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Creating a Bond

Brandy LaVergne
Crowley LA USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 5, September-October 2007, pp. 211-212

When expecting our first child, I educated myself about breastfeeding. Many women I know didn't breastfeed for various reasons, so I was determined to make it work despite any challenges I thought being a career woman might present.

At 36 weeks pregnant, I had developed chest pains and found out that I had pre-eclampsia, so labor was induced. I nursed my daughter as soon as she was born, but had trouble expelling the placenta and had to be on medication that made me very sick and unable to nurse her again for six more hours. The nurses were sure that my baby was going to need to eat again and would need formula, but tested her blood for hypoglycemia before giving her formula. As it turned out, the little bit of nursing that we were able to do immediately following her birth held her over for several more hours, and she didn't even need a bottle!

I believed that nursing on demand was best for my baby and was willing to nurse her as often as she wanted. Once I was feeling better after several hours and able to resume breastfeeding, the lactation consultant and nurses encouraged me to put my baby on a two-hour schedule. Because my baby was almost four weeks premature, she would fall asleep five minutes after eating. My husband encouraged me to continue nursing on demand because he noticed that we were more relaxed with this method.

At home, I began pumping after each feeding to empty my breasts and increase my milk supply. My supply came in almost four days after she was born. My baby had trouble latching on, which was a new problem we had to get through. I came across a helpful breastfeeding tip about how to latch a baby onto the breast properly, and I never had any nipple soreness again. The trick was to place a clean finger flesh down on my baby's tongue until she began to suck properly. Once her tongue curled up around my finger, I placed my nipple in her mouth and she begin nursing. After doing that simple procedure a few times before each feeding, my baby learned to latch on properly.

I returned to work when my daughter was six weeks old, but not without much grieving and guilt on my part. I wanted to stay home and nurse her, but I was financially unable to do so at the time. I decided that I would do whatever was necessary to breastfeed my daughter for as long as possible. Fortunately, my employer was supportive and I was able to pump as many times per day as I needed.

At first, I pumped three times per day (usually at the same time my daughter would eat). My career as an economic development executive assistant required me to travel out of state occasionally to attend conferences. I didn't want to be separated from my daughter, so I found a family member to travel with us and watch her while I worked. I would rush back to my hotel room to nurse between sessions and pump bottles when I was away. The first time I couldn't make it back to my room to nurse or pump, my breasts became so engorged.

At times my daughter nursed around the clock, and I became exhausted. I tried pumping bottles for my husband to help feed her at night, but she refused as long as I was near. After much frustration and a call to a local LLL Leader, I learned that my daughter was going through a growth spurt and the frequent nursing would increase my milk supply. Once we got past the few days of around the clock nursing, my baby was back to her regular schedule of nursing between one and a half to two hours. As she got older, she nursed every three to four hours. She woke up to nurse at least once at night until she weaned at 21 months.

I became pregnant four months after weaning my daughter. The week I returned to work from maternity leave, my son got sick at daycare and ended up in the hospital for a whole week with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and double bronchitis (first stage pneumonia). My husband and I were finally able to afford for me to stay home, so I decided to quit my job! To my surprise, working was costing me more than I expected, and we had the same amount of money after paying bills each month with just one income as we did with two.

It's been two months since quitting work to be home with my children, and I am finally able to nurse my baby on demand and no longer have to pump. Nursing has been the best way to feed my babies. It was cost effective and allowed us to create a bond that cannot be matched by formula.

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