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The Best Choice

Michele Zylstra
London England
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 22 No. 3, May-June 2005, p. 107

From the moment I knew I was pregnant, I wanted the birth to be as natural as possible. Twenty-seven hours of labor, however, ended with an emergency cesarean. Rowan was born weighing eight pounds, 14 ounces.

In the hospital, I was surprised at the lack of breastfeeding support, encouragement, and education. Not many people on staff were able to guide the mothers who were trying. I received a breastfeeding video, but there was nowhere in the hospital to watch it. I felt sore and swollen and wanted to use hot cloths to encourage flow and ease my discomfort, but I was told that, because of health and safety issues, I couldn't have anything much warmer than bath water.

In those early days, breastfeeding was painful and uncomfortable. I had very little idea of what I was doing, but was determined. Waiting for my milk to come in was frustrating. Those first three days seemed to last forever. Like many mothers, I worried that my baby wasn't getting enough to eat, even though he was at a good weight.

In the days following my release from the hospital, I nursed with hot compresses to stimulate the flow of milk. This made breastfeeding much easier for me. It was a bit of a chore to get the water and cloths ready in the middle of the night, but it was more worthwhile than sterilizing bottles and heating formula. I knew that breastfeeding would become easier in time, but the kitchen would always be downstairs and at the other end of the house!

Rowan was very healthy and gaining weight nicely. I was battling the baby blues, but watching his growth and development definitely made me feel better. I knew I was doing the right thing.

At Rowan's first checkup, he was in the 98th percentile as far as weight was concerned. The doctor said I should consider bottling my milk and selling off the excess to the hospitals in the area. She was joking, of course! Apart from the odd sniffle, Rowan has had very few problems and is happy and healthy. I'm sure it's because I breastfeed. He's now eight months old and still doing very well. He's never had a bottle and enjoys using a feeding cup because he can manipulate it himself.

Sometimes it's a struggle to find a comfortable place to breastfeed in public‚ but we've managed just fine. When Rowan was very young, things didn't always go as planned when we were out and about. At those times, I put a blanket over my shoulder and fed him wherever I happened to be. Occasionally, people stared or gave me odd looks, but I saw that as their problem, not mine. Breastfeeding has proven to be best for us. We've had many benefits from my chosen feeding method—the odd, curious look is a minimal price to pay.

Last updated Monday, October 16, 2006 by njb.
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