This post titled Breastfeeding My Preemie Baby: Not Easy But So Rewarding has been published on Women’s Web as a Featured Post as a start for Breastfeeding week. Featured Posts are a careful selection of highly relevant and interesting posts picked by their editors each day. Here is the link to it: http://www.womensweb.in/2018/
I was a first-time parent who was totally new to feeding her every 2 hours or on demand, sleepless nights, never-ending diaper changing sessions and swaddle her to perfection. It was overwhelming, scary and exhaustive.
And then she decided to surprise us by deciding to come to the world in her 37th week(August) only. Like other new mothers, I was eager to welcome little Enaera in September 2016 but because she came four weeks early, it meant to take much more efforts during Enaera’s first week in the hospital and then at home also it was tough as she was so small at birth — 2.4 kg and her weight even reduced to 2 kg in a week due to Jaundice and then Photo therapy was given to her for the same in hospital.
Enaera wasn’t able to breastfeed initially but that didn’t stop her. I still recall “I thought I can control it and I’ll do it no matter what,”. I bought an Electric breast pump on rent and began pumping my breast milk every 1.5 hours to give to Enaera to help her grow. Going home, after taking Photo therapy for curing Jaundice for a week in the hospital, I took Enaera home. But the challenges of breastfeeding remained.
What really helped me was the support from the pediatrician and other online communities like “Breastfeeding support for Indian mothers “. As I was able to produce milk, so was I determined to feed her same, no matter how I was doing it – I would pump and give it in a bottle to her.
Sometimes, I used to feel that there’s a certain image of a mother but I was lucky to have supportive parents to understand it’s hard and tell me its okay if you can’t match of what you expect as a mother. Because Enaera was small, she didn’t have the strength and coordination to breastfeed initially.so, I would pump and feed her bottles and even weigh her on the scale to make sure she got enough milk(nurses showed me how to do it). It wasn’t until twenty days that I was finally able to nurse her.
I still cherish my friendship with the large mother groups and the nice extra support from someone with the same age kids and going through same issues.I have really made a few good mother friends that time and we’re still together and love to share how our kids are growing.
I weaned Enaera in May 2018 (Gentle Weaning), and she’s going to turn two in August, but I’m still the part of Breastfeeding support group for Indian mothers as a support to other new mothers – It’s really a positive group and a safe place for mothers, trying to make breastfeeding more common and women more comfortable.
Five of the big things new moms need to know:
1. Breastfeeding is important but not easy
To think that the baby will know how to feed on the very moment he’s born is a misconception but don’t get disappointed.
2. Try, Try and you’ll make it.
If you think you’ve less milk production, don‘t take any risk by trying only home remedies. Consult a lactation consultant for help or it may be too late.
3. Join your resources.
Nurses and lactation consultant in the hospital will help you but also join other breastfeeding groups and forums for support and get answers to your questions.
4. Breastfeeding regulating
most of the problems concerning breastfeeding are common for all mothers like damaged nipples, infant not gaining weight, frustrated mothers due to unlimited advice and suggestions from so-called experts(neighbors, relatives and sometimes the friends who aren’t even mothers). while the problems can be the same but treatment may not. every mother and child is different and so is their case.so reach out for help on time.
5. Natural things are always best
Breastfeeding may be tiring, exhaustive and irritating sometimes but focus on the prize it gives to the one you love the most in the world. It will help your infant to build immunity against allergies, infections and it is shown that it also reduces the risk of breast cancers in mothers.
Remember, Breastfeeding is the best gift you can give to your child as a mother.