Mom Speak : Mary Sooria on Exclusive, Extended Breastfeeding in Conservative Saudi Arabia
One of the few things I had decided when I was pregnant was that I would exclusively breastfeed till my baby turns one.But is it possible in an ultra conservative place like Saudi Arabia where people stare at you even if your headscarf is not proper or if you have tinted nails? The idea of exclusive breastfeeding was terrifying me!
But I was determined and tried out different methods to carry out my nursing process like minimising most of my outdoor activities till my baby was six months to running back to the car when outdoors. I even started feeding her in the washrooms of malls and hotels and once or twice when I had to nurse my little one then and there my husband held a blanket around us like a curtain. Slowly it all became a routine and I got used to my new life.
And as my baby reached the two-year threshold I got mixed reviews from different people like my breasts are gonna sag, my baby’s teeth are going to decay as the milk sweetens with time, she’s never going to leave the breasts and lots of horrifying weaning methods as nursing a toddler is not much appreciated compared to nursing an infant.
But I wanted to be easy with my kid and never wanted to give her a shock of denial and I slowly paved the way for her weaning process without denying her anything and last month she self-weaned when she was two years and three months!
Now when I look back I’m so happy and contented that I made it to this point though I had to put in a lot of effort but it was all worth it. I developed a beautiful bond with my little one and I lost nearly 16 kg by my kid’s first birthday doing nothing at all other than nursing and my baby never caught even a common cold till she was one year and two months. I strongly believe proper nourishment of breast milk played a vital role!
We might hear different opinions and advice on breastfeeding and weaning and while we should accept it all with grace, by the end of the day nobody knows you and your baby better than yourself! And my initial fear of breastfeeding in Saudi Arabia ceased to exist as I never even had a glance of disapproval, on the other hand I used to see respect in the eyes of many women. A study shows that one of the reasons for the fall of breastfeeding in Saudi is social fear like the one I had initially. But as the saying goes ‘where there is a will there is a way’ and I would like to thank my husband too for all his kind support in this beautiful journey without which all of this would not have been possible!!
Thank you, Mary Sooria for sharing your inspiring breastfeeding journey with us! We wish you and your little one a lifetime of cuddles and happiness. If you would like to share your breastfeeding journey with us, the struggles and joys, the challenges and milestones, please get in touch with us via the Times Of Amma Facebook page. We are waiting to hear your story!