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Back to the Breast

Dyenna Schedgick
Wisconsin Rapids WI, USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 17 No. 6, November-December 2000, pp. 208-209

We provide articles from our publications from previous years for reference for our Leaders and members. Readers are cautioned to remember that research and medical information change over time

My daughter, Gloria, was born when I was 16 years old. I knew right away that I was going to breastfeed and I never even considered using formula. I read as many books and pamphlets on breastfeeding as I could get my hands on. Several people told me I should get at least a few bottles and some formula in case I wasn't able to breastfeed, but I refused to discuss the option of formula feeding. I was going tobreastfeed and that was it.

I was able to breastfeed my daughter about an hour after the birth and she nursed pretty well but that didn't last long. She wouldn't wake up for her feedings, and she had a lot of trouble latching on, partly because she was so drowsy. The nurses started giving her a little bit of formula along with her feedings at my breast. They said it was to encourage her to eat. But breastfeeding just got worse and I was really sore with cracked and bleeding nipples. Some of the nurses gave up and eventually so did I. I was sent home with a two-week supply of formula samples.

My milk came in the day after I was released from the hospital. I had never imagined how engorged I would be or how much pain it would cause! Gloria also had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor that day to check her hips. The doctor found that she had hip dysplasia and would have to wear a hip brace 24 hours a day. I remember crying at the sight of my new baby in the brace. I felt as if I couldn't do anything right. I couldn't breastfeed, I blamed myself for her hip problem, and I felt sad that she would grow up without a dad.

After two sleepless nights with a colicky baby who kept vomiting after every feeding, I thought again about breastfeeding. I remember sobbing on the couch while watching Gloria sleep. Right then, I decided that I was going to breastfeed. It was my way of making up to her, and also, I longed to be close to her. Propping up a bottle for her wasn't enough for me.

I talked to my adoptive mother, Colleen, on the phone, and she gave me a lot of support and encouragement. She also called an LLL Leader near me and arranged for her to talk to me and to visit us. The Leader showed me ways to feed Gloria without using a bottle while she was learning how to breastfeed again, how to use a sling, and gave me a book on mothering. I remember her complimenting me on how I held and soothed Gloria. She told me what a great mother I was.

It was difficult switching back to breastfeeding, but Gloria soon caught on and my sore nipples healed as she learned to breastfeed properly. In fact, she nursed constantly and rarely slept by herself. She was always in my arms, either cuddling or nursing, and she didn't cry as much as she did when she was formula-fed.

Gloria is 19 months old now and is always on the go. I still nurse her and it looks as if it will be awhile before she loses interest!

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