Our Journey = Mine, Zawji’s & Ruqaiya’s Journey.
It was a rough journey but now I feel better and can talk about it alhamdulillah.
I am of those who always wanted to breastfeed entire first 2 years of their child’s life, as recommended in Islam. But we plan and ALLAH plans and He is best of the planners.
My decision of breastfeeding for two years was not only because it is recommended in Islam but because I see value in it. Apart from all the health benefits that mother and child get, there is a unique bond and unexplainable feeling that comes in the bundle of breastfeeding one’s child.
For those who are unable to breastfeed due to any health reasons, kindly do not get upset, there is surely khair in that. ALLAH knows better than us. But for those who are “able” but choose not to breastfeed, I would HIGHLY recommend to at least giving it a try. All the inconveniences associated with breastfeeding get overpowered by just the bond that mother and child experience, don’t deprive yourself of that pleasure.
Above being said, it is a reality that some times we breastfeeding moms have to switch against our wish to bottle-feeding. I personally had to go that route because without me even realizing my princess was not getting the nutrition that she should have been getting, wallahu alam what caused the decrease. By the time I found out we had to supplement her with some formula milk on side for her weight gain. After two days of getting bottle once a day (only 4 ounces or so) she decided not to put effort to breastfeed…which would be described as her self weaning. All this was just a few weeks before she was to turn one. Seeing my passion for breastfeeding pediatrician suggested that I could pump and give but it was very less milk. Then I was told to pump frequently just to increase the quantity. But subhanALLAH that entire process was very stressful. Why?
Because to begin with, I was depressed – YES DEPRESSED – that I could no longer experience that bond. I was MISSING IT. If you know any 11 month old they would not sit still so I could not cuddle with her the way we used to during nursing sessions. On top of that it was whole lot added work. I was pumping numerous time without any gain and each time I had to wash pump parts + all the bottles needed to be washed/sanitized + she gave up on all the food she used to eat so she was solely on bottle. With each pumping session I was getting more and more frustrated. There was this feeling of not being able to do something I so conveniently used to do bidhnillah. And then there were those well meaning people who would suggest me to not give up. I got advise to eat certain seeds or so, pump 7-8 times in a day, make baby nurse (which felt impossible because she would simply bite bite bite bite and push me away), etc. While I wanted to experience that bond again, I felt it was all way too much. The goal had somehow become to be a milker than a mother.
In the midst of all, I have to agree the pediatrician was very clear that do what makes you feel better – Alhamdulillah. My husband was supportive too but he was trying to help me reach my goal of successfully continuing breastfeeding again (which I wanted). But he was very clear that at the end it is my decision as a mother.
One day I finally took the decision, did Istikhara, and put the entire psychological torture, that I was self inducing and allowing others to support me in that, to an END.
I informed my husband of my decision saying: stopping breastfeeding, not motherhood. And that is what I really want to communicate to all the sisters who may be going through same cycle. While I encourage you to try to continue breastfeeding, realize that if it is too much for you to handle and that is distracting you from being a “mother” than relax and end it. We don’t become better or worse moms based on our feeding decisions. Also, motherhood is a whole world…..don’t define it just based breastfeeding.
I have happily come at peace with the decision of bottle feeding Ruqaiya based on my circumstances alhamdulillah. But I still miss that bond, so I have been doing things to kinda substitute it. For instance, I started taking naps with her and let her sleep on my chest…ahh it was beautiful Alhamdulillah but it was not a good long term solution (I still love to do that once in a while) because:
1. She was getting used too of napping that way only, which meant if I don’t nap she doesn’t, and sometimes as homemakers we just can’t nap.
2. If I was to move even a bit it would wake her up and I do not like the idea of disturbing children’s sleep for unnecessary reasons.
So currently we cuddle when she is taking her bottle. I make her lie down and then lie down beside her while she is drinking from her bottle. I put conscious effort to not miss out on this opportunity alhamdulillah.
Intention of sharing my journey from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding is to offer help in whatever way I can, because I know how much I would have appreciated this help during my tough journey.
May ALLAH help all of us moms to make right decisions for our children and ourselves aameen.