Breastfeeding Isn’t Always Easy Or Possible For New Moms; Stop Shaming Them!

I woke up at 5 in the evening and was only scared of one thing: Will I be able to breastfeed my son? Thankfully, I could breastfeed, and my baby latched well!

15th May 2015, 12.09 am. My water broke at home just when I was about to sleep. I was rushed to hospital. Being a first-time mother, it only felt like I was peeing continuously.

In 20 minutes we reached the hospital. I was taken to a special ward. I was hooked up to some wires (to keep a check on the baby’s heartbeat) and a few pipes (so that the baby does not fall short of fluids). There was one injection that was injected into my body saying, “Women these days can’t bear the pain.” I could hear it even in my lowest senses. With no idea what was happening to me, or what was being done to make it better, after 15 minutes I was told, “Everything is normal.” I was put to sleep by my husband, whose hand was on my forehead, and the other hand I was holding in my hand.

Blaming the new moms for not being able to breastfeed?!

In the middle of the night, I woke up by two noises: One of a newborn who was crying, probably because of hunger and the second was of a nurse who was yelling at the top of her voice at the new mother because she was not able to feed the baby. The baby was being fed formula as the new mom did not have a milk supply at all.

From poor lifestyle to love for junk food, from being obese to being a working woman, the nurse spoke of all possibilities that could have been the probable reason for it. And in the end, mentioned a lactation specialist visiting her the next day. I was listening to all the conversation, and let me confess, I was scared of birthing my child there. But I did not have any other option as this particular hospital had my 9-month case history, and probably shifting to a new hospital or doctor would be risky at the eleventh hour.

I delivered my son early next morning, and the whole day I was not in my senses. I woke up at 5 in the evening and was only scared of one thing: Will I be able to breastfeed my son? Thankfully, I could breastfeed, and my baby latched well! The other baby was still being fed formula. The new mother could not feed her baby, and imagine the plea of the poor soul, the time she should have celebrated the birth of her child, she was made to cry as she could not breastfeed her baby. The nurse, the family, and everyone was blaming her, and I could not tolerate it. I was quietly consoling her as and when possible, but I don’t that would have worked anyways.

How was this fair?

Motherhood is a very big decision and a tough choice that a woman makes. The process of birthing is no cakewalk, be it a normal delivery or a c-section, both are painful. Stop stereotyping mothers based on the way they choose to deliver.

And coming to the incident that I witnessed: A mother will never want her child to be hungry, she does not plan and plot it. She was helpless too; instead of trying to look for a solution, and being kind and patient with her, all that was being done was blame her for not being able to breastfeed the child. There would be some solution to her situation, if not, the formula was the solution.

I understand breastmilk is vital for a baby’s growth and there are banks where mothers who have an excess of supply do store it to be shared in cases like these; But if there is no knowledge of this service or this particular service is not available in any city, formula milk is the only solution, not blaming the new mother who herself is in a different pain.

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Editor’s note: Women regularly face #MedicalMisogyny from health care professionals. For the WHO World Health Day 2023 theme of ‘Health for All’, identifying this misogyny and ensuring #Equity in healthcare is essential. All of April, we have shared stories with you on this, either personal stories or fiction. Find them all here.

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About the Author

Nilshree Damani Yelulkar

A mother, homemaker, self-published author, founder, and podcast host at Authoropod. read more...

28 Posts | 16,789 Views

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