My greatest worry as a expectant mom was delivering the baby. After hearing multiple stories from everyone around about labor, epidural, C sec, I was terrified of the moment. Luckily for me, the birthing process was the smoothest part. 2 days before my due date I got natural labor pains. I was well dilated and was induced within 2 hours and I delivered my little girl within the next 4 hours. I was relieved but the ignorant me dint know the real struggles were yet to begin.
Breastfeeding is no child’s play. Before becoming a mom, most of us don’t really give it a thought. Don’t we expect this to be the most natural process and it should be effortless, isn’t it? While most of the expectant moms eat a healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, iron , calcium, is that enough? And what happens when despite all the healthy diet and all the efforts in feeding your baby, you find out that the feed is not enough?
In my case, my daughter was barely a few days old and used to cry incessantly. Despite my feeding her for 45 minutes at a stretch at regular intervals, she was impatient and used to keep demanding more, howling and refusing to sleep. One night where we hardly slept a wink as our baby kept crying and her face almost turned red the next morning, we rushed her to the paediatrician in the wee hours. Thats when after examining her, the paediatrician told us that my feed wasn’t enough for her and we have to supplement her diet.
While this came as a shock to me and for quite sometime I consumed myself with the guilt that this was all my fault, with the support of my mother I was able to get a hold on myself. I realised I can either drown myself in unnecessary guilt or shake it off and do whats best for my baby in the given situation.
I consulted the paediatrician, spoke to few of my friends who had faced a similar situation and did extensive reading online. Here are a few tips which I came across and helped me raise a healthy baby.
- Breastfeeding no doubt is the most effective way of safeguarding the health of a baby. It has long term benefits. Rich in Vitamin E and Natural DHA, it plays a vital role in infant cognition. It should be the preferred approach for every mom.
- However there could be cases where the breastmilk is not enough in which case the baby’ diet needs to be supplemented. In my case I used formula milk when my baby was still an infant. However once she was 3.5 months old, we started giving her fresh fruit juices which were extracted from the fruits and warmed slightly to prevent her from catching cold. Fruits are a good source of minerals and vitamins including iron. They aid cognitive development.
- When she turned 4 months we started giving her well cooked and mashed rice and dal and slowly added vegetables to it. Natural Vitamin E and DHA are crucial for baby brain development. Spinach, Broccoli, and other leafy vegetables are a good source of Vitamin E.
- Being sea food lovers, we were keen to get our baby started on sea food. The benefits of sea food which are rich in DHA are an essential part of a baby’s diet. Salmon, mackerel, tuna fish and eggs are a good source of DHA. It plays a crucial role in infant cognition.
- The five important nutrients for a baby’s brain development are DHA, Zinc, Iron, Copper and Choline. Ensuring that the baby gets a balanced diet which provides these requisite nutrients is vital for his/her cognitive development.
As moms we always want the best for our babies. It starts with their birth and its a long journey therefrom where we need to make so many decisions at every stage. Knowing that we are doing the right thing gives us comfort. My initial struggles with breastfeeding but finding a way out and providing my baby with the right nutrition in such a situation was an experience which taught me some vital lessons as a mom.