Breastfeeding means different things to a lot of people worldwide. New mothers are often adviced to breastfeed their new offspring exclusively for six months because of the health benefits it offers the new mum and the baby. This week, we want to look at nursing mothers who were able to breastfeed their children and what it meant to them.
Personally, I breastfed my daughters exclusively for six months and still continued to breastfeed for more than 1 year and 3 months. From breastfeeding them exclusively, I didn’t have to worry about going to hospital frequently because there was no sicknesses to worry about. The girls were healthy throughout the breastfeeding period and beyond.
In speaking to some new mothers, here’s what they shared with us.
Bola – Adjiringano
I had an emergency C-section caused by a medical condition called placenta abruption. My baby and I were in critical condition and so breastfeeding was the least of the priorities. Upon partial recovery, I commenced breast pumping since my baby (preemie) was still in the NICU. The breastmilk was subsequently supplemented with special formula since my preemie had some medical issues. My baby got used to the bottle after two months of being in the NICU and so she refused sucking direct from the breast. This led to a decrease in breastmilk supply which eventually ceased after several attempts and efforts. It was emotionally depressing to come to terms with the fact that my baby was being deprived of the benefits of breastmilk as well as the “mother-child” bonding that emanates from breastfeeding. So for me, I didn’t have the privilege of breastfeeding my baby but nevertheless, I’m still very grateful and proud of the medical milestones she has achieved.
Mimie – Ashaley Botwe
Breastfeeding means the world to me, I breastfed my little one for two years, we stopped breastfeeding 3 days ago. For me, it was a great honor to be a source of nourishment for my little one. I enjoyed every bit of it and my favorite part was seeing her kick in excitement as she suckled. In the beginning, it wasn’t easy as I had an inverted nipple and a large breast that could barely produce any milk. I remember hooking the milk bags onto the double breasted pump all in the effort of ‘tricking my body to produce more milk”.
I didn’t mind expressing and pouring it away as long as it will open up the milk flow. I Introduced formula for a while but I quit it once my milk flow stabilized.
Is it me or babies within the first month can eat a lot?. I swear I thought my little one had a hole somewhere in her stomach or at least a problem . I could spend a good 30 minutes to express 30 mils and she will finish the milk in minutes and still be sucking air out of the bottle. It was frustrating, it was tiring, it is stressful but it was worth it.
At five months, I old almost gave up my partially exclusive journey, some events had stressed me up and that really affected my milk production. Baby cried often and she won’t sleep for long. She became so irritable and It became easier after I introduced supplements after six months. And then even harder beyond 1.6 months. I have a tall baby and at her age we could easily pass for 2 or 2.5 anytime. And the fact that she’d boldly demand her dessert from my chest didn’t go down well with my old counselors in public places. I had to keep reassuring myself that this was my decision and I wouldn’t do it otherwise. Looking back, I’m glad I continued to the end.
Baraka – Lapaz
My baby couldn’t suckle well when he was born so the nurse had to use a syringe to pull the nipple out. It was a horrible experience to begin with but knowing the essence of breastfeeding and the health benefits for my baby, I didn’t think twice. I breastfed my baby for 2yrs. It was a pleasure going through that journey with my precious one. It was hard for me to stop him from crying when I finally weaned him. Because I used breastfeeding a lot to stop him from crying.
Mariama Fuseini – Kasoa
The ultimate for me regarding breastfeeding has to do with its nutritional value to babies. As a mother, I believe that poor nutrition and poor hygiene is significantly reduced when breastfeeding my babies. Since malnutrition contributes to half of all infant deaths, breastfeeding helps to reduce infant mortality.
Breastfeeding has also been associated with lower rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease as well as improved neurocognitive development. Hence, breastfeeding means everything to me in respect to the health of my infants.
Having heard so many stories about breastfeeding and my Princess being my first, I was ready for my own experience of being a source of nourishment for my little one.For about a week after she was born, we were admitted to hospital because her temperature was so high and the naive mother that I was, didn’t know I had to wake her up to suckle even though she seemed to be enjoying her sleep better.I learnt that lesson a very hard way and thereafter, have made breastfeeding the most important thing for both my baby and myself.She’s 9 months now and has started pulling my nipples with her ‘rabbit-teeth’ but it’s always a pleasure to have her suckle.I hope to continue till she’s about a year and half or two.
Mariam – Accra
I’ve always believed that lactation starts as soon as the baby comes. Before my daughter was born, I had high expectations regarding to breastfeeding. My aim was to do exclusive for at at least six months. Except the first six weeks was tough and stressful. I’ve always had normal nipples until I delivered my baby. My first attempt to breastfeed was a challenge. The shape of my nipples just changed and became flat. As a result of this, my daughter found it difficult to latch on to them. I was advised to massage and stimulate the nipples with shear butter which I did but to no avail. They still remained flat.
After three days, my breast had still not started producing milk so I introduced formula to the baby. That was when my dream of doing six months exclusive breastfeeding came to an end. I started lactating on the fourth day. My daughter at this stage could still not grab the nipples so I resorted to breast pumps. I used the manual breast pump and fed her from a bottle . This also came with some problems such as hand and shoulder pains, sores and dryness on the nipples, low milk supply and tiredness. It was a relief when I finally got my nipples back after six weeks. I had a successful breastfeeding experience afterwards.
Eva – Achimota
It’s is my first child so my first time breastfeeding a baby after giving birth around 3:30pm. The nursing staff brought the baby around 4 or 5pm. When my baby was brought to me, I was asked to feed her. At the beginning, the breast milk was not enough for her so at dawn I prepared formula for her. It some days later when were were able to get enough of the breast milk. It’s an amazing experience for me because she’s still suckling. Sometimes it’s stressful at dawn because maybe I don’t get enough sleep throughout the day so when I want to rest at dawn, then she starts to cry because she is hungry. I can’t choose sleep over my baby so I have to wake up and feed her. Sleeping was easy when we were some weeks old but now I can sleep a little more because I feed her some porridge. Except for the night when we do breastfeeding throughout. During the day is for porridge and breast milk. I’m happy to experience breastfeeding now because I thought it was something simple and the way some mothers talk about it I felt they were just nagging. When she cries, it’s always because she wants to suckle, it has a way of calming her down.I’d say it’s a great experience
Nafisa – Kasoa
I knew breastfeeding was the best for my baby from the on-start and I had prepared myself to exclusively breastfeed my baby for six months. Imagine my worry when I couldn’t breastfeed my baby for the first three days of his life because there wasn’t any milk coming. I had to make-do with formula until I could finally breastfeed him.
When I breastfeed my baby,knowing that his nourishment came from me was such a delight that I wished I could go on forever breastfeeding him! I know other moms can relate to the bonding that is exclusively mother and baby’s during breastfeeding.
I had sore nipples during the first week but that didn’t deter me from providing my baby with the best food for his early life.
Featured image: https://www.bbc.com/pidgin/tori-49196993