Actress and producer Lala Akindoju has joined women around the world to discuss her breastfeeding experience at the dawn of the world breastfeeding week.
World Breastfeeding week was celebrated last week. It is organized by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF.
The day came with the goal to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life which yields many health benefits, providing critical nutrients, protection from deadly diseases such as pneumonia and fostering growth and development for the first time in 1991. It is celebrated August 1 to 7 every year.
Narrating her experience, Akindoju said her breastfeeding experience came with pain as she struggled to produce milk for her newborn son so she had to switch to the formula 24 hours alternative after his birth.
She added that she did try all recommended measures but they just were not successful enough to help her pump milk.
She wrote, “WorldBreasfeedingWeek was last week and I read many beautiful posts from mother’s celebrating the joys of breastfeeding and being the sole provider of nourishment for the children in the first one year at least. None really captured my experience, hence this post.
“Breastfeeding was not a beautiful experience for me and I find that women don’t share their not-so-beautiful experiences. From the moment Adeore was born, my body produced very little colostrum and though the nurses massaged, pressed and squeezed- we only got few drops every time he needed to feed. So 24 hours after delivery, he was given formula which consumed in seconds.”
She added that her inability to produce enough milk to breastfeed her child caused her pain and she felt guilty as she fed her son with formula.
This pain she continued was worsened by relatives who told her to shun formula and breastfeed the child.
“In my mind I was like- “I will still breastfeed o”, #BreastisBest right! El-oh-el. The struggle began- my body was not producing enough milk to feed my child. I would spend 40 minutes pumping and will hardly get 20ml of milk. I drank ogi (which I hate), lactation drinks, fenugreek tea topped with 6-8 fenugreek tablets daily. Nothing was working,” she added.
“I felt guilty. I cried. This is minus the struggle of getting a good latch, cracked nipples and the pain. I was sure I was denying my child the nutrients he needed to grow properly, so I kept at it. I was also worried that I would miss out on the mother & child bond formed during breastfeeding.
“The calls from aunties saying “hope you’re breastfeeding o”, “don’t give him formula o” – didn’t help at all. I know they meant well but those words triggered me. I couldn’t even confidently say what I was going through. Then I’ll come online and see new mothers posting bottles of milk expressed after 15 minutes of pumping, plus complaints of soaked clothes with milk. At this point I had to ask God if I was a step child.”
With time, she accepted that she couldn’t produce enough milk and she settled on formula for her baby.
She encouraged nursing mothers experiencing the same thing not to beat themselves up, as long as their babies are well-fed and happy.
“I breastfed for all 4 weeks and it was hard. Thankfully my husband was very supportive and he was fine with Adeore feeding on just formula. At some point he actually said I should stop, but I was forming I must breastfeed.
“If you are experiencing this. You are ok. You are doing great. Be easy on yourself because your baby needs you. Breast milk is great. Formula is great too. A fed baby is a happy baby ??”