On 29th October 2018, morning 10:30 AM, a clueless drugged me had a tiny baby attached to my breast. I am one of the most fortunate mothers whose baby did not trouble her at all and latched properly in the first attempt. But.. as is the case with a few fellow mothers, I had to supplement with formula on the third day, at the hospital, as my son kept losing weight. When he slowly started gaining it back, I was determined to continue breastfeeding, come what may. For the first few weeks, I hardly slept. Either I would be feeding him or I would keep pumping. Sleep deprivation drove me insane to the point of hallucination and sitting for hours(even with the doughnut pillow) caused severe coccyx pain. This was the situation even with a lot, A LOT of help from my husband, his family and my family. It was not easy. It is never easy. I gave up stepping out of the house as whatever time I used to get sans baby, I spent it eating or sleeping. But, would I change anything, No.
Long before we’d even started planning a family, we had gone to Disneyland, Paris. As expected there were babies and kids all around us and I was so glad to see the mothers feed their children without any inhibitions. I remember thinking about how different it is in India.
Cut to 2019 and I am still not comfortable to feed my child, outside my house. I had given up going outside till he was exclusively breastfed. I’d bought and kept several window blinds for the car windows, just in case I ever needed to feed him Most of the ARRIVAL terminals in airports do not have feeding rooms and if you ever try to feed without a cover, it feels weird. It shouldn’t feel so, right?. A nursing mother needs no sympathy, no lewd looks, no disgust exactly like how a bottle-feeding mother needs no judgement. It should just be normal. As normal as an adult eating his meal.
This post is not about telling the world how great a mother I am (coz believe me I am not). This is about a journey of just another mother doing just the most normal thing. There is no glory attached to it. However, the point is, how every mother would go to any lengths to protect and nourish her baby.
The World Breastfeeding Week is on(last day today) and the theme is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”. I love it how it says “Parents” and not just the mother. Without the help of my husband, I would have never got that courage and the will, to continue feeding my son for months.
I know it’s so much better in India that we have six months of maternity leave, but what if I want to feed my child till he is one. Shouldn’t there be better policies for that? Good, clean, hygienic feeding rooms across the city would be another good option as well. At the end of the day, it’s all about creating an optimal environment by encouraging mothers and making them feel safe and happy, to continue the breastfeeding journey. It’s a team effort after all.