Let’s normalize breastfeeding in public please.

It’s breastfeeding week somewhere right?

I can recall a time when my personal opinions were formulated around a certain level of ignorance. I would wonder, why can’t she cover up, when I saw a woman breastfeeding in public. There was a certain level of judgement when she just “plopped-out” her breast to feed her child. Back then, not knowing that when you become a mother, the nurturing of your child becomes your primary focus no matter where you are, no matter the circumstances.

I am pro-choice.

Personally, I did believe that I ought to breastfeed my children at all costs and I learned invaluable lessons with them both. Ultimately, I say do what works for you. With my son, he was admitted to the nursery immediately after birth as he was showing signs of struggled breathing patterns. I was that parent that “prepared” for his birth. So I read books, consistently, in that moment I couldn’t help but feel, why was there no book on what happens next if there are complications developed at birth. Even if there were, why did I not find it? Why did I not read it? Thankfully he survived it all and is thriving to date. But back to the breastfeeding, when he was in the nursery, I couldn’t breastfeed him at the time as they were doing tests, all in efforts to figure out what happened and properly diagnose and treat his symptoms. When the sister on ward asked me to bring breastmilk, I went home on a mission. I wasn’t sure how much he was feeding but I was determined that well, due to my uncertainty of the duration of his admission and there being so many hours in a day; I thought, you need to pump lots! Fill all the 16 oz bottles that you have, more so, fill all the bottles you have. My Even-flo breast-pump became my best friend. I did research on which foods would allow me to generate the most milk and I consumed them all, drank lots of water and eliminated spices, curry, mangoes and so many more items from my diet. Not to say you can’t consume those things, but I recall reading somewhere a list of things that caused loose bowels vs constipation vs whatever else.

I recall my first doctor’s visit post delivery and upon his release from the nursery. We sat in the waiting room with my mother and he became fussy as it was feeding time. I tried to finesse the feed by putting a towel over him and my shoulder to ensure some level of privacy. As time went by I thought what a struggle, especially when I was alone. Finessing the single arm usage was hard to say the least. Eventually I became the plopper that I so judged. LOL. I went from, why can’t you cover up, to well my baby is hungry now and I am going to feed him so shove your perverted thoughts and long winded questions.

With my daughter, I experienced post-birth contractions that lasted for about two-three weeks. There were many days I felt as though I would just quit and she would just not be breastfed and that’d be fine. I mean there were days I rationalized that well, there are so many formula fed folks in this world and they are fine so what’s the big deal. I chose in the end though, breastfeeding at all costs. That was my choice. Though I felt excruciating pain with each session I persisted. I learned that the pain I was feeling was due to my womb contracting and resizing. The pain was insane. I cried each time she nursed. There was a time I felt so disconnected to her, I held her, looked into her eyes and felt nothing. No deep adoration, nothing, just felt incessant pain and just thought she was just staring into my soul trying to figure out who I was. That time was tough. But she eventually went on to breastfeed longer than my first born as I now worked from home. She breastfed until she was two years when my first born was cut off at 6 months.

Breastfeeding is hard so do what works for you and your baby. Consult your physician, midwives and pediatrician for best practices and tips on the way forward. My doctors were warm, my midwife was my superhero. They were all so welcoming and made my pregnancy/birthing experience the best ever. Though my experiences were not perfect, they made the process so much easier to navigate. Thank you, Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, Dr. Cecelia Henny-Harry and Nurse Peterkin.

Let’s normalize breastfeeding in public shall we? Sometimes, life lessons are learned post experience. Let’s make an effort to educate ourselves and be open to circumstances though we may have not experienced it. Do your own research, educate yourself. Let’s try to be the best humans we can be.

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