B is for Breastmilk
One of the most fun things about motherhood thus far has been breastfeeding the little one. I had read how breastmilk is an excellent source of nutrients for the kid and how its nutrients are more easily absorbed than powdered milk. There were also other benefits of breastfeeding, including lower risk of breast cancer in the mommy + (most importantly) the release of oxytocin which would help to contract the womb back to its normal size. IN OTHER WORDS - breastfeeding helps the mommy get back into shape!!! How appealing is THAT!
Being eager to "try it out", I began breastfeeding immediately after Daniel "popped out" into the world. He took to it quite naturally. (They say little squidges have a "rooting reflex" which is basically an in-built instinct to turn & suck, hence enabling them to latch on to the breast easily and start feeding.) The tough part was figuring out how to position him in a comfortable manner (for both mommy + squidge) such that he was able to feed peacefully and smoothly. Once that was sorted out, with the help of the lactation consultant at Hospital and the confinement nanny at home, all has been proceeding well. The little squidge feeds every 3-3.5hours and the onus is upon us parents to poke, prod and scratch him to keep him awake to get a nice, full feed (around 45 mins per feed). It's quite funny actually - after latching on and gulping down the breastmilk for a few minutes, Daniel will actually fall asleep on the breast. That's when the strong arm tactics of poking, prodding and so on come in, to wake him up and "remind" him that he is hungry and needs to eat... what a sleepyhead we have....
Through it all, I have come to realise the most important benefit of breastfeeding. It's not so much the getting back into shape (although that is still held as a benefit of high regard in my eyes!!) or the nutrition, but the "bonding" that occurs between mother, son and father. Sounds like a horrible cliche, I know, but I now understand what that "bonding" is and how real it is. When mommy breastfeed the son, daddy is always there to help out, give cheer & support and help out with the burping. There is something rather magical & satisfying about knowing that you are able to provide for the kid's needs. Sure, his needs will expands in variety and depth as he moves along, and then, maybe, we'll start feeling inadequate. But for now, breastfeeding has been a largely enjoyable experience and I would definitely recommend it to all mothers-to-be.
The crucial thing for mothers-to-be is to DECIDE ahead of time whether you want to breastfeed or not. If you do, and if you are up and about after birth (e.g., no complications in birth, or premature birth), you MUST try to start immediately, preferably in the labour ward itself. And, you must be psychologically prepared to wake every 3 hours or so to feed the squidge. It WILL be tiring, no doubt, but if you've made up your mind and if you're convinced of the benefits of breastmilk, then stick to it and don't worry, it will be tough in the beginning but, you'll reap the benefits in a few days. Trust me. ^__^ Power to the breast dude!