I had quite a tough time in the beginning stage of my breastfeeding journey. From being forced to give formula milk, to cracked nipples, to low supply, to engorgement, to fever due to engorgement, to nipple blisters, to nipple confusion – I experienced it all :p
I cried, and cried, and cried during these trying times but I never ever want to quit breastfeeding because of one reason – I hated formula milk and the formula milk companies with my whole being. As painful it was to have my nipple bled and cracked open, it was nothing compared to the pain in my heart when I had to feed him formula milk.
I was one of those ‘crunchy, earth-mother type’ mom – if you want to put label me – so it was really hard for me to accept the fact that I had to resort to formula milk to feed my baby. When I was pregnant, not once in my head I thought I would need to learn about types of formula milk or bottle feeding or even pumping as I thought I would just direct-latch my baby! I bought breastfeeding bras, and breastfeeding-friendly clothes, and breast pads only to be disappointed by the fact that I had to mix powdered milk with warm water into sterilised bottle during my baby’s feeding time.
Many times, in between my sobs while bottle-feeding my baby I asked my husband – what do you think is the ‘hikmah’/lessons behind this? Why do I still have to give my baby formula milk when I had tried so hard to breastfeed him?
What went wrong?
He tried his hardest to console me by giving me different views from; at least the baby is fed, and we are being a good responsible parent for we can’t possibly starve our baby!. But nothing really gave me a peace of mind.
At 12 weeks, finally, I am able to fully breastfeed my baby. The formula milk container is now sitting idle at the back of my shelf – as a reminder of how hard I worked and how far I have come to breastfeed my baby.
Looking back, I realised now that perhaps what went wrong was my intention.
Perhaps my initial intention of why I want to breastfeed is because I want people to think I am a good mom. Or perhaps because I want to live up to my own ideals. Or perhaps because I want to show contempt towards the formula milk companies. Or perhaps because I thought that I, me and only me could provide the best food for my baby through my breast milk.
Perhaps my decision to breastfeed was laced with ego, arrogance and hatred. And that is why I struggled so much.
I still have my reserve towards formula milk companies, and now that I have managed to fully-breastfeed my baby, I will not be feeding him formula milk again, but I knew that for some mothers, and some babies – perhaps this is their only solution.
I am also reminded that it’s not me who provide the best food for my baby – it’s Allah who did that – through my breast milk. I am merely a channel through which the milk flows.
I have to re-check and re-state my intention again. Why do I want to breastfeed my baby?
I want to breastfeed my baby to please Allah and to achieve His blessings. As mentioned in the Quran (2:233), I plan to breastfeed until my son is 2 years old. My hope and prayer is that Allah will make it easy on me to continue this journey. May Allah will grant me patience to persevere on present and future challenges, as how He has helped me persevere in the past. And May Allah always guide me towards the right intention and to accept all that I did, as an ‘ibadah’ for Him and only Him, ameen.