Why I Chose To Breastfeed
The following heartfelt letters were submitted by mothers from across the world
|Submitted by Hansen|
I really loved Cathy Cooke's story...mine was somewhat similar. My mother is an R.N. and also a lactation consultant, and although not a bully in any way, her personal opinion is that a "good" mother will go through the "inconvenience" for her child. I am currently breastfeeding my third baby girl, and must admit it is difficult not to agree with
My second daughter was able to latch on and we had the usual problems of bleeding, cracked nipples. But once I made it to the six week mark, it was only getting better. Unfortunately, this daughter weaned herself at 10 months. She is a very curious kid, and couldn't stand to be pressed up against me when she could be interacting with her big sister! I hated to let it go, but it really seemed to be her choice, so I ended up giving her formula for the last two months of her first year...although I did still pump some and give her breastmilk...I just wasn't exclusive as I had been with the first child.
My third daughter is just 6 months old, and has been the easiest by far to breastfeed. She came out of the womb knowing what to do and hasn't let go since! I think if more women would just give it six weeks, they would probably continue with it. It is so hard to have that perspective as a first time mother with bleeding and/or leaking nipples and a severe lack of sleep. I try to tell as many moms as I can who say they want to breastfeed: you make that lactation consultant stay with you in the hospital until you get it; give it two weeks, then go to six weeks, and then by three months you won't ever remember it was hard! It is definitely harder to do at first, but in the long run it is actually
|Submitted by Marie|
My story goes back to 1963. I'm the mother of 10 children, grandmother of 12, and great-grandmother of two. I breastfed nine of my children, all except the first one. The doctor thought I was too nervous to breastfeed. Well, this first baby turned out to be allergic to everything the pediatrician suggested. This went on for an entire year. Her allergies were so bad that if I used baby powder on her the powder would turn pink. She bled from every crease in her body. For sure all of this was enough to make any woman "nervous."
When my second daughter came along, eleven months later, I was determined to breastfeed her. Thanks to a determined nurse, I succeeded.
I breastfed all the rest of my babies.
I had no signs of any liquid coming from my breasts again. But I've always had a sense of great satisfaction. I had given her her last meal. And both my sister and I saw the big difference those few drops of my milk made in her....from a horrified baby, to one that was so contented, almost purring like a kitten.
|Submitted by Paula|
|I am a stay at home mom of three. I have breastfed each and every one of my children...but that was never even a question in my mind.
When my first child was born, he came three weeks early and was quite jaundiced. He had to remain in the hospital and I told my obstetrician in no uncertain terms that I did not want formula anywhere near my baby's lips. Considering I had a third degree laceration from delivery, staying with him in the hospital was not going to be a problem. The problem was that we were on two different wards and he could not be brought to me, so every couple of hours I would shuffle to his ward and sit in excruciating pain on my massive "battle scar" and nurse him. Because of his jaundice he was often very
sleepy and would nurse very little, for very short periods of time. I had conflicting opinions from several nurses in the NICU, as to how I should be positioning him etc. at the breast. Apparently that was the beginning of the journey from hell for me.
We went home from the hospital and things seemed to be going well, my nipples were cracking and bleeding and really sore, but I didn't care! I was actually sustaining my own beautiful little boy with what babies are intended to consume....breast milk!! By the time my baby was 9 weeks old we had 'finger fed', and cup fed...anything to alleviate, the almost constant pain I was experiencing from breastfeeding. I finally got smart and hired a private lactation consultant (I had been seeing an LC through the hospital I delivered at, but it turned out she knew less about breastfeeding than I did!). The private LC I hired was amazing, she immediately pinpointed the problem, changed the way I had been 'taught' to position him and we fixed his lazy latch and things were great...or so I thought. It turned out that the problem had gone on for so long that I had gotten myself a seriously advanced case of mastitis in my right breast. It all came to a head one night when the pain was so bad I got into the shower to freely express and I
was so rock hard all I did was leave finger marks on my skin from trying. When I got out of the shower I started shivering and asked my husband to turn up the heat because I was cold and he looked at me and his face went white....I was as white as a ghost and had a raging fever. I got to my Dr. the next day, he diagnosed me with severe mastitis and immediately put me on antibiotics.....I was days away from surgery. The antibiotics cleared up the mastitis...I avoided abscessing and breastfeeding became a total pleasure. I nursed him everywhere and anywhere. I didn't care about the glares I got
from people who found breastfeeding to be offensive. I would just think about how offensive those people were, in their misguided beliefs about breasts and breastfeeding. They actually felt that giving your baby the most perfect food that ever existed and in the most natural way, was anything less than wonderful, and I actually felt sorry for them, and still do. To this day I cringe when I hear a mom say "breastfeeding...it's not for me!"
Ummmm....you are absolutely right....it's NOT for you, it is for that precious little being you chose to bring into the world...THAT is who it is for. And who knows, if they ever gave it half a chance, they might actually find, that in fact it really IS for them!
Throughout my ordeal even the people closest to me kept asking me "why don't you just put him on a bottle and give him formula??" I would just smile and say that it was my choice to bring this baby into the world and my obligation to make sure I do everything in my power to give him the best that life has to offer and that included being nourished at my breast...no matter how painful. We continued our breastfeeding relationship until he decided at 10 months that he had had enough. When my daughter came along I
knew from experience what to do and what not o do and she nursed until she too gave it up at 11 months. I am currently nursing my youngest little boy....at 17 months we are still going strong and LOVING every minute of it, and while I nurse him my 5 year old daughter 'nurses' her 'baby' too!. I hope that one of the things my daughter keeps with her for always, is the memory of the beauty of breastfeeding a baby....I will be there to encourage her, help her and give her any and all of the support she will need, when it
comes time for her to have babies of her own.
To this day I am convinced that had I not listened to nurses and Doctors that my first two children would have nursed much longer than they did. I did however, learn not to be intimidated by people in the medical profession, just because they are doctors or nurses, doesn't mean they have all the answers and when it comes to breastfeeding that rings true more often than not. I unfortunately got bullied into 'supplementing' my first two babies with a bottle or two of formula a day (at around 7 or 8 months) and in my heart I know that is why they self weaned as early as they did......My third baby never took to a bottle (thank God) and has never had a drop of formula in his life, and never will....and as I said before he is still going strong with no end in sight!
Many people find the fact that he is 17 months and still nursing in very bad taste (what do they know? LOL) and when people are rude and nosy enough to ask me when I will finally give up breastfeeding, I simply smile and say "when there is no more milk!"
|Submitted by Michelle|
I was determined to have a new baby and I knew the only way financially we would be able to was if I breastfed. My husband and I finally agreed it was time to have another child. We found out in late August we were pregnant. By the end of September we found we were going to have twins. We were both shell shocked!!
I was panicked! How on earth was I going to nurse TWO babies. Everyone I mentioned to that I was going to nurse twins thought I was nuts and told me it was impossible.
Well, let me say to those people THANKS! Because of these people and their negativity I was even more
I pump while I am at work to make sure my babies still have moms milk. I have just recently started having problems getting enough milk but that WONDERFUL lactation nurse has given me some advice and I hope it will begin to work soon enough. To make a really long story short, IF I can do it, YOU CAN! It is a feeling that can not easily be described! Anyone who says it is impossible does not know what they are talking about. Find someone to help you or talk to you and it will make the most difference in the world! Good luck!
|Submitted by Trish|
|I am 28 and the mother of five breastfed children. When I had my first I was only 17 and did not know much but knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I did for only about four months. Them my second came along and I nursed her until she was 2. My third got cut a little short since I went back to work when she was 2 months (I sure wish I knew more about pumping and storage!!) My fourth was about 4 months when I quite due to the fact that I found out I was pregnant and have a horrible time with miscarriage and preterm labor. My youngest just turned a year and is still being breastfed!! I want to nurse him as long as he wants(I got my tubes tied and will not be nursing anymore) It has been such a wonderful experience. I have gone on to be a certified breastfeeding educator and help to educate women and the community about the wonderful benifits of breastmilk! The biggest problem is lack of education! Young girls see it as a hassle until they find out how it can benifit them and their baby. Good luck to you all in your adventure in breastfeeding! Like my husband says a MILKIN' is all our baby has know since he was born so why take that away from him! :)|
|Submitted by Emily|
|Five and a half moths ago I gave birth to my 3rd child. I was determined to do things different this time. This being my last child I wanted to experience natural childbirth and also breastfeeding. I succeeded with both, but with little help. When I first had my baby girl I was disappointed by what little support I got with breastfeeding. They did not discourage me not to breastfeed but they didn't help me in any way at all. This was after all my third child so maybe they just assumed that I knew what I was doing. The worst was 2 weeks later though when my daughter got sick. My three year old got a virus and passed it on to my 2week old. She got put in the hospital for 4 days to make sure it wasn't Meningitis. We were in one of the best Children's hospitals around. You would think that they would have been supportive of my breastfeeding but they kept pressuring me to give her a bottle. They told me that she nursed to frequently and that she must not be getting enough. Being my first time breastfeeding and not being able to physically see how much she was eating I was worried enough about it before they starting harassing me. I gave in once and said fine I will give her some formula. When I did she ate it so then the nurse was convinced that I was starving my child. I was a mess. Then my daughter started having diarrhea form the formula and I refused to give it to her. I continued nursing as much as she wanted. Now at 5 months she is 2 1/2 times her birth weight and is a happy healthy breastfed baby. I resent the fact that a nationally known children's hospital almost had me persuaded to stop nursing my baby. They offered no support. I had a friend that kept telling me if I could just get through the first six weeks without getting discouraged and quitting I would be fine. She was so right!|
|Submitted by April|
Our precious firstborn Julianna came in November of 1999. I had a fabulous pregnancy and prepared myself for the rigors of a first childbirth and subsequent breastfeeding. Although I had heard breastfeeding was tough in the beginning, I was naïve enough to still believe it "came naturally to a woman".
I took to pumping my breasts constantly to help make more out of what I thought was a dwindling milk supply. I joined Internet newsgroups on Breastfeeding and they became my sources for experience, inspiration and support. I read everything I could on the subject. I researched everything I could find on Breastfeeding. Julianna's pediatrician was very supportive and told me all she needed was the breast.
|Submitted by Denece|
|It was never a question of whether O would breastfeed or not. It seemed to me to be the only choice, however it hasn't been easy. My son is now nine months old and has only latched on maybe a dozen times and not very well. When I was pregnant my prenatal teacher told our class that we should have our nipples checked to make sure they were fine for breastfeeding. My doctor was on vacation at the time and the doctor that filled in for him looked at me like I had ten heads when I asked him to take a look, he made me feel really stupid like it was something not normally done and in fact never did check them out. Turns out my nipples were flat and Wyatt, my son couldn't latch very well and became very agitated even when just putting him in a lie back position to feed. I worked with many nurses that came into my home and also stayed in the hospital for six days to try and nip it in the butt, but still nothing. I have however been pumping
ever since, I pump every 4 to 6 hours. This takes much time but I feel he is worth every second. I do have highs and lows in my milk production though, right now is a big low. I am frantically trying to get my supply up to normal. Usually I pump 5 to 6 ounces from each breast each time I pump, but now I am getting only 2 to 4, I've gone from 8 to 10 bottles ahead to only 2. I know I can get it back it just takes time. Have you ever heard of anyone latching a baby at this late date. My son will open his mouth to my breast but when I
offer it he dose not know what to do with it. Should I keep trying? I wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible but am afraid that I may only be able to do a year because I will have to resume work and may not have time to pump so often. He has never had formula and I would prefer not to give it to him. My heart breaks every time I think of having to stop giving something to him that is so healthy for him.
|Submitted by Patricia|
|To all moms with newborns who don't feed well, here is what saved us (my five week old baby girl Eden AND myself): I was at my wits end because she wouldn't really feed on my breast beyond a few minutes and only gained little weight. At five 1/2 weeks she was only 7-10 (up from 6-14 at birth). I didn't want to give up breastfeeding nor feed her formula from a bottle. I got a medela supplement nursing system (which is a bottle attached to your neck with a feeding tube that is taped to the nipple) and a breastpump which I use after feedings. My daughter is now learning to nurse better while drawing some additional expressed milk and formula to give her the boost she needs.|
|The doctors were amazed!!! Coley only lost 4 ounces which was far less that the 10% that is expected to be lost after birth. He started to gain weight with in 7 days of birth. We were home on day 10!!!! The doctor that suggested kangaroo care was amazed and said that the only reason my baby was going home SOOOOOOOOO fast was because I had INSISTED on breastfeeding from the beginning!! We are having a WONDERFUL experience this time. I must say that with him being in the hospital for the first 10 days was not easy, having to get up and go the nursery for EVERY feeding (I did NOT miss one feeding time.) I was really lucky because the hospital that I delivered at provided a free room for me to stay in while my baby remained in the hospital. But it sure has been worth it. I bought him home faster that his brother who was 1 pound bigger at birth and we never had to deal with nipple confusion. Coley is 6 months old now and weighs 12.8 pounds!!!! The doctors have been amazed that he has had no other complications. BREASTFEEDING MAKES A DIFFERENCE!!!!|