With my first pregnancy, I did not concern myself much about the challenges and pleasures I would face in feeding my newborn. I felt it was a natural process whether I chose to breastfeed or supplement, it would be easy peasy….right?!. Though in my mind, I had prioritized breastfeeding over supplementing depending on my supply of course. In fact, I intended to breastfeed for 2 years. I tried my best and eventually ended up breastfeeding my daughter, Surah for 17 months. I am quite proud how long I lasted; it gives me satisfaction knowing I gave her my own milk for that long of a period, even though I didn’t reach my intentional mark.
As a first time mom, there are so many new events you face when giving birth. Everything changes; your routine, your body and emotions and the dynamics of your family. You now have another human being to look after the best you can.
I have not shared my birth story on my blog even till this day, as I went through a lot of emotions (both good and bad) and believe I will when I am ready. But one thing I will highlight is how heartbroken I was when I physically couldn’t give my daughter her first meal because I had just gone through an unplanned c-section operation and Surah was in NICU. The nurse asked me which brand of supplement I preferred and it was devastating for me to answer that. I always pictured holding my baby in my arms, breastfeeding and giving her skin-to-skin myself. Though I am grateful it was my husband who fed her but it is something that I am not sure I will get over entirely.
Photo: Surah’s First Day Home
When I was able and ready to breastfeed, having Surah latch on was a challenge. I remember sitting on my bed at home as my mom was guiding me through breastfeeding, when Surah just wouldn’t latch on. I started crying and somehow felt it was my fault or I was unable to do it. My mom held me so tight in her arms and promised me Surah will latch on and that I will have a long-term breastfeeding journey. She gave me a lot of support and guidance. And so I tried and tried until both Surah and I developed a smooth breastfeeding relationship. But to achieve that, we faced many obstacles. I say it is team work, mama and baby working together.
I find most FTMs worry about even the tiniest of things; I was definitely one of them. I feel we are overly protective but rightfully so. We do not want to take any risks or make any mistakes because after all it is our first time. We only desire the best for them and want to make sure we go out of our way to do so. This is one of the reasons Milad and I only trusted and packed products from The Honest Co. in our hospital bag to use straight from birth. It gave us confidence as parents knowing we are trying our best and making informed decisions.
Surah spit up for the first three months, especially when she was relatively full. This is normal and expected but something I had missed out on preparing myself.The first time Surah spit up, I panicked and didn’t know how to react. The first time she got hiccups, they were so subtle I got worried she had trouble breathing so I quickly called the hospital and spoke to the nurse. I guess she heard the concern in my voice that she advised me to go to the nearest emergency. I felt silly afterwards but as a new mom I did not want to let anything slide.
No matter how much we try to prepare ourselves, experiencing the care of a newborn baby does come with its challenges. I am grateful I had a confident and knowledgeable mother who was guiding me through the first delicate stages and helping me build a relationship with my own daughter. I feel that breastfeeding was one of the best ways for us to bond. I am now expecting my second child and eagerly look forward to building a bond with him/her through feeding.