South Africa has one of the worlds lowest breastfeeding rate . Sadly its only a few mothers who chose to breastfeed and only fewer who can.In my opinion there is not enough done to educate mothers of the benefits and workplaces that are not supporting breastfeeding mothers. I chose to breast feed my child for as long as I could. I’m proudly breastfeeding my baby for 10 months already and time has certainly flown by.
As a first time mother, I felt very overwhelmed at birth. I do not think anything can prepare enough for the experience.While I was pregnant I read and watch YouTube videos to learn and come to terms with what would happen. For me more information is better.I do not enjoy surprises.
I had a Cesarean birth because of complications and within minutes the nurse had him on the breast. My initial reaction was shock, how on earth did he know that he was supposed to latch on and suck like that? It felt like a tingle and I watched in amazement as my little boy drank till his hearts content.
In the days that followed, I learnt so much more about breastfeeding. Luckily for me the nurses at Waterfall Hospital maternity unit were so helpful. I remember the one nurse Joy who showed me the various positions to hold baby and how to correctly latch him so that I would not have sore nipples. I have to say, I didn’t think the most natural thing in the world needed to be taught, but it does. You have to learn the right way or its going to be painful.
During my journey I also joined an amazing group of breastfeeding mothers on Facebook called La Leche League South Africa. Whats really great about this group is there are mothers who are just like you on it,facing the similar challenges and you can learn so much from the experienced mums, it really helped me.They also have leaders all over South Africa who will come free of charge to assist you with breastfeeding issues.You can check out their website here for more information: http://www.llli.org/southafrica.html .
While on maternity leave, I started expressing and freezing my milk in preparation to return to work. My life felt like it revolved around making milk.I used to get so emotional some days and I thank my lucky stars for my husband who supported breastfeeding right from the start. I was also blessed at my workplace to be provided with a room to express in privacy. It is a mission to prepare bottles & cooler bag every day and finding time in a busy workday to pump, but I kept in mind the benefits for my child and persevered.
There are times when I feel when Keshav is constantly attached to my boob and other times now when he is eating more solids and drinking less frequently that my heart misses having him close by. Its been a beautiful experience and I strongly recommend that you persevere and breastfeed.
So why Breastfeed you may ask? I chose to breast feed after knowing the benefits well. The fact that my child would have the best in terms of nutrients and antibodies, the further benefit of postpartum weight loss and reduces the risk of breast and ovarian Cancer and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease really are a big plus for a you. Not to mention that breast milk is free and from the source so no need for boiling water and big nappy bags.
During the last 10 months I have experienced plenty eye rolling, stares and comments like “When will you stop?” and “Are you still breastfeeding?” and “I cant believe you are still doing that!!”, and these are from mothers and women surprisingly. I think feeding my child is the most natural thing to do. Thank you to all the people in my life that have supported my journey thus far.
Please support breastfeeding mothers, this is my contribution to the Normalize breastfeeding in South Africa.