One mom’s story of breastfeeding and persistence!
Submitted by Rachel
(New York, USA)
How could I have known breast-feeding would be work?
I thought that when the baby was born, he would get hungry, I would put him to breast, and he would eat. I quickly came to realize I thought wrong.
After my c-section, while in recovery the nurse brought me my son. It was the first time I got to hold and cradle my son. Immediately, the nurse closed the curtains, and so began my breast-feeding story, where I would learn my own strength and gain a love/hate relationship with nursing.
My nipples were flat/inverted and my son, after multiple tries, wasn’tlatching. After a day of trying, and a steady stream of distractions I was tired as was my son who appeared to be hungry and frustrated. Here was this new person, one I was supposed to be caring for, and already I felt like a failure.
I was torn between my own persistence and the idea of the instant gratification of formula. After all, I had already decided that I would exclusively breast-feed, and less than twenty four hours after he was born I was thinking of formula.
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More than a day later and many tears, my son’s and my own, a nurse brought me in a nipple shield, which my son would come to depend on. Eventually, during my hospital stay I was able to see a lactation consultant.
I actually demanded the visit through tears when I was tired of the wishy washy ways the nurses were dealing with me. First I’d hear “put him to breast only because bottles will cause nipple confusion”. Next, I’d hear “don’t let him use you as a binky”.
The lactation consultant put a lot of my worries to rest, and when I went home I carried a lot of what she said with me including the fact that she frowned upon the nipple shield. Never was I so happy to be home.
When I was able to leave behind the constant noises of the hospital, I could sleep next to my husband, and finally work on feeding my son in peace. But, it was work beyond any labor I had ever known. My son would scream and shake when try after try he still couldn’t latch. And, when he finally did latch he’d fall asleep from exhaustion and I’d have to wake him just to start the whole process all over again.
The nipple shield always necessary but always an inconvenience. Nursing was an ongoing never ending debacle but the benefits spurred me on.
One day, as I fumbled clumsily with the shield accompanied by the hysterical cries coming from my son, I angrily cast the shield aside and attempted to get my son to latch without it.
Finally, he got it! He latched, and stayed latched obviously satisfied with the fruit of his labor. Happiness, peace, and satisfaction hit me. I cried as he suckled. For the first time, I felt like I was truly nursing my son.
From that day forward, which was about a month after he was born, we never used the shield again. And here we are…my son is ten months and still nursing.
Things that got me through were self-educating myself on the technique of breast-feeding as well as the benefits for mother and child. Second, I found a support group online where I could share in with other mothers who were, to my surprise, going through the same thing or situations even more trying than mine. Third was the knowledge that my son was worth every ounce of my blood, sweat, and tears.
I’m glad I stuck with it because it gave me a perspective on what type of mother that I can be and how wonderful my son is.
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