If I could describe my breastfeeding journey in two words, it would be “painful” and “rewarding”. Yes, these two words seem to contradict but the difficulties of grappling with breastfeeding challenges added to the beauty and intimacy of it.
To be honest, I’ve never been one to worry much so I wasn’t very concerned with breast feeding at the start. Also, I had observed how fuss-free breastfeeding was for my sisters who had children before me, so I somehow assumed my experience would be equally easy. Unfortunately it wasn’t the case.
During my initial attempts at breastfeeding, I couldn’t get my baby to latch on correctly no matter how hard I tried. She was either unable to latch on, or when she did it was extremely painful for me – giving me bruises and bringing tears to my eyes. Thankfully, my sisters were there with me all the way and taught me the useful tip of tickling my baby’s bottom lip to ensure that her mouth was wide open before latching on, which worked miracles! They also supplied me with lanolin cream to apply in between feedings to heal my nipples. More importantly, they gave me all the moral and emotional support I needed by encouraging me and sharing their own experiences with me.
After that, I was able to breastfeed with ease and even looked forward to it as it was an amazing mother and daughter bonding time. It also allowed me an opportunity to relax with my baby amidst the other daily activities of caring for her.
I would definitely encourage all mothers to try and breastfeed not only because of its health benefits (it lowers the risk of allergies, and protects against various illnesses), but because it is such a rewarding feeling to be able to provide sustenance for your baby which comes from you, not to mention the money you can save. It really feels like the most natural thing in the world to do!
Contributed by Jane Gu, 29 years old, mother of one. Jane breastfed her daughter for 20 months.
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