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Were not attending primary school in 2011, 53 per cent girls.
Breastfeeding… It’s The Right Thing To Do… Always
My baby was born with a cleft lip, so I felt that everybody in the hospital was looking at me and feeling bad for me. When I saw my child I cried, but those were tears of happiness and relief.
I was happy to hold my baby for the first time, I was happy he was healthy and we named him Masoud. His cleft was only cosmetic, and I was especially happy to be able to breastfeed him, because I had been afraid his cleft might be a problem for that.
During my pregnancy I had read a lot about best practices and recommendations for young mothers and I had decided to start breastfeeding as early as possible and continue as long as possible… for Masoud and for me.
I must admit that when I found out about my baby’s cleft during ultrasonic screening, I was in a worried during the last month of my pregnancy. But, thanks to my husband and family’s support, I took matters in my hands and found out more about how to provide my baby the best care.
After Masoud was born, my family made it easier for me to enjoy motherhood. Every time Masoud cried for food, to find out what I can do to comfort him best. I was lucky to have very supportive nurses and doctors, and they explained me a lot. Even though I read a lot about maternity, their explanations were practical and timely and helped me a lot to put myself together.
After frequent attempts to get my baby to latch on the breast, I felt that the long-awaited breastmilk is there for my baby and nothing… not even the cleft lip can be an obstacle for us. I felt so fulfilled; it is an unforgettable feeling to breastfeed a baby for the first time. I can find no better description than just calling it natural. We both were finally doing what we were intended to do, and it was really great. I happily breastfed my baby exclusively up until the age of 6 months old and it was the best time.
Then came the time for the lip surgery... Once again, I was worried about not being able to continue breastfeeding after the surgery, as some mothers recommended stopping the breastfeeding practice before the surgery. Some of them even doubted whether cleft babies could even latch. So my worries grew with time and hearsay.
I checked a lot of internet sites, forums and medical clinic websites. And then almost just before the day of the surgery, I found a story by a mother in the US who shared her story of breastfeeding her baby a few hours after the surgery. It gave me a lot of confidence to persist and keep feeding my baby with hope and belief that everything will be for the best.
The day of operation came. I can only say it was a day of feeling helpless and useless watching Masoud in pain and being able to do nothing. I hope I can forget that day someday.
At the end of the day, we were called to the procedure room for a painkiller injection. After that, I took my baby back to the ward and lay him on the bed beside me, holding him tight. He was looking into my eyes with a smart expression in his eyes. He was very calm after the injection and I decided I could offer him to try to latch, and - amazingly – he did. He managed to do that with a fresh suture and he suckled for very long and I felt the heavy load lifted from my shoulders.
I must say that the recovery process felt much easier with my being able to breastfeed him for food, for comfort, for sleep. It was our superpower. Masoud is 10 months now and he is a very curious, smart and sociable boy. Even though I am a working mother, I breastfeed him and plan to continue as long as my baby needs it. Because why deny a perfect and free miracle to my boy that has been given to me by nature!