If you are breastfeeding, then you need to read this.
I am an early childhood teacher, and often I come across moms, mostly first-time moms, who have many questions about breastfeeding. From the first to second years, many things encircle their minds. It is incredible—the capacity that these mothers have. I have to say it out loud: you are superhumans!
You know, bringing up a little life, managing work, and a home—all of it—all together. Ahh! Pat on the back. All this is so new and challenging, but these moms still do it.
With the amount of information that a new mom is overloaded with, it becomes difficult to choose and understand what needs to be done, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Plus, waking up all hours of the night and mornings to pump and fill those bottles isn’t a joke!
To start, the one fact I want to state is that a child needs breastmilk for up to six months for essential development, as mentioned by the World Health Organisation. So, there it is—one thing loud and clear. Now comes the part where the child is still breastfeeding after six months. Here is where you, the mom, the best decider of your child, need to take a step back and gradually bring in a change. Now, why I say gradually is because you can’t really be like, “Oh, the six months is done; I am out of here. Here is your formula, kid.”
What is needed here is self-talk—first. Because when you are breastfeeding, there is a special connection that develops and further deepens your relationship with your baby. You can blame the happy-emotion hormone oxytocin for that (I don’t mind it)! So definitely, in the process of breastfeeding, you too become attached. And that much needed, one-on-one interaction time.
This is why we need to have a self-talk first. You need to understand that you have given your baby their much-needed nutrients for growth through your six months of breastfeeding. And, now, the world’s produce can help them. This can be an exceedingly difficult process because, after some time of breastfeeding, you get into a system of doing it—and so does your child.
But what happens when, one fine day, you sit down with your pumping machine and boom—there is no milk coming out of your breasts? (A major mental-emotional breakdown.) After months and months of breastfeeding, your body just takes its course; the milk production slows down.
So dear mom, please don’t blame yourself if milk isn’t coming out.
Please don’t beat yourself up for it. This is your body. Remember the beautiful life you created with it. It deserves more acceptance and love than anything else. So please know that, no, it is not bad. It is not your fault, and nothing is abnormal about this.
All you need to do from here is give your child support to make and accept the change. If it has happened all of a sudden and was unplanned, then definitely try variating options and take advice from your pediatrician as to what would work. It could be cow’s milk or formula (or a mix of both). The outside help will also support your decision-making.
It will probably be a long process, but through trial and error, your child will develop a taste for something over some time. It is highly possible that they might just not want milk, which is all good, in my opinion, as long as they are consuming good amounts of nutrients in solid form.
Believe that you are doing an incredible job, and nobody knows your child better than you do. Trust your instincts and listen to your body! It is quite easy to forget yourself when you become responsible for somebody else, especially when it comes to your finest creation!
Don’t forget yourself, you beautiful, giving person! Just slow down, plan it out, and make the transition smoothly. This will help your baby and support you in being that superhuman that you are, both at work and at home.