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Sharing "Nursies"

Lori Faccio
Hamilton ON Canada
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 1, January-February 2006, p. 11

Whenever NEW BEGINNINGS magazine arrives in the mail, I look forward to reading the contributions from other readers. I always find a story I can relate to or be inspired by to continue nursing my two children. I would like to share my story with hope that it will help other mothers.

When I became pregnant with my first child, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. I'd been given a copy of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING and read it from cover to cover. I considered attending an LLL meeting, but I was too shy so I never went during my pregnancy. What a mistake.

When Peter was born he nursed strongly from the start. However, my nipples were flat, and Peter didn't always latch on to my breast well. Within a few days, my nipples were cracked and very sore. I received help from a midwife and lactation consultant who suggested ways to draw out my nipples before feedings. This helped a little with the pain. It was almost eight weeks before I could nurse Peter comfortably. I was glad when I was able to start enjoying breastfeeding as much as Peter was. I'm so thankful for the support and encouragement of my husband, Paolo, and my family.

When Peter was 19 months old, I became pregnant again. Nursing him started to become very uncomfortable for me and I avoided it whenever possible. I decided to join an LLL Group to talk to other mothers about nursing while pregnant. I also thought it would be nice to have a support system ready just in case I ran into nursing difficulties with my second child. I met several mothers who nursed through pregnancy and tandem nursed. I also read MOTHERING YOUR NURSING TODDLER (Available from the LLLI Online Store) by Norma Jane Bumgarner. This book helped me realize that if Peter still wanted to nurse, he must need to nurse. I stopped discouraging him from nursing and noticed that I had a calmer, happier toddler on my hands. I know that some people were surprised that I was breastfeeding while pregnant, but I knew that nursing was comforting Peter. I thought he also might have an easier time accepting a new baby if he still nursed. Peter was an early talker and we had many conversations about the new baby. I told him that the new baby would need to nurse a lot, but he would still be able to get his "nursies," too.

When my daughter, Tiana, was born, she nursed like a pro. Peter fell in love with her. Every time she cried he told me, "Mom, she needs to nurse!" On our first night home from the hospital, the four of us climbed into bed together (queen size with a crib attached to one side). I planned to nurse Tia to sleep and then nurse Peter. Peter ended up waiting over 30 minutes for Tia to finish, whimpering, "I want my nursies." Finally, it was his turn. After about two minutes, Tia started to cry. My husband, Paolo, got up with her and took her to another room, where she continued to fuss. Suddenly, Peter stopped nursing and said, "Our baby can nurse now."

It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about his compassion for his crying sister. Peter has shown no jealousy toward Tia. Sometimes he may act up to get a little extra attention, but he has never asked that I put her down. I hope with all of my heart that they grow to become great friends. Sharing "nursies" may just be the first step.

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