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Knowledge is Key

Rena Pearson
Woodstock, GA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 17 No. 5, September-October 2000, p. 164

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.

In our world today, knowledge is power. I believe that in breastfeeding, knowledge is also the key to success. I am the kind of person who loves to research and study. I approached pregnancy and breastfeeding with that attitude. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed so I set out to find whatever information was available. I read books. I took classes and I thoroughly interrogated everyone I knew who had even contemplated breastfeeding. I believed I was prepared. I envisioned a beautiful tale of mother and baby sitting and nursing peacefully in a rocking chair. Little did I know what lay ahead.

Emma's delivery was normal. She was big and healthy. She had perfect features from her button nose to her precious toes. In fact, she was so perfect she didn't look real. Then she opened her perfect mouth and began to cry very loudly. My daughter was not happy, and she was not going to quiet down until something was done. The nursery nurses brought her to me saying " Well, her lungs work great but she sure is loud!"

As weeks turned into months, my beautiful baby continued to scream. I breastfed on demand. That was the only way there could be any peace at my house. Everyone questioned my parenting style. They told me I was spoiling her and should just let her cry it out. They questioned breastfeeding, saying that my milk wasn't rich enough and that she was hungry. They told me she needed water and that she might be lactose intolerant and needed soy milk. I began to question myself but as I said, knowledge is the key to success. Medically, I knew Emma was the picture of good health so I turned again to research. The LLL website, ( had vast amounts of information, which I devoured while Emma slept. I began an elimination diet and found that she could not tolerate corn, milk, and wheat. As I eliminated these things from my diet, Emma's crying lessened - somewhat but not altogether. We began sleeping together, which helped the nighttime crying. Everyone asked me how I did not go insane and my reply was always "breastfeeding." After one of Emma's 45-minute nursing sessions, I always felt at peace and so did she.

All the knowledge I digested has served me well. During Emma's first year, I made a trip to the emergency room with a serious stomach flu. While at the hospital, the doctor on call told me I should not nurse for a few days because Emma would catch the flu. I proceeded to tell him, while Emma nursed, that the worst thing I could do would be to wean. If she was going to catch the flu, she had most definitely already been exposed and my body would provide some antibodies. Besides, breast milk is the best clear liquid I could give my baby. He shook his head and walked out without another word.

At 14 months the baby who cried all the time has become a very contented, intelligent, delightful toddler who continues to thrive on nursing and attachment parenting. As she begins to look older, I find myself defending her need to breastfeed more and more. I always get comments from my in-laws but fortunately, I have educated my husband and he supports us 100 percent. I have the knowledge to know what I'm doing is best for Emma. I tell people I am still breastfeeding and eagerly answer questions. Maybe if everyone had some knowledge of breastfeeding, nursing mothers would not have to feel so defensive about the wonderful gift of breastfeeding.

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