My Breast Feeding Mistakes - That You Should Never Do

→My story of breast feeding will serve as a lesson for those uninitiated like me when I delivered my first child and me and my husband hardly had any general knowledge about how to breast feed a baby. Breast-feeding is one of the most precious gift to a baby from her mother, primarily because it saves baby's life and reduces her chance of dying early and also affects baby's body and mind through out baby's life.

I was very excited and happy with the thought of my first child and tried to read the literature whatever I could read. Finally after the wait of more than 8 months, time had arrived. Labour pain started , I was feeling them but they were not very high. After doctor placed some medicine, it started with full force.

The whole night I was going through the pains and felt as my energy draining out. Somehow, I could manage to give birth to my little daughter the next morning. I read so much about excitement of baby birth and the first sight of baby. I felt good to see her but the overpowering thought was relief from the pains. I felt as if I will not be able to bear this again. Another thought was to go to sleep. I was feeling as if I could sleep for days together.

Being the first time mother(worse she was the first new born child I had ever seen in my life), I was not aware even how to hold the baby, how to breast feed her. I felt myself at total loss. Unfortunately, I could not get help also. And the first start of breast feeding itself went totally wrong. I was advised to throw the first milk (called Colostrum, the precious yellow liquid). Although I had already read that you should not do that. But amidst the foggy mind out of sleeplessness and tiredness, I followed the advice of my traditional mother-in-law. The first mistake!

My dilemma added with the fact that I was unable to hold my baby properly and that was making her cry as soon as she used to come in my lap. I made very wrong start that first two days I tried to feed her but when I could not get any success I gave up. I was criticized by my own mother-in-law that I was unfortunate to be unable to produce the milk. I was not aware that initially after delivery only a few teaspoon of breast milk comes out, until baby increases her demands. But this all made me worried and overwhelmed me and made the situation worse.

Third day, when I pressed my breast, some milk was coming. Being totally naive and worried, I put all the pressure on my breast to express the milk. That time, the only thought was that I wanted to feed my baby with my own milk. The second mistake. It injured the breasts from inside.

The third mistake I made that again following her advice I put my baby on bottle feed. Giving baby bottle feed is the worst thing you can do in breast feeding. Since baby gets continuous flow of milk from bottle with great ease, it'd not compromise for anything else beyond it, once introduced. The baby will refuse to take breast feed because it is much harder for her to extract milk from mother's breast. Now my baby was not ready to breast feed.

The right thing is to latch on properly i.e. hold the baby properly and feed the baby at regular intervals. Even the malnourished mothers are able to produce enough milk for their babies. Initially after delivery usually mother's milk supply is less as babies are born with full stomach and they don't need to be fed for many hours. Breast milk supply slowly increases as baby's needs increase. We( I and my husband) were misguided on this.

Moreover unable to make baby latch for feed made it worse. The remaining damage was done by my mother-in-law by making sarcastic comments about my breast-feeding ability. The result of this was that even though my breast was able to produce enough milk but my baby was not able to feed it. This caused engorgement and mastitis. Due to this latching problem, in three months I had to take course of antibiotics thrice.

It was late when we realized much damage has been done by introducing bottle feed to our baby. It was a difficult moment seeing my baby refusing my own breast feed.

We consulted some lactation experts on internet(especially and was advised to stop the bottle feed totally so that the baby can be slowly trained to breast feed. As when she was hungry she would be forced to feed on the breast. We avoided giving her bottle. But again she could not latch on properly (as we made mistake of introducing bottle to her) resulting in not able to feed properly and this also resulted in cuts and swelling in my breast(after consultation from doctor, I took antibiotics to control it). She'd try to feed on my breast whole day only with some success as she found very difficult for her to latch on and do the effort of breast feed. For many days we avoided giving her anything else so that she could get back on breast feeding. This led to her malnourishment. With empty stomach she'd cry a lot. Whole night, I'd sit with her as she used to cry continuously.

My husband searched a lot in Internet for solution to this predicament. He got hold of a lady in Bangalore who offered free of cost manual Medela breast pump. This breast pump was the ultimate life saver for all of us. I'd regularly use it to extract breast milk and feed it using tea spoon. Due to continuous extraction of breast milk the swelling of breast went down and also increased the flow of milk.

Since using this manual breast pump was tiring, after research he finally decided to go for a electric breast pump(Medela, Swiss brand costing Rs. 6500 from a Chennai reseller) which worked very nicely.

Our this experience was a nightmare for me and my husband which left deep scar on us. This breast pump should be made readily available in India. My sister was not that lucky. Her son was admitted in hospital after birth for a couple of days. This leads to engorgement and mastitis if milk is not extracted continually from mother's breast. In her case it created severe problem. She tried the cheap manual breast pumps(you should avoid them!), which destroyed her breast milk channels and finally her baby was the loser. If she had had access to Medela pump she would have been able to produce breast milk as naturally.

While after birth of my second baby my breast feeding went smoothly as from the moment she born I kept on feeding her every two-three hours regularly and had ample milk for her up to five months of her age. I did not require to give her any other feed. Only after she became seven months old we started supplementary food. But this breast pump greatly helped me when my second baby was admitted within a week of her birth due to high Bilirubin in blood(Jaundice). She was admitted for full two days and I used this electric breast pump to continually extract milk in a cup and send it to her to be fed by nurses using tea spoon.

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Indian doctors not interested

The main problem in India is that doctors don't want to tell mothers all since they don't have time and instead spend time on the next patient.