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Finding Support

Pip Wheelwright
Kent Great Britain
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2008, p. 26

My son, Harry, had a very traumatic birth by emergency cesarean. Although the hospital staff was brilliant, the support for breastfeeding wasn't. The nighttime midwife on the ward took one look at me and remarked, "It won't work, you know, you're too flat chested." I resolved that night to make it work whatever the cost, especially as we have bad asthma and allergies on both sides of our family. When Harry was six weeks old, I attended my first La Leche League meeting with a friend. We walked out of that meeting saying, "We will never feed our babies when they are that big!" My determination to breastfeed paid off and Harry proved both my midwife and me wrong by breastfeeding happily until he was two years old.

My husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer when Harry was 20 months old and after treatment we were told the prospect of having more children was incredibly slim. Then, to everyone's surprise and delight, six years later, I found myself pregnant with Alfie, who was born in 2005. Sadly my dear mother died when Alfie was just four weeks old and my dad had recently suffered two strokes. Caring for my dad (with other family members) and a newborn was very difficult, but thankfully breastfeeding posed no great problems for a second time running. I was so grateful each night for our quiet times together to nurse and cuddle through my grief.

I went to my first LLL meeting in years when Alfie was five weeks old. I was craving light relief from my life in general, and the feeling of coming home and belonging was such an emotional one that felt so right. It was something positive while I was grieving. I have made a close group of friends through LLL and we continue to help each other through our ups and downs.

As Alfie grows, I've watched him "nurse" his toys. This gave me the idea to design a set of dolls for my children to play with that would also promote breastfeeding as the norm. With the use of safe and secured magnets, the dolls kiss, hold hands, cuddle, and breastfeed. I'm proud that my project is nearing fruition. When my nursing days are over, it will be my keepsake for remembering this special time.

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