Breastfeeding, apart from being an important biological process, is a nerve-wracking for every first-time mother. Apart from the jitters of dealing with the birth of the child, many new moms undergo a melange of emotion when they are expected to give the newborns their first feed. They are emotionally drained and riddled with many doubts that can often mar the beautiful experience of breastfeeding for now. But sadly, many families don't understand the plight first-time mothers go through. At such times, husbands can step up, giving some much-needed encouragement and comfort to their jittery wives, especially since it's World Breastfeeding Week. In case you are wondering what's going on through her mind, here's a quick look:
The welcoming of newborn into this world unleashes a tsunami of love in the mother. Breastfeeding should ideally begin as soon as a child is born since breast milk offers so many benefits to the child, which will help the baby overcome illnesses in future.
Anxiety is a very common and worrisome emotion in new moms. They worry about practically everything related to breastfeeding. Many questions run through their minds: “Is it enough for the baby?” , “Is the nose getting pressed?”, “Which position to feed in?”, “Why does my child cry?’’and “How long should I feed for?” These are some of the top questions mothers worry about. In fact, the anxiety is so overwhelming that a lot of mothers choose to switch to formula feed just to overcome this feeling. Ideally a lactation consultant’s help should be sought to overcome these issues.
When the baby doesn’t latch properly, or cries often, most mothers go into a tizzy. A lot of them consider that they are not good enough as mothers. This is how most psychological problems begin when mothers start to feel inadequate. Counselling and group support at this stage is imperative. It can begin at home and if family members are unable to get through, then professional help and counselling should be sought.
Many mothers battle postpartum depression and are unable to connect with the babies. Along with mood their sleep and appetite may go for a toss. Many even report suicidal ideas. It is necessary to see a psychiatrist at this point to get the right help.
Once breastfeeding becomes a routine, the sleep cycles of the infant and mother start to sync and the overwhelming feeling passes. Most mothers learn to accept breastfeeding as a part of their being. This is one of the most fulfilling feelings for a mother.
Here's a Step-by-Step Breastfeeding Video For New Moms:
Now that you know the challenges your partner is most-likely going through, here's how you can be more supportive:
Don’t say things that are harsh. Don’t belittle. Never compare one mother to another or compare her to other mothers. The struggle for each woman is different.
Try to accommodate to their timings and schedules of feeding.
Don’t reflect your anxiety
If you are more anxious than the mother, avoid showing it and projecting it onto them. Try to get an expert onboard to guide you both.
It is important for new mothers to know that they have your 100 percent support. Use terms like “You are doing a good job”, “Let me help you by reading an article.” This helps motivate them.
Care for their nutrition
Breastfeeding mothers need extra 500 kcal. Often with the busy schedule of feeding and catching sleep, their eating habits are compromised. Ensure you take good care of their diet.
Don't let your wife deal with the trials and tribulations of new motherhood on her own. Be a supportive spouse and understand that your wife is going through a medley of emotions after the child birth. Let your journey to parenting start on the right note.
(This article has been contributed by Dr Era Dutta, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist and Therapist Mind Wellness & Fortis Healthcare)