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Nursing from One Breast

Kim Keith
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2008, p. 15

I was seven months pregnant with my first baby when someone asked, "How are you going to feed the baby?" I didn't actually have an answer. I had never met anyone who had breastfed, and didn't realize people still did that. So I started to research feeding newborns. It turned out breastfeeding is really important to babies. Being the best mother I could be was really important to me. So I decided to breastfeed. The articles I read said that by three months almost all of the benefits of breastfeeding would have been achieved; so I decided I would nurse for three months.

After a cascade of interventions, my son was born by cesarean section. Upon meeting him a few hours later I tried to nurse him. I had one flat nipple and one inverted nipple, so I tried using a nipple shield. He hated it. So, I nursed the best I could. He latched on for 40 minutes out of every hour. I tried to switch sides and keep track of which side he used when. It was so hard, all he did was nurse. My nipples were covered in bleeding blisters. But I had to nurse for three months.

By six weeks it was clear that my son did not want to nurse from the breast with the inverted nipple. By eight weeks I quit trying to make him use it. By 10 weeks the blisters healed. At 12 weeks it all got easier; I couldn't quit nursing as soon as it got easy! So we nursed. From eight weeks until he weaned we nursed on one breast.

I've had four other children since then. I start out using both sides. I always give up on the side with the inverted nipple by six weeks. My fourth child grew to 32 pounds on my milk alone. Not a single bite, just the milk from one breast. He continues to nurse to this day, sharing his "milka-milk" with his younger sister.

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