Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Helping Hand From a Friend

Breastfeeding was one of the hardest things I’ve had to overcome since becoming a mom. Even at 7 weeks it was still a struggle. Many times I found myself throwing my hands in the air ready to give up. Cans upon cans of formula were delivered to my door, as "gifts" from the formula companies. I even went as far as to make a bottle of formula for my son at one point. After tasting it myself and watching him wince and cry to have the comfort of my breast was heartbreaking. I kept on going for him knowing it was best for him. My supply was great from the beginning but our main issue was his latch. With the help on some very determined and helpful nurses and lactation consultants we finally found a way. Nursing my son has been one of the enjoyable and emotional experiences I’ve ever had. After a long nap I love to reconnect with him and am amazed at how comforting it can be for him. Knowing how strong this bond can be, I knew my friend needed one last shot at breastfeeding and I was so happy I was able to help her with it.

Since his birth, my friend’s son was a very colicky baby. She had a complicated birth, and sadly many unexpected health concerns arouse for her son right away. They had a terrible time breastfeeding, with her emergency c-section her milk didn’t come in fully. Due to health concerns after birth her son was not able to spend time her with and was whisked to the NICU. A few months after the birth I offered to babysit one evening. Her husband often worked long hours and I wanted to let her get a much deserved nap. When her husband got home very late we talked about some baby issues and I offered my advice on how to help her with breastfeeding. She had continued pumping so she had a low supply still going. I wanted her to enjoy her son and be able to comfort him, hoping it could help with the colic. If it wouldn’t help with colic, I was at least hoping to help strengthen their bond. I said jokingly to her husband late that night, "I wish I could just breastfeed him so I could show him how to latch!" He took it seriously and said it would be amazing if we could get their son to breastfeed. He ran up the stairs and woke up my friend and asked her how she felt. To my surprise she was completely fine with it & eager to see if it would help. As their son started to fuss I held him to me and cautiously helped him to latch. I must admit I was incredibly nervous and felt a bit guilty, I felt that this was my son's breast and as if I was "cheating" on him. It was difficult but only took a minute or so to get him to latch. As he eagerly nursed I told my friends husband to get my friend quickly. As she hurried downstairs I said I would switch their son from my breast to hers and see if he would latch. It was a little bit difficult but he latched easier than he did with me. They said it was the first time their son ever latched without a nipple shield and without screaming and fussing. Even the lactation consultants at the hospital couldn’t help her latch him on. As she nursed her son quietly, her husband looking on in awe, I quietly sat back. Seeing them all together having a beautiful moment at 3am was heartwarming, and I was overwhelmed. I felt so overjoyed that she was able to have that bond and emotional experience with her son. She was able to continue breastfeeding successfully for a short time and even though her supply wasn’t enough, I was so happy for her to have that time with her son. While I can’t imagine myself getting into that situation again however, I was so happy I was able to help them that night.

Jackie 22, 1 son Aiden 4.5 months

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