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Not Always Easy, But Worth It

Vicki Sargent
Lynnwood, WA, USA
From New Beginnings, Vol. 26 No. 1, 2009, p. 16

Breastfeeding is not easy in the beginning for many of us. Mothers fare better if they are armed with knowledge and local support before the birth of their baby. Now I am able to breastfeed Amia blissfully, practically in our sleep. She sleeps alongside me and all she has to do is nuzzle and grunt for me to stir and unwrap her nighttime snack from my nightgown. She does not need to cry or even fully wake up in the middle of the night to get her needs met. The best part is that I sometimes wake up in the morning with soft breasts knowing that I have fed Amia at least twice in the night but I don't fully recall doing so.

Breastfeeding was not always bliss for me. While I was pregnant I started attending La Leche League meetings to develop a support network of women who might make breastfeeding possible for me. I read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and after Amia was born five weeks prematurely, my La Leche League Leader was available to help at a moment's notice. My mother, a former La Leche League Leader and lactation consultant, was next to me for nearly every breastfeeding for the first month! There were tears when I was not able to create a proper latch-on to give Amia the milk she needed and reduce my discomfort from engorgement. Together Aaron and I watched DVDs about latching-on and positioning babies. My LLL Leader gave me a book specifically about breastfeeding premature babies. I had four or five one-to-one consultations with lactation consultants, in addition to the help of my mother and sister, who between the two of them have breastfed seven babies.

Breastfeeding is not always easy and when it gets difficult mothers think that they can't do it. Artificial baby milk companies plant doubts in the minds of pregnant mothers with advertising campaigns that kindly suggest formula milk is an excellent choice when mothers can't breastfeed. I wonder if many mothers give up because breastfeeding is hard work and they expect it to be easier? I wonder whether the prolific propaganda that implies many women aren't able to breastfeed makes quitting all too easy?

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