It hurts, when a new mother says I don't have enough milk or I am feeding the baby with formula because my milk supply is not good enough. No, I’m not saying this is the mother’s fault; she is called a "new mother" because she has never held a baby so close to her chest in her life. After going through 9 months of tired pregnancy, a tiny baby who is completely dependent is placed on her lap and she is told to take care of her angel. I know this sounds so exciting but somehow nobody looks from a new mother’s perspective. She has not taken care of herself, yet she receives a tiny baby who needs to be fed every 2 hours. If it was just that it would be "Great" but she is not so lucky, feeding is just the beginning and the cycle continues to burping the baby, changing nappy, swaddling. She also spares time for baby massaging, bathing, clothing and finally put the baby to sleep, now what? 2 hours gone and the feeding cycle begin again. On the other hand every family member is over excited about the new born but hardly considers the new mother. WHY?
Even the mother is born along with her new baby; she is as new as her new-born. We always fail to understand that her life has never been so demanding. Before her delivery she was able to sleep 6 to 8 hours a day and right after delivery hardly 2 hours (best scenario). It’s not just about the sleep, for 9 months she was pampered and now in a flash the baby is the celebrity. No, this will not make the mother sad but deep down she will feel lonely. She will be so sleepy and tired and in silence she will beg everyone for that precious 4 hours of peaceful sleep in a stretch.
Let’s talk about the family now; the husband, mother and mother in law are the primary support for a new mom. I am sorry to say this but mother is the first person who stands with the new mom and mother in law is the last person to come forward for active help (in most cases). Throughout my practice I have noticed that the mother in law is not always accessible, but the mother is always there by her side. When in need the new mom can request her mother in law to be there but when it comes to her mother she demands for her presence. Why am I writing all this? Well, just to explain the fact, why new mom says "I do not have enough milk" or "why baby gets too gassy" or even “why new mom go into depression after birth”. This is all because of the mental stress the new mom goes through which can be prevented with lots of love, support, knowledge and by boosting up her confidence.
Technically speaking, Anxiety will never allow oxytocin to release enough milk (hormone for breast milk ejection). If milk ejection is not good breast will not be emptied and this will prevent activation of prolactin (help milk production) and ultimately this causes no milk or less milk. Baby gassy? Evidence says stress and anxiety at the time of pregnancy and postpartum can be a major reason for gassy baby (gastro-oesophageal reflux). I was blessed with my first baby 8 years back. One night when my baby started crying badly all I wanted to do was to rush to a nearby hospital. We were able to meet the available paediatrician at 2 am. He told me it was just the colic pain the baby was crying for. Yes, I knew what colicky was all about but was not sure why it happened. After 2 months, I woke up every morning with an aching jaw and when I consulted a dentist he enlightened me with a word "bruxism" (teeth grinding while sleeping). I couldn't believe, the only reason all this happened was due to anxiety. I grew up hearing that I am a strong person; how can I be under stress, anxiety, depression? These are the words that were never in my dictionary and to add on I was practicing a related subject from the past 13 years. I wondered why I was unable to counsel myself. It was my husband who understood what was happening with me and rescued me back. Well, I kept saying all this is just to convey a simple message; a new mother is very vulnerable, and all she needs is family support. Family needs to be well educated about all the changes much earlier than the baby’s arrival.