Sunday, May 23, 2010


First off, I can't believe that it has already been a year since I started nursing, and my son was born!

Jacob was born early in the morning on Saturday April 18, 2009. I put him to the breast within 5 minutes of him being born, and he seemed to latch on just fine. I thought to myself, cool this is going to work great! After they cleaned him all up, and gave him back to me we headed to the mother and baby recovery area. He fell into that deep sleep, would wake and nurse and fall back to sleep. I figured that we were set and nothing was in our way with the nursing business. The lactation consultant had stopped by my room and watched a feeding, gave a few pointers, but was impressed that we were doing so well. Then that night, after the LC had left and gone home, I started having trouble getting Jacob to latch and stay nursing. After struggling with it for maybe an hour or two, I decided that maybe a walk around and a change of scenery would maybe help settle my nerves and we could try again.

While I was out walking the halls, one of the nurses came and walked with me! She wanted to make sure that I was ok, and if there was anything that she could do to help me. I was explaining to her the troubles that I was having and she asked if I would like some help. She was so nice and came in and spent over 2 hours helping me. With her help, I came to the realization that I have flat nipples and Jacob was having trouble latching. She suggested that we try a couple of different things to get him to latch and stay latched. The first thing that we tried was putting a few drops of formula on my nipple to give Jacob instant gratification and encourage him to start sucking. He would somewhat do this, but his latch was not good enough. She then suggested using a shield. I was not opposed to the shield, as I knew that my mom had to use one while nursing my younger sisters. She brought me a couple so that I could find what one fit the best and was the most comfortable. After finding the right one, we once again put a few drops of the formula on the tip to give Jacob something to go after. As soon as he realized that something was there he nursed for almost a full hour!

I continued to use the shield and drops of formula until my milk came in on day 3, as after it came in he would latch with the shield right away. Once I was released from the hospital, I started to work with the LC at our pediatrician’s office. She was also so very helpful with all my questions. We had to see her a few times the first 2 weeks of Jacob's life due to the amount of weight that he lost before my milk came in. But once it did and he started to be a champ a nursing, he started to put the weight back on. There have been many days that I thought along the way how nice it would be to wean from the shield, but it is what has allowed us to continue nursing for this long and will allow us to continue. I have always believed that because of the shield, I never had to deal with cracked or bleeding nipples. I never had the pain that some women complain of when they are first starting out with nursing. I also truly believe that because Jacob was so used to the rubber feeling of the shield, it made giving him a bottle of breast milk so much easier.

When Jacob was 1 month old at the recommendation of our pediatrician, we gave him his first bottle of BM. I pumped it, and my husband fed it to him. When he was first offered it, he gave my husband a weird look, but then realized that it was his normal milk and drank it right away. We never had any issues with it, and still do not. We also had no issues with him going between the breast and a bottle.

Now that we have reached a year of breast feeding, I have reached my initial goal. From here on out I will allow Jacob to determine when he wants to self wean. Since starting him on solids, I have noticed that his nursing sessions are getting shorter and he is getting close I believe to dropping one as he doesn't always want to nurse now before his nap. When I think of not nursing, at first it makes me sad as I will miss that bonding time that I have with him. But on the other hand I realize that he is growing and we can find other ways to bond.

In a nutshell, I have really enjoyed my nursing days and look forward to being able to do so with any future kids that Hans and I have. I am thankful for the shield as I don't know if we would have made it this long without it! I also want to encourage any moms that have to use one. It is not bad to use...the design of shields has come a long way in the years and they should no longer interfere with your supply according to the LC that I worked with.

I also want to encourage women to nurse your baby when they need to be nursed no matter where you are! I understand some women are uncomfortable about nursing in public (NIP) or are worried about what other people will say about them. Bottom line is that it doesn't matter what they think, you are feeding your child! No one thinks twice about a baby that has a bottle in its mouth, so why do we need to make a fuss about a nursing baby. I hate it when I have to read about women who fell the necessity to nurse or pump in the bathroom. I understand nursing in the car or at the back table in the malls' food court as I have nursed in those areas many times in the past year. If I am in a mall I will also go and use a stores dressing room as most stores are willing to let you do that.

Samantha 25 mom to Jacob 1 year

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Breastfeeding helped me face the challenges of motherhood.

Anticipating the birth of my first baby boy, Colton, was joyous. I loved being pregnant and labor was great. I was a nurse at the hospital I worked, so there was an endless stream of visitors, happy friends and relatives. Our new baby was absolutely perfect, and we were thrilled. We were looking forward to getting to know our new addition and adjusting to parenthood together. I didn't know how soon things would change...

The day after we had Colton, my husband went home to shower and feed the dog. The phone rang in my room, it was an ER nurse I had worked with a few days before. My husband's father had a stroke and was coming in via ambulance, he was in critical condition. She needed my husband in the ER right away. My father-in-law spent the next month in ICU and was close to death several times from the massive injury to his brain. My husband spent everyday with him, helping his mother make medical descions and supporting his parents. Needless to say it was not the homecoming we had planned, but that's life.

I focused on my job of caring for our new little one. Like almost all moms, I didn't find breastfeeding easy in the beginning. Colton had a great latch at the hospital but when we got home we had some troubles. About day 2, my nipples were raw and I had to clench my teeth when he nursed, but that passed quickly, resolving within a day or two. I was so engorged my breasts were like rocks on my chest and the bags of frozen peas weren't helping. I had my husband pick up a cheap pump at the Wal-Mart on the way home from his daily hospital vigil. I used that cheap Evenflo pump with both my babies, best $40 ever spent! The pump did the trick and we were getting the hang of this breastfeeding stuff. I always tried to stay positive and not complain about anything. I didn't want my husband to feel like he had to care for his parents, me and Colton.

My breastfeeding challenges were pretty much overcome by week 2 and we never looked back. I never considered stopping breastfeeding, I just knew that we would be successful after we got over the learning curve. Being a mom was hard, tiring work but I could do it and I felt capable. Moms don't need to breastfeed to be good mothers, I know that. But overcoming the challenges to breastfeeding made me feel empowered, like my body was made to give birth and nourish my baby. When you stop and think about it, it's pretty amazing that we moms can make and deliver everything our babies need to survive and thrive right inside our bras! It's pretty cool when you think about it.

During my first month as a mother Colton was my constant companion in a mostly empty house and I was glad to have him. I missed my husband and I wished things would have worked out differently. There was a lot of sadness around me and a grim realization about living with a severely disabled person from now on. But, I had a new life to care for and he was my only priority, the mourning happened outside of my bubble that was relevant to me. I knew it was occurring and I could discuss it and sympathize, but not much more.

Figuring out how to be a mom is kind of a solitary journey for us all, you have to find your groove for yourself. Breastfeeding is leg of my journey, kind of rocky in the beginning but quickly became a frequent reminder that I could handle motherhood and the million challenges that come with it.

Helen - Co-founder of Milkies and mom to 2 little boys Henry 2 years and Colton 4 years old.

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