Divya Shori is a Marketing and PR professional. She has a career spanning 12 years and is currently working currently for a MNC which is into Management Consulting. Over the years, she has switched many hats from Support Service to IT to PMO and finally found her passion in Marketing and PR. Divya is a PGDBA in Marketing. She is a doting mother to a 2.5 year old girl, Vanshika. Divya is one of the lucky mothers to have a smooth breastfeeding experience.
1. You have had a fairly good breastfeeding journey right from the start till date. Tell us a little more about it.
I was a blank slate on the day my daughter was born. Vanshika was a great latch-er from day 1, so we didn’t face any issue. My milk supply has also always been consistent.
Even though I had no idea about a single thing, I was lucky to be introduced to the Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers (BSIM) family at the right time by my school friend Shraddha. I think that was the most motivating factor which has kept me going. Thanks to the awareness that I got from the group. I was totally in sync.
She is 2.9 years now. Yes I am still nursing her. I plan to wean her only when she wants to. She still nurses at nights and I don’t want to force her to stop. Nursing is many things for the child amongst it being the source of comfort too. I am thankful to have not given her a drop of formula. Yes, my breastfeeding journey has been quite smooth.
2. It is amazing that you have had a smooth journey. How would you describe your hospital experience considering a lot of new mothers have had to face difficult doctors or nurses?
I would say, since I was part of BSIM, my understanding was far ahead of doctors and nurses. There are a few who do support Breastfeeding but only till 6 months or maximum for a year. Beyond that they don’t understand the need. This is where they need education from entities like BSIM. It is sad that they would discard the benefits of breastfeeding but would okay formula even after the baby has turned 1.
Thankfully, our pediatrician is supportive of breastfeeding. At the hospital where Vanshika was born, the nurses made sure that the baby latched immediately after birth and also took a special education session on how we should feed baby on demand and not follow a clock.
3. Your work requires you to travel and be away from your child. How do you manage to meet her nutritional needs?
In the initial days, I did have to pump for a day or two spread across a few months due to my work. Pumping would happen every 2 hours in the office. Milk collected would be kept in the office refrigerator and brought home in an ice-cube box. I have been blessed to be working with a company that is very accommodating and supportive of breastfeeding.
Off late, I operate from home. However, I do stay away from home for 4 to 5 days at a stretch in a month. I do not pump anymore but hand express when I am away. Vanshika is okay without her feed during those days and once I am back, she starts nursing as usual.
4. How important do you think are these support groups?
As a first time mom, you fall prey to a lot of wrong information through different sources. For example, to sleep longer at nights, to step out without the baby, or even for the baby to gain “good weight” (whatever that means), I was asked to give formula. As a tired and inexperienced mother, it is very tempting. This is when the support groups play an important role. You have so many questions running through your head from day one, and a group dedicated to the same is where you will find all your answers and it helps put all myths to rest. They are people like you and I, with similar experiences and you feel more confident in their approach. You even get to learn a lot by just reading.
5. How has your experience been with nursing-in-public (NIP)?
I am not someone who would care about what the world thinks when it comes to my daughter. I did NIP anywhere, any time; airplanes, autos, cabs, malls – everywhere. People usually don’t even turn their head in India but I do recall an incident that happened at the airport. I was nursing Vanshika and a foreigner seemed quite unhappy and offended. He looked at me and shook his head, disgracing me, and walked away. That was the first and last unpleasant incident during our breastfeeding journey.
6. Would you say breastfeeding is difficult?
Contrary to what people say and think (because breastfeeding is considered for the lazy), breastfeeding is difficult and it gets worse if you don’t have the right support system.
My husband and family have been my biggest support in our breastfeeding journey. I have been able to keep nursing my daughter till now with a demanding career only because my employer was aware and has given me the flexibility of work from home.
Breastfeeding is a real hard commitment. One needs determination and the right support system to have a fulfilling journey. But only one thing drives me, the amazing nutritional value and the speedy wholesome development.
7. And we come to very obvious question, when do you plan to wean your daughter?
I will end the journey the day my daughter decides. She’s the BOSS! Vanshika feeds a lot during growth spurts and these are times when children really need breastmilk. What breastmilk can do on these occasions cannot be compared with anything else. At 2, she can walk, talk fluently in English, converse and show emotions, is potty-trained… I give all the credit to breastfeeding!!
My formula for success has been to not give into anyone’s unsolicited advice and pressure. I have faced the weaning advices many times but I don’t give in.
8. How do you help other moms in their breastfeeding journey?
I have introduced many mom-to-bes to BSIM and they have all benefitted immensely. I also ensure I take part in the yearly drives conducted by BSIM Bangalore Chapter where we meet many new mothers and help them.