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Blessed with Support

Kristina Nelson
Cygnet OH USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 22 No. 6, November-December 2005, pp. 244-245

I was 24 years old and had just given birth to my first child, a healthy son, 10 pounds and six ounces! I was so excited it seemed as though I might burst at the seams! I was determined to be the best mother I could be. Even though I had planned to return to my full-time career, I wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible.

I will never forget our first day home from the hospital. My beautiful baby boy refused to nurse. At the time, I had no idea why he wouldn't breastfeed, but I later found out he had nipple confusion. Apparently, the nurses in the hospital had given him bottles of sugar water. They sent bottles of sugar water home with me as well. For more than eight hours, I attempted to nurse him and he refused. My son was crying constantly, and I was crying, too! My mother, who had nursed me and my siblings, came to my rescue. With conviction, she was determined to help me to get my son to breastfeed. She called the hospital and the obstetrics department told me that I could go back to the hospital, where they would help us. They also gave me the phone number for my local La Leche League Leader. I was ready to give up and began crying for my son. I knew he was very hungry. I told my mother I was not going to try any more and that I would just give my son formula.

The next phone call to La Leche League made all the difference in the world. The Leader I called suggested that I pump my milk and use a small dropper as a breastfeeding aid. As luck would have it, I had a pump from the hospital and I had a dropper. I placed my crying newborn close to me in a nursing position and dripped milk onto my breast and into his mouth. He instantly started nursing! I was elated, exhausted, and relieved, all at the same time! If my mother hadn't been there, I would have never breastfed my firstborn and probably would have never nursed any of my other children.

Motherhood hit me like a ton of bricks. I had no idea how ignorant I was about many aspects of this new way of life. My dreams of what motherhood would be like were very different from reality. After going back to work, I continued to breastfeed. I learned to pump my milk and freeze it. While working, I even drove home on my lunch hour to nurse my son. This part of being a new mother was challenging, but also rewarding. I am now a stay-at-home mother of six. I have nursed all of my children, each one longer than the one before.

Some mothers who attempt to breastfeed and face challenges quit nursing before they leave the hospital. Some mothers quit after the first few days of discomfort. Others quit because they simply think formula-feeding is easier and will make their babies sleep longer. New mothers stop nursing because they worry their babies aren't getting enough milk. There were times when I wanted to stop nursing my children, too. The truth is, all new mothers need support, not just with breastfeeding, but with many aspects of motherhood and baby care. I am very blessed that my mother had been a nursing mother and was there for me when I arrived home with my first child. I hope to pass on that same support when my children become parents.

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