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This is a breastfeeding story about a mom, a long time reader of my blog, who is truly an inspiration because of the way she has persevered to give her baby the best. Those moms who realize how important breast milk is for baby will go through a lot to ensure that their baby gets only the best.
This vegetarian mom wants to raise a real food baby as she realizes how bad processed foods are, especially for a little stomach. Lets meet Kiana…
Kiana was born on the 3rd of May 2013, which makes her almost 9 months old. Even though I am close to this mom, and I knew about her story from the start it still makes me feel her story a real feat.
Here is her story in the words of her awesome mom: Natali.
WM: I know Kiana is an almost exclusively breastfed baby in the first 6 months, though she has never latched on. How?
Natali: From the beginning Kiana was an above average baby in height weight and all other aspects. At birth she weight 8 pounds. She lost a lot of weight like all babies do in the first 24 hours and didn’t regain quickly. Everyone in the hospital (Breach Candy) literally forced me to give her formula, as she was not taking my breast.
I was completely against formula after reading your blog for a long time before Kiana was born and had read up a lot on breastfeeding. I knew that the baby really didn’t need anything for the first 48 hours, but even after that she was refusing to take my breast. It was quite traumatic for her and me especially in the hospital. So I decided not to push it and go home and try in a more comfortable environment.
I was quite adamant about not giving formula and the staff there was forcing me to give her formula so I started pumping in the hospital. I had bought a medela mini electric initially and I pumped every 2 hours -10 mins on each side – and initially only produced 2 oz in total every time. But I managed to get her to gain a whole kilo in one night.
Once I came home I started pumping every 3 hours totally 7 times a day and increased my time slowly to 20 minutes each breast and soon I was pumping 18 oz a day which was not enough for her so for the first month I had to give her formula as well. But it was never more than 3oz a day of formula. She was mostly consuming only breast milk.
I kept trying to breastfeed but she just refused the breast completely. I even met lactation consultants but they were not able to figure out why Kiana was refusing to feed from the breast.
By the second month my supply increased to 25 oz a day and I didn’t need formula anymore
In the third month I bought a Medela freestyle double pump thinking I’ll save time this way but I could never double pump. Anyhow it was more comfortable than the first pump. I increased the gap to pumping every 4 hours (20 minutes each breast) and that was 5 times a day this routine stayed for about 2 months and I was pumping approximately 30 sometimes 40 oz a day and since her intake was less than what I was producing I used to freeze the remaining milk.
In the 5th month I started pumping every 5 hours 4 times a day – 30 minutes on one side- as the letdown was very slow and milk started flowing only after the first 15 minutes and 20 minutes on the other side this routine stuck till she was 6 months. The maximum I have pumped is 42oz in a day.
I never missed pumping. If I were travelling (within the city or elsewhere) I would pump in the car or wherever I was a could get privacy.
Once I started giving solids I started pumping 3 times a day I pumped about 27oz a day but her appetite really shot up for milk (in spite of eating solids) while my supply began to diminish. She used to drink about 35 Oz a day. I had to dig into my frozen stock. In total I had about 70 – 5oz – breast milk bags in my freezer (lots of milk) and it was gone in 1 and a half months.
So before it got over I began to freak out. This was a lot of hard work and I just didn’t want to give her formula after all that. So I introduced buffalo milk. She rejected it at first, as she knew the difference. Now at almost 9 months she drinks about 5 Oz of buffalo milk in the day and before she sleeps after which I give her the breast milk that I pumped in the morning and her midnight feed is also breast milk that I pump in the night. (Details below).
Since she has turned 8 months I pump only twice a day 30 minutes each breast and I’m finally on my way to giving up the pump so now I pump twice a day but 20 minutes each side totally 15oz a day. The day she turns 9 months I’m going to bring it down to 15 minutes each side n by the end of the month ie. by the time she is 10 months I’m stopping it all together.
It’s been very hard to pump all these months as after I pumped I had to bottle feed her, which took hours, as she is a slow feeder. I feel I have done the best I could do for my daughter. I am proud that I persevered and didn’t give my baby commercial formula in spite of her not latching on at all. I don’t mind stopping milk altogether by the time she is one year old as Kiana is not very fond of milk and dairy but loves solids. . I may introduce it again when she is a bit older, one glass a day probably.
WM: So what does Kiana’s meals look like?
- As of now (she will be 9 months old tomorrow 3rd Feb) she eats 2 egg yolks in the morning about half an hour after she gets up. One boiled and one fried in butter or ghee
- 2 hours later she has 3-5 oz milk (buffalo).
- 2-3 hours after around 12 30 – 1pm she has a whole bowl full of veggies. First steamed and then before serving I sauté them in a pan with little haldi mirhchi and dhania powder in ghee with onions and capsicum at times and a pinch of salt (thanks to your recipes).
- After that at about 3 pm (2 hours later) she has 5 oz of milk. Then at around 5 she eats an entire bowl of fruit. Either 2 huge slices of papaya or 1 huge banana with 2 figs or 1 big slice of sweet melon.
- Then at 7 – 7 30 she has 8oz – 12oz of breast milk and she is out till about 11 30. She has 5oz of breast milk again and at 3:30 or so she has another 4 – 5 oz.
WM: Why did you decide to go grain free for your baby?
Natali: I am not against grains completely. I will start rice and other grains once she is older. I have been reading your blog and realize that babies have small stomachs. Therefore I prefer to give her the best nutrients right now in terms of vegetables and fruits. Once she gets bigger and eats more I will give her grains.
WM: You say she likes solids, how do you know?
Natali: She finishes everything I give her she eats every meal quietly without a noise no complain no nothing I’m so confused if she is full or not at times. She gets 1 toy while she is eating and has no distraction. Sometimes I sing or talk to her if she needs it. She is very easy, very healthy and happy and surpassing all her milestones far faster than average.
Though I am a major campaigner of breastfeeding and I know I would have persevered through all odds to ensure that my child got breast milk, I still think this story is very commendable. Being primal for 4 years now, I know how foods that come out of boxes are a no no and giving it to a baby is sad. Another mom thought so too after reading my blog and for that I am glad. That’s why I write!
Having said that there are mothers out there who have taken all efforts to breastfeed their child but just cannot for some reason or the other. My heart goes out to them.
This post is not for them, but for moms who can breastfeed but give up way to easily believing the false notion that formula is not so bad after all.
Formula is bad. It’s unnatural. It’s made from ingredients that we shouldn’t touch with a pole let alone a newborn baby.
Thanks Natali for sharing your inspiring tale and doing the best thing you could do for beautiful little Kiana. Lets hope you inspire other moms to do what it takes to ensure their baby gets breast milk.
Thanks for reading! Thoughts?