Srividya Sriram did her Engineering in Computer science and was working as a technical consultant before marriage. Post wedding, she quit her job as she had to join her husband abroad soon after. They had their son after 2 years of marriage and she didn’t want to look back at the corporate world. She had read about the benefits of reading early to children and the hunt for books for her little one ended up in starting an online business in books for kids. Eat Play Read (EPR) was born and the journey has been beautiful. If you are looking for books for your kids, do check out her website – www.eatplayread.in.
1. Tell us about your breastfeeding journey, Srividya.
I had an extremely difficult start. It was a C-sec delivery and my supply didn’t start till 3 days after surgery. I kept latching him but I knew he wasn’t getting enough. He was fussy all the time and lost weight. His paediatrician scared us by saying that he was starving and we had to give formula a few times. And reluctantly, I had to give in but I can’t explain my joy when breast milk finally kicked in after 3 days. Unfortunately, he was too used to formula by then and wasn’t ready to latch.
2. How did you work around eliminating formula?
It was a process of elimination of formula and nipple shield at the same time! Thankfully the formula part wasn’t difficult as it was given only for 2 days till my flow had set in. He took to the breast immediately. When I was struggling with getting him to latch, a “wise” nurse suggested nipple shield. He began to latch and was doing better with it but as days passed by, the sterilising of shields and the pain I had to undergo with all the pulling through nipple shield was just unbearable! I still remember the day when my nipples were bruised and I could see some blood in my newborn’s mouth. So scary! That’s when I sought help from some breastfeeding support groups and the process to wean him off the shield began. Whenever I offered my breasts without the shield, he cried his lungs out and wasn’t ready to latch. I slowly replaced one feed at a time without the shield and he latched on directly one fine day after 2 long months. I was in happy tears! My baby’s soft warm mouth on my breasts was the best feeling ever!
3. Although, you work from home, your work must be keeping you really busy. So do you time your feeds?
I have never timed his feeds and definitely not the right thing to do. It is important to feed on demand to ensure your supply is always maintained. When I started off, my son was really young and I had oversupply issues too. I used to pump and store so in case there was a situation, he would be fed the stored milk. Breastfeeding is a blessing as there is no preparation required. So while he was always fed on demand, work would still continue too.
4. How is your experience with nursing in public (NIP)?
It has been a breeze till date. I still breastfeed my 2.5 year old in public. My amazing support system in my husband and family keeps me going. They are all on board with nursing on demand, irrespective of the place, and also with gentle weaning, whenever my son and I are ready. I have my baby carrier when I step out and nursing in a carrier is a blessing in disguise. I can’t imagine going out with an infant (or a toddler) if not breastfeeding in a carrier. It’s so discrete and gets easier once you master it. Ring sling is my go to carrier for nursing. Full buckles are quite convenient too!
5. When and if you have your second child, what will you do differently?
I wish I had read up a lot during my pregnancy. Nobody tells you to do so and that’s the advice I have for all first time moms. Read up and join support groups during your pregnancy itself. You become more confident about your capabilities and nobody can deter you from giving in your best! Never ever give up! Breastfeeding is the most natural thing ever and it will just happen. Just put the baby to your breasts as much as possible and things will eventually fall in place.
The second time around, I am going to try my best for a VBAC and definitely a big NO to nipple shields.