References and Reassurances
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 3, May-June 2001, p. 92
I am a first time mother of a beautiful four-month-old son. My husband and I had been married for five years and decided the time was right to bring a baby into our lives. I always knew that I would breastfeed my baby and my husband agreed. I just want to tell all the first time mothers out there who are breastfeeding in the first few weeks of their baby's life: hang in there, the rewards are great!
I have made it through four months of all kinds of obstacles. We did not get off to a good start in the hospital. On the day before we left the hospital, a nurse who was also a lactation consultant was finally able to spend some time with me and help me get my baby latched on. She then referred me to another lactation consultant in the area to get in touch with after I left the hospital. Support from either side of our family was hard to come by because we were the first to breastfeed since our grandparents. They couldn't understand why we would want to breastfeed. They also cannot accept our style of parenting. The fact that we don't let our son "cry it out," or that I am not giving him cereal or bottles of water seems crazy to them. The opposition really was high when they found out our son sleeps in the same bed with us. In spite of the disapproval I have faced, I know this style of parenting, "attachment parenting," is exactly what I want for my son. I have react Dr. Sears' book NIGHTTIME PARENTING, and I see the differences between my baby and other babies who don't receive this style of parenting.
Sore nipples came in the second month of breastfeeding, but I pressed on. I was going to get through this for my son. He also started pulling on my breasts when he would nurse, causing more pain, but nevertheless, I kept nursing the precious baby had so longed for. Then I discovered the LLLI book, THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING. I was so happy to find that everything I needed was in this book, and it really helped me gain the confidence that I was doing the best for my baby.
By the third month, my sore nipples were raw and flaking and my son was going through a growth spurt. I finally decided something else must be contributing to my soreness. My son's tongue looked as though I had painted it white and he was fighting a diaper rash that had stuck around off and on for two weeks. My doctor diagnosed thrush. My pediatrician prescribed a medication for us to use, but it didn't seem to help. When I called the office to ask for more help, I was told to just wait it out. This went on for three weeks. I finally got frustrated because it seemed as if they weren't taking my discomfort seriously and the medication wasn't working as they had said it would. I remembered reading about thrush in THE WOMANLY ART, and I called the lactation consultant, who suggested using gentian violet. After three days of gentian violet, my son and I were free of the thrush and have been nursing comfortably ever since.
My son is now four months old, and he has recently given me the best gift a nursing mother could receive. One day, he surprised me by looking up at me with his big blue eyes while nursing and giving me the biggest grin. Now he looks at me all the time while nursing and even pulls away to give me a big, gummy smile and a giggle and then goes back to nursing. This is the greatest reward to me, reminding me every day that what I am doing is right and the best for my son.
Babies don't come with instructions, but I highly recommend that mothers invest in the next best thing to an instruction manual - the references and reassurance to be found in THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING and NIGHTTIME PARENTING. Having the number for your local LLL Group is a great idea, too.