New mother Evelyn Sharma has an honest take on what it means to have a baby, and especially when she is solely dependent on the mother for food. The actor, who recently welcomed daughter Ava, her first child, took to Instagram to share a selfie of herself breastfeeding the baby.
While that in itself is praiseworthy — considering how breastfeeding and openly talking about it is stigmatised — Evelyn suggested in the caption that she has not been able to establish a routine for her little one. “When you thought you finally established a routine and then she starts #clusterfeeding!! ” the caption read.
The actor also added hashtags like “#smileforthecamera” “#thingsnoonewarnsyouabout” and “#mummylife”.
For the unversed, cluster feeding is when the baby requires short breastfeeds every few hours. It takes a while for the infant to find a groove. Even for the mother, cluster feeding can leave her feeling tired, as she figures out how often her baby gets hungry.
According to Dr Sunita Varma, director, obstetrics and gynecology at Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh, in cluster feeding, a baby demands feed every 15-30 minutes. “They can have it in clusters, or sometimes take a full feed and sleep for a long time. It is normal for a few weeks or months after birth, since the baby is still adjusting to the environment. The action of suckling can comfort the baby; cluster feeding is actually not for nutrition but for comfort,” she told indianexpress.com.
The doctor said that this is why some people give babies pacifiers. “When a baby is born, they have primitive reflexes. When they suckle, they find comfort in the mother’s arms, with skin-to-skin touch. But [cluster feeding] also serves another purpose. The breast has to be told that it needs to produce milk. And the stimulus for producing milk is suckling. The more the frequency of suckling, the more will be the breast milk. This brings the balance between how much milk is required and how much the breast needs to produce,” the doctor explained.
She, however, cautioned that with frequent feeding, the mother can feel exhausted and opt for bottle feeds or formula feeds. “Formula feed is heavier than breast milk. The baby will get full and the frequency of suckling will reduce; the breast will also make less milk. This, therefore, should not be a cue for mothers to get fed-up. They must be made to feel comfortable with the back well-supported. The mother should also ensure she is hydrated and eating well, and has someone for support who can look after the baby while she rests,” Dr Varma concluded.
Earlier, Evelyn had shared a heartwarming note on motherhood. Posing with her baby, she wrote in the caption, “…our life changed since little Ava arrived two months ago! We never thought we could feel this kind of all consuming, overwhelming love that we feel for our child! She took away our sleep, our personal space, created her own daily routines that we must follow, and even when we’re at the end of our physical and mental strength, her little face lights up and we want to keep going. It’s incredible the love you can feel for someone so demanding! She is everything! My sweet girl… Our little world ”