An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Now and again…

Soham is six and a half months old now. You must be wondering how my days and nights passed initially and what exactly I was up to for all these months. Frankly, its all a blur to me now. Every single day (and especially nights) were so unique, so challenging that it passed in a jiffy.

All I could say that nothing happened to me naturally-breastfeeding, diapering, bonding…it needed a lot of effort and expert advice to be able to get a hang of each and every aspect of child rearing. I am one of the unfortunate few who never got a chance to witness a baby growing-my younger cousins were not so younger than me and I was never around when the distant nephews and nieces were born. I did get a chance later when my friends started having babies but then I was too panicky to even go near them. They seem so fragile and sensitive that I preferred to be a distant observer. But once you have your own, you’re left with no choice at all.

My gynac put Soham on my chest right after he was born, covered in mucus and fluid, screaming at the atrocity outside. I was constantly crying too, I don’t know why. Maybe, both of us were feeling equally out of sort, not knowing what to do with each other. The bonding that I formed for the last nine months-feeling every little move, the subtle and the confident ones, the pangs of hunger, the endless sleepless nights contemplating on the tiny little being, hours after hours of clueless wandering at the baby stores-every moment seemed to have gotten washed away by the wake of reality.

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The reality was stark, harsh and sketchy. All of a sudden, I was in sole charge of this hapless human being who was totally dependent on me for his minutest sustenance. Overnight I was elevated from a role of human to superhuman. Now it was up to me to figure it all out. Well, not quite. At least for mothers who have given birth in America, the wonderful support system in the hospitals can spell wonders.

When the day nurse got my baby for the first time, in time for nursing, I must say it was a very sorry sight. G’babu until then was all swaddled nicely. As the nurse unwrapped him he started blinking momentarily. I was supposed to hold him by my side in a position that they called Football position, as in like holding the American football! He was so fragile that I had to take the support of two pillows and one nurse, just to put him in place. Then started the harrowing experience of try making him feed. He screamed and screamed. The nurse gave me a stern look and declared, “He is frustrated”. I panicked like crazy. It was a total misfire and I was feeling guilty as hell. My baby was going hungry and I didn’t know how to fix it. One nursing class and two anxious meetings at the Maternity Connections later I got the hang of feeding. My baby seemed to have mastered it much earlier than me it seemed. It all happened in less than 48 hours and some dozen practice sessions.

So, thus we started the first of many routine joint-ventures!

One word of advice to the nursing mothers: Dress up as loosely and scantily as possible and air-dry yourself after showers for the love of your body!

For effective latch-on technique, you would want to look at this wonderful video:

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