Yayy!!! It's world breast feeding week! I'm so excited after the world Father's Day, Independence Day, cousins day, elephants day, strawberry Icecream day, run-it-up-the-flagpost-and-see-if-someone-salutes-it day, earth rotation day, world sword swallowers day, put-a-pillow-on-your-fridge day... oh! How much fun has it been! Never ever have i understood the hype about extended breastfeeding. Sorry to say that, even after being a doc, I always thought it was just enough to go ahead with exclusive breast feeding for a whole six months and then wean the kid.
Now, I've changed my mind. My daughter is a year old and I wouldn't mind feeding her until she says "Mom, enough of this. Leave me alone!".
Let me rewind my history.. my son is now seven years old. He was born when I was doing my post graduation. When I told my department (which happened to be the one of gynecologists) I was pregnant, they gave me weird stares. When I said I needed a half hour afternoon break to breathe a while after all the running around, they laughed. When I told them I am unable to conduct deliveries due to my over huge tummy at 8 months of pregnancy, they insisted I take deliveries at 4am even if the baby accidentally slips from my hand. When I told them I need six months off to exclusively breast feed my baby, they said "you're a gynecologist. You can't do that". When I said I will need three months off, they sighed and refused to reply. When I asked if I could go home for a half hour at noon to feed my 3 month old, they said "NO, the baby can take a bottle". Yes these were told to me by senior gynecologists, doctors and people who are supposed to promote breast feeding. college graduation ceremony wears
Finally I neglected everyone, went home at 36 weeks of pregnancy, hoping to breathe peacefully for the last four weeks. But my little son had better plans for me. He decided to push me into a sudden labour and land into this world just as I was turning 37 weeks. And then he started grunting, developed some sepsis and the neonatologist refused to let me feed him until he was a good three days old. And then we started our feeding war. He had no clue how to use the boob. And he always preferred the easy way of being fed with a spoon. By hook or crook, we continued our feeding relationship for 4 months and then he decided that he had enough of this. So I went back to my post graduation.
My daughter was born 7 years later. I was in a position where I could decide what to do with my career. I decided to take a three month break after delivery and get back to work. I had options of working part time and I had options of feeding her whenever she or me wanted. After my planned three month break, we both decided that this whole "exclusive breast feeding" thing is fun! We could go wherever we want without sterilizing bottles and carrying extra accessories! We went shopping, holidaying, trekking and i fed her in dressing rooms, posh automated feeding rooms where you actually have voice controlled doors, in the mists of a mountain top, at the beach, behind the furnishings sections of department stores (coz that's were you have curtains for privacy and minimum shoppers!).. well, well... we did explore the world a bit. I always knew how to handle her if she got cranky.
At the end of six months, we still didn't want to stop all the fun.. She happily refused to let me get back to work by throwing away all the bottles and spitting out solid food. Well, we worked out a mutual agreement at one year of age and I have finally started working. But it has been fun! Fun, like I never believed was possible!
Recently I was googling for "breastfeeding at work". It looks like mothers of every profession feed their babies, except doctors. The infection risk at work environments, the long work hours, the stressful nature of work in general are all turn offs. It's sad that the people who preach and vouch for breastfeeding hardly get to do it themselves. Doctors should either be given a strict six months of maternity leave or they should've flexible options at work with supportive coworkers. I say this cos I feel the difference-the difference between my two children.
So, yes! It's world breast feeding week and I'm excited!! Three cheers to baby's and mommies best ever pastime!!