name and location omitted at her request
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 16 No. 6, November-December 1999, p. 200
We provide articles from our publications from previous years for reference for our Leaders and members. Readers are cautioned to remember that research and medical information change over time
Like many new mothers-to-be, I started reading voraciously when I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to make educated decisions about the birth of my baby and about parenting. Before I began reading, I had intended to parent the way others in my family had. I thought my biggest feeding concern was which formula to use. I also believed that babies belonged in a separate bed in a separate room. But what I read in THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING helped me decide that I needed to re- examine my long-held beliefs about raising children.
THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING suggested I attend a series of LLL meetings before my baby's birth, so I contacted my area Leader. I must confess that I felt silly sitting there with women and their babies while I was only five months pregnant. However, in hindsight, I know that sitting in those meetings made all the difference for my daughter and me. I saw other women breastfeed and I heard how they had overcome their problems to have positive breastfeeding experiences. I acquired an arsenal of information which I needed to convince my family that breastfeeding was the best thing for my baby. I found myself going back to the group over and over for support.
I had chosen a birth center to avoid the typical hospital experience of childbirth and my baby's birth was much as I had envisioned. She came into the world gently, but was soon taken away from me to be poked and prodded over and over. Unfortunately, she had inhaled too much fluid into her lungs and was unable to nurse. She needed to be hospitalized.
When we arrived at the hospital, my baby was put in the intensive care unit and hooked up to numerous monitors and IVs. I had called ahead to request a lactation consultant and was relieved that she was waiting for me. I began crying as I tried to explain to her how important it was to me to breastfeed my new baby. She reassured me that I could pump my milk for my daughter and feed it to her. However, I had an incredible need to put my daughter to my breast. She said she would talk to the doctor, but not to get my hopes up. I cried as I held my new baby. Fortunately, the doctor said I could try, but he thought it was unlikely my daughter would latch on or breastfeed successfully.
Boy, did my baby prove him wrong! She latched on and began nursing. What a dream come true! The lactation consultant walked over to check on us and was surprised when she saw and heard my daughter breastfeeding. It was a glorious moment!
I breastfed my baby during the day. When I went home at night, I used a hospital-grade pump to provide milk for the three nights she was hospitalized. In such a helpless situation, I found it empowering to be able to feed her my colostrum, the perfect food. I will always remember my husband driving to the hospital late one night to give the nurses a bottle with one ounce of colostrum in it for our baby. He too knew the importance of my milk.
A year later, I continue to breastfeed my daughter. I love watching her grow and knowing that she is so healthy and vibrant because of breastfeeding. I relish the fact that no one else can feed her something made especially for her. Breastfeeding is a special part of our relationship and one that I will cherish forever. Whenever I want a beautiful, happy memory to cling to, I can close my eyes and remember nursing my baby. I will forever remember my baby looking up at me with her big brown eyes and smiling.
Having personally benefited from La Leche League, I have recently become a Leader, so I can help other mothers make memories through nursing their babies.