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Breastfeeding at Last

Susan Mulcahy
St. Louis MO USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 3, May-June 2006, p. 108.

Before my baby's birth, I read several books and took courses on breastfeeding, so I felt well prepared and eager to breastfeed. When the lactation consultant, Diana, arrived after my daughter's birth, she examined us and noted that my daughter had a poor latch-on and a poor suck and I had inverted nipples.

Although the news was bad, Diana was encouraging. I was so disappointed I nearly cried as my daughter took her first bottle. I started to pump immediately so I could feed my daughter my milk supplemented with formula.

I very much wanted to breastfeed my baby, so I made an appointment for a follow-up visit with Diana right before I was released from the hospital. The first available time slot was in three weeks. For the meantime, she suggested that I keep pumping, feeding, and supplementing. She also recommended some herbs and a prescription medication to help with lactation because of my supply issues.

Three weeks later at my appointment, Diana thought my daughter might be able to latch on. Unfortunately, my baby loved the feel and ease of bottle-feeding, so we used a nipple shield to entice her to my breast. After the appointment I had a slightly revised schedule: feed at the breast with a nipple shield, pump after each feeding, and make bottles because my production was still low. What work!

The next week Diana said we were ready to "freestyle" without the shield and my daughter latched directly onto my breast for the first time. Since then, breastfeeding has been a great experience for us. I still have issues with my supply, but the joy of being able to nurse my daughter at my breast has made it all worthwhile.

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