starving.

The kind of advice I got

I was also advised by many to start powdered milk and I almost accepted that it’s me who is at fault and started the formula milk for my son.

The ‘malishwali‘ coming to my home suggested a bland diet for increasing the ‘milk’ supply. I was given all kinds of leafy bland vegetables, soft rice and opium seeds with milk. Now I wonder why my son could not “taste” my milk.

A scientist by training, I decided to take charge of the situation and decided to understand more about it. My so-called experienced relatives made fun of my quest to read and understand more about the physiology. However, my gynaecologist, who was also my lactation consultant, and my husband were a huge support.

The science behind breastfeeding

There are two hormones which are responsible for preparing breasts for milk production, estrogen and progesterone. Prolactin plays a major role in actual milk production by breasts.

Immediately after the baby is born, prolactin levels increase and milk ducts in the breasts start producing milk. The first milk produced is called Colostrum, which is nutritious and also imparts initial immunity to a child.

Every time we breastfeed, our body makes more prolactin, a wonder hormone. Increased frequency of breastfeeding alarms body to prepare more milk which is why the milk supply is low initially but can be increased slowly once the child starts demanding more milk.

Oxytocin is responsible for releasing milk from breasts when the child suckles. So logically, unless clinically proven, all mothers can produce enough amount of milk for their babies. Some of them may take some time to adapt to the demand of their little ones.

Giving breastfeeding another shot

Knowing this, I then decided to give breastfeeding another try. After consultation with the doctor, I started using a nipple shield to enhance my son’s latching capacity and slowly stopped all the additional supplements I was offering.

My son and I then started the breastfeeding journey. He adjusted well and started growing better according to his paediatrician. In another month, I weaned him off the nipple shield and he could latch comfortably.

I ate healthy food with proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins. Both of us had a comfortable bond via the initial 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. My son was healthy and happy.

I introduced solid food to my son after 6 months and weaned him slowly after 18 months.

What this journey taught me

The entire journey taught me to be strong and seek advice from the right people at the right time.

Breastfeeding is right of every child and we as a society should help for new moms for making this journey memorable and enjoyable. We, as mothers need to be strong for our kids as they are your reflections.

Watch this video to learn more about some of the common questions many moms have about breast-feeding:

Picture credits: Pixabay

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