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Asking for Help

Jennifer Gordon
Marquette MI USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 3, May-June 2006, pp. 110-112.

Before my son, Kelby, was born in the hospital, I was given an IV with antibiotics. I hadn't been tested for Group B Strep virus during pregnancy and my doctor didn't want to risk passing it on to my son. Other than that, the birth was unmedicated and my son was able to latch on like a pro immediately after delivery. He nursed well in the hospital and we went home the next day.

After a few problem-free days, nursing suddenly became very painful. I had been to La Leche League meetings while pregnant and knew that nursing was not supposed to hurt. Still, I was convinced that I was doing something wrong, or that my son did not have an appropriate latch-on. I thought perhaps we were still learning or getting used to each other. Instead of immediately seeking help, I gritted my teeth through two weeks of incredibly painful nursing before deciding that something needed to be done.

An appointment with the doctor confirmed that we both had thrush, a yeast infection, probably due to the antibiotics. It caused my son to have a persistent diaper rash and caused me the nursing pain. It was fairly simple to treat and nursing quickly became a pleasant experience once again.

Maybe I was too embarrassed or independent to ask for help when I first started having problems. Maybe I didn't realize that La Leche League Leaders are available and eager to help mothers with nursing problems anytime, not just at the specified meeting times. I know now that if I had talked with someone from La Leche League, or called my doctor sooner, I could have spared myself the pain.

I would like to encourage any mother who is experiencing pain while nursing to seek help immediately. The sooner the problem is recognized, the sooner it can be fixed, and the sooner you will be on your way to a pain-free nursing experience.

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