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B: Breastfeeding

April 2, 2015

When I went back to work after my three months of maternity leave, a couple of my colleagues were amazed that  I already seemed to have shed the weight and was baby to my pre-pregnancy weight. They wanted to know how. Forever the wiseass, my standard response is this – I’m on this fantastic program where I can eat pretty much anything I want to and yet, the kilos melt away. 

‘Really? What is it?’ 

It’s called breastfeeding, I’d deadpan. 

It is true though. 

And as I’m slowly discovering, that is just one of its many virtues. 

Though we’d attended a session on breastfeeding before my delivery, I was still oblivious to how often a newborn baby needs to nurse. While I was aware that babies come with a huge baggage called Sleep Deprivation,  I had no clue that in the first week, I’d need to feed lil A every two hours, day and night, whether or not she was awake. (S tells me he was aware of this since this was mentioned in that session. But I didn’t really register it)

So there I was, my first night at home from the hospital, my stitches still healing, a newborn babe who was still struggling to latch on and bawling away since she couldn’t. Worse, she’d fall asleep as soon as she’d latch on. And then I’d desperately try to wake her up. It was exhausting. Soon, she wasn’t the only one bawling away. But that night somehow turned into day. 

And then, within a week, she began to feed on demand. Which meant no more 2 hour alarms at night. Yet, I’d get tired of constantly being at her beck and call and having pretty much no other responsibility than to change and nurse her. I’d get tired of the frequent and the random intervals at which she’d need to nurse in the early months. ‘But I JUST fed you half an hour back!’, I’d say. Or, ‘I’ve been feeding your for nearly two hours now. My back is killing me. Are you done yet?’ Gradually, I understood that babies cannot be um, reasoned with. 

And then one day, while nursing, she paused and looked up at me, looked into my eyes and smiled a little smile that went straight to my heart. It took longer than expected, but there it was, that feeling, finally. That bond. 

Things got so much better there on. I learnt to nurse lying down. So I was more rested. I began to take special delight in watching A as she nursed. Her languor at times, her no-nonsense single-minded gusto at times. And the hilarious squawks that she’d make while swallowing. 

We went on a road trip when she was two months old, and I learnt to nurse on the move. From being worried earlier that I wouldn’t be able to get out much, the trip gave me tons of confidence about being able to nurse anywhere. What’s more, this was as easy as travelling with a baby could get, I realised. No bottles, no sterilising, no baby food, no mess. I began to have new respect for the human body. At six months she was on her first flight, and I nursed her to sleep, during takeoff and landing and while waiting through long delays. 

And the soothing effect that nursing has on both of us? So underrated. You say oxytocin, I say zzzz. 

Today, nearly 8 months (gasp) on, I’m incredibly glad I’ve been able to do this. I often stop and marvel at the fact that this little puppy grew from being a mewling little babe in arms to a crawling, sitting, standing, screaming little monkey that’s nearly three quarters of a metre tall – merely on breastmilk. My respect for science, nature and the human body has never been greater. 

I’m hoping to continue for as long as I can, and until lil A is ready to wean. When the time comes, I hope I shall be ready too. 

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2 comments

  1. Oh my god! You lost weight breastfeeding. I am officially burning up in a giant green fireball of envy


  2. I toyed with the idea of B for Breastfeeding. I’m sure the babies will be ready to wean eventually, but us is totally another matter.



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