Our Precious Moments
Struthers OH USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 5, September-October 2007, p. 210
Nothing is more precious than gazing into the face of a baby who just fell asleep. My daughter Mary Clare's tummy is filled with "nummies" and her chubby, rosy cheeks are warm. As I watch her sleeping peacefully, my heart is filled with gratitude for the many blessings that breastfeeding has brought into my life. My story goes back to when I was born. My mother had a hard time nursing me and gave up. She refused to nurse her next child because of her difficulty with me. It wasn't until her third child that La Leche League came into her life. My mother successfully nursed her last three children! LLL not only helped my mother breastfeed, but it changed her philosophy about motherhood. We started eating healthy all-natural foods, she wore a sling, the family bed was introduced, but, most importantly, we children grew up in a house where nursing was a natural way of life.
When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, I read breastfeeding books and took a class at the hospital. I thought I was prepared. Little did I know how hard it would be to establish a nursing relationship. My labor was long and difficult, but I managed to push out a healthy eight-pound baby with no medication. My daughter nursed a little bit throughout the hospital stay, but not as much as I thought she should. I was very nervous and tense -- I was so worried about her getting enough nourishment. I should have tried to relax, hold my baby skin to skin, and gently let her get used to nursing.
At home I was having difficulty getting Mary Clare to latch on and I was getting engorged, so I would pump and feed her my milk in a small cup. After a few days, I was very frustrated and thought I might have to pump forever. Thankfully, I had great support from my husband, mother, and family telling me, "You can do it." After many prayers and tears, I tried a nipple shield. My daughter latched on right away and nursed to her heart's content! I felt great and finally relaxed. Eventually, I weaned her off the nipple shield by nursing for a few minutes, removing it, and then latching her onto my breast.
The next weeks and months did bring nipple soreness, plugged ducts, and feeling like all I ever did was nurse. Luckily, my mother shared with me her "prized possessions" -- about 40 copies of NEW BEGINNINGS from the 80s. The heartwarming stories from the mothers helped me through the "day-long" nursing sessions.
Through all of this, I found it interesting to read how the name La Leche League came about. I was given a medal of Our Lady of La Leche when I was pregnant. Through her maternal love and intercession, I had the grace to persevere through the difficult times. Mary Clare's first birthday is coming up and she still nurses quite frequently. I want our relationship to continue for as long as possible. May La Leche League continue to promote breastfeeding and all the joys that come with it!