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World Breastfeeding Week: Stories of Success

[As World Breastfeeding Week winds down, we thought it appropriate to share some uplifting stories of breastfeeding gone right...and the joy, empowerment, health and wisdom written between the lines of these stories.  Thank you to all who contributed. ]

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Never Judge, Nurture and Educate

I was helping a Hispanic mother who had an infant in the special care nursery.  When asked if she wanted to breastfeed her baby the mother refused on several occasions.  Finally I approached the mother; we discussed the baby’s progress, feedings and possible discharge from the hospital.  The mother began to cry saying “I don’t want my baby to become sick from my breast milk.”  The woman was under the impression that breastfeeding after an argument with her husband would spoil her breast milk.  This was an old wives tale that had been told by her family.  I talked with the mother each time she came in about the benefits of breastfeeding, evidence as it relates to breastfeeding premature infants and slowly gained her trust. By the time the infant was discharged mom and baby had bonded, breastfeeding was established and I had an eye opening cultural experience.

Sandra Escobosa, RN, Childbirth Educator
Charlotte, NC
Hip Chick Birth                   www.hipchickbirth.com

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Becoming a breastfeeding Peer Supporter, was an opportunity I couldn’t let amiss. I have not long completed my training, but already I feel proud to have helped mothers and their babies along the path of a successful breastfeeding experience! I volunteer on a placement within a maternity hospital, and one experience will always stay in my mind. A brand new mother desperately trying to encourage her beautiful newborn baby to attach, and to find what she had been searching for. Struggling and on the verge of giving up, she finally asked for a helping hand. With a little help and guidance, and heaps of positivity, the mother looked up with the widest grin I had ever seen and tears of joy running down her cheek. This tiny, clever baby of hers had just latched on for the very first time. Beautiful.

Samantha King
Southampton, UK.

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The Survival Hold

Quite often, I make a home visit for lactation challenges in the first week postpartum.

Without a doubt, the one skill I teach that gets the biggest applause is simply showing a mom how to use the side lying position to feed her baby. I call it the “Survival Hold”. Mastering the side lying position will help a sleep deprived new mommy “SURVIVE” the first few weeks.

Lying down for feeds often will reduce moms fatigue level tremendously.  As an additional benefit, when lying on her side, the breast is compressed and often baby will feed more efficiently.

Lying down while nursing is a wonderful breastfeeding position that is often under-utilized.

Liz Pevytoe, RN, IBCLC

Keller, TX

http://www.askthelactationconsultant.com

 

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We got the phone call we’d been waiting for. We were getting a foster/adopt placement. Suddenly one day I had a new baby but no milk!
My little girl was a “safe surrender” baby. She was born in a campground weighing 3 lbs. 2.8 ounces. No prenatal care, drug exposed. Her birth mother relinquished her rights at the hospital. We met her when she was 17 days old, and brought her home the next day. One of my first calls was to my IBCLC, Debbie. Bring me the rental pump, and the SNS!
Debbie helped me with her weak suck, and was such a big support. It took me six months to bring in a full milk supply, but it was worth it! She is now 2 years old and still nursing.

Teglene Ryan
http://thebreastfeedingmother.blogspot.com/

 

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I am one of the lucky ones. I have been an IBCLC for 10 years now and get paid full time to do what I love to do.  Our hospital currently hovers at a 90% breastfeeding initiation rate so every day is a busy day! Today was just another ordinary day; I assisted a 36 weeker (born 4 weeks early) wake up and latch for the first time. I checked the latch of another newborn, whose mom I assisted with her first baby and told a third time breastfeeding mom that she was fabulous. My triumph today was when I assisted a mother of a sleepy 6 pound baby to latch for the first time after hours of attempts.  Mom looked up at me and smiled in relief while tears of joy welled up in our eyes. And this was just a regular day. I am so lucky.

Donna Sinnott, BBA, IBCLC
Paoli Hospital, Paoli, Pa

 

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Breastfeeding is normal, natural…and so darned hard for so many of us in the beginning!  Desperate to make breastfeeding work with our first child, I sought help from one person after another—lactation consultants, family practice doctors, La Leche Leaguers, friends…in the end, I nursed our daughter for a year—but ended up supplementing her part time due to an ultimate lack of confidence in my own body.  Two children, much reading, practicing, and accessing adequate help later, I finally discovered that my body really was able to do what it was designed to do.  I breastfeed our second child for 14 months (still with some supplementation, but not much) and I exclusively breastfed our third child for six months, and continued on until he was nearly 18 months old.

~ Anonymous

 

[It's not too late to add your story!  What breastfeeding success have you been apart of?  Please chime in via the Comments section...]

 

 

Posted by:  Kimmelin Hull, PA, LCCE

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  1. August 5th, 2011 at 23:21 | #1

    My firstborn had a unilateral, incomplete cleft lip for the first three months of his life. I’m not sure how commited I’d really been to breastfeeding before the birth. I’d read all about it, and had made a concious decision that I was going to breastfeed my child. However, I’d also picked up a bottle to have on hand, probably because I’d never seen anyone breastfeed at that point. All I knew about it was what I’d read in nursing school and from the childbirth classes I’d attended at the local Military Treatment Facility (hospital). When my son was born, and was restricted to the nursery for 5 days of bili-lights, and the nursery technitions tried to restrict the amount of time I could hold and nurse my baby, when he cried and they wanted me to shove a pacifier into his mouth and just give him a bottle instead a fire was started within me. I WAS GOING to nurse this baby! For whatever reason they gave me a hospital grade breast pump and suggested I pump till my breast were completely drained. Within three days I was unbelievably engorged, hyperlactating with a super forceful, firehose, let down. I leaked continuously. My son came home at 6 days old, but two days later, I was readmitted for mastitis with I.V. antibiotics for three days. My first nurse refused to give me warm compresses, and brought me ice packs instead (against doctors orders too!) They all just suggested I pump, and pump, and pump. I was pumping too much, and it was making things worse. I was not sent home with a pump and I was only set up for failure. It took 6 months before I stopped hyperlactating, and during that time I had cracks, blisters, and even bleeding nipples. But I was going to nurse that baby! He had explosive diapers, and would cry for at least an hour every night. When he had his cleft repair surgery, he didn’t nurse for almost 12 hours, it was excrutiating. Many other parents of cleft affected children told me he shouldn’t nurse after surgery or his repair would fall apart. Most cleft affected children never nurse at all. But I insisted and nursed him as soon as he got hungry. But by day three his stitches were popping around his nose (not the lower lip) and his incision was inflamed. The scaring was so bad he had to have a revision when he was 2 years old (when an anasthesiologist tried to tell me breast milk was dairy and he couldn’t nurse for 12 hours pre-op). At six months I’d been on antibiotics several times for mastitis, and had cronic engorgement. Finally, I started collecting the milk and donated it to the milk bank about an hour away. I would just let the milk from the non-nursing side pour and later drip into a cup to help releave the pressure. After collecting 100 ounces this way, my supply finally evened out and the pain stopped. My son nursed till he was three and a half years old. He even nursed through a pregnancy (which brought him a sister) just before his second birthday. I’d worked so hard to keep nursing him, I wasn’t going to wean him if he wasn’t ready.
    Now I have five children, and am on my second tandem sibling set. Right now I have a 23month old and an almost 3 month old who are nursing together. My little guy has a clicking suck and I think he might have a bit of a tongue tie, but it’s not visually obvious, just that his tongue snaps back with every suck. But he’s growing like a weed. He cluster nurses (short boughts frequently) and this seems to work for him, though it’s a bit tiresome for me at times). His big sister gets really impatient for her turn, but she’s hanging in there and still asked to “mommy nurt” in the middle of her sleep. It’s kind of a challenge, but I’m going to nurse these babies. And I’ll nurse them until they wean themselves, come hell or high water!

  2. avatar
    sara r.
    August 7th, 2011 at 19:15 | #2

    I greatly respect all of the moms who had lots of issues to work through in breastfeeding their babies. I feel so fortunate to say, though, that I really had no problems with my first baby. She was born 1 day after my due date, after a 5 hour labor with absolutely no interventions. I went home one day later and even though she was small at less than 7 pounds, we didn’t have any problems with latch or milk supply. She did nurse for what seems like FOREVER, and for the first 2 weeks I had some soreness when she latched on.. but that is nothing compared to what some moms work through. 18 months later we’re still going strong, and she’s a beautiful, smart, huge toddler!

  3. August 8th, 2011 at 07:48 | #3

    Susanna,

    Thank you for sharing your heart-felt story of courage, strong will, and intuition. Through many instances, your story portrays non-evidence-based advice which you steered clear of: opting for your child’s (children’s) best interest, instead. Congratulations to you–and your kiddos–for succeeding in breastfeeding, now five times. With all your lived experience, have you ever thought of becoming an IBCLC?

  4. August 8th, 2011 at 07:52 | #4

    Sara,
    Thank you for sharing your story. As you point out, there are certainly a wide variety of different breastfeeding experiences–some extraordinarily difficult/complicated, as Susanna describes, and some blissfully “easy” from the get-go. For those of us who have had easy experiences with breastfeeding: we must remember gratitude, and frequently count our blessings. For those of us who have worked through difficulties: we must persist, find the help we need, and grant ourselves enough grace to neither judge ourselves, nor those around us who’ve had a drastically different experience. Just as childbirth takes on infinitely different forms, so too does breastfeeding.

  5. avatar
    Debby
    August 10th, 2011 at 10:39 | #5

    When I was 38 weeks pregnant with my first child, I attended a birth where the baby died. Through the devastation and terror, came my commitment to nurture my baby in every way possible – to treasure the gift that I was given. This included, among other things, nursing my incredibly passionate breastfeeder for 4 1/2 years. He was still nursing 8-10 times a day at age 2, and took a 6-month process just to night wean. After he turned 3, and with no sign of self-weaning on the horizon, I was ready to begin the gradual addition of limitations with the goal of full weaning within 6 months. Then I got pregnant.

    I knew that it wasn’t possible to wean my son faster without causing him pain. I also felt in my heart that the birth of a sibling would come too soon after weaning for him to feel done with it, I anticipated jealousy and hurt. So I made the choice to let him continue nursing through my pregnancy – and felt that sharing nursing with the baby would ease the transition from being the center of the universe. His sister arrived and he went from nursing once a day back to closer to 8 times a day. When she was 2 weeks old, he was limited to wake-up, bedtime, and after meals. I cut him back by one feed a day every couple of weeks, and when he was 4 1/2, the final weaning was gentle, gradual, and loving. I had followed my heart and fed my child’s soul as well as his body.

    My daughter recently weaned at 3 1/2, and I am still adjusting my self-image from that of a breastfeeding mom. I can’t imagine anything else I’ll do in my life that could be as rich, intense, and fulfilling as the breastfeeding relationship I’ve had with my kids. Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

  1. August 5th, 2011 at 09:10 | #1