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A Miracle of Nature

Odette Smith
Hawaii USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2008, pp. 17-18

I grew up knowing that breastfeeding was the best option for babies and that I would, naturally, breastfeed when I became a mom. My mother dedicates her life to the promotion of breastfeeding and has been involved professionally and as a volunteer with La Leche League and other breastfeeding organizations for more than 30 years. I watched both my younger sisters thrive on her milk and loving care and always knew I wanted to give the same gift to my children. What I did not know is how much of a challenge breastfeeding would be with my first child.

My first son, Dario, was born 16 years ago with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, which made it impossible for him to suck on my breast, even after his first two surgeries. However, with the support of my mother and other LLL Leaders in Mexico, I pumped my milk for eight months and gave it to him, first with a dropper and then a bottle. It all sounds quite simple, but there were many days when I felt like giving up. My milk never seemed to be enough and the whole process of pumping and feeding my baby would take two hours, and Dario would also be hungry every two hours, even at night. What kept me going was seeing how healthy Dario was. Not once in those eight months did he get a cold, diarrhea, or an ear infection.

Now, at the age of 43, I have been blessed with another beautiful son, Ian, who is five months old. Breastfeeding without the previous complications is so easy and rewarding that I don’t understand why any mother would choose to bottle-feed. I just put him to the breast wherever we are -- at the beach, in a restaurant, on a plane -- wherever we go his milk comes, too! No pumps or bottles to carry around, no sterilizing -- the perfect nourishment always ready for him. I am not denying that there have been difficult days, such as when Ian is going through a growth spurt and wants to nurse all day and night, after his shots, or when he is teething and he refuses the breast. But, all in all, nothing could be more perfect than nursing my precious little baby.

After the miracle of having a baby grow inside me and giving birth, nursing is another awe inspiring miracle of nature. It is the gift of my whole being: nourishment, health, love, and comfort -- all packed into one precious moment we share -- mother and baby. What other moment could be so complete!

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