Breastfeeding Stories of Hope

After watching a video of good deeds caught on security cameras, it brought to mind something that I’ve often thought about. We see and hear so much negativity in the news, in print media and on-line, that it is bound to have an impact on our perceptions of our world. I wonder how different things would  be if we were exposed to more of the positive stories. They’re out there, but it’s easy to forget at times when we are surrounded by constant stories of hate, intolerance and tragedy. We need reminders that there is still a lot of good in the world.

I feel the same way when it comes to breastfeeding. A while ago I asked the following question on Twitter and Facebook: “When you were pregnant, what did you hear more of about breastfeeding – positive stories or horror stories?”. The answer was overwhelmingly that people had heard mainly horror stories from their friends, family and even complete strangers. I think we hear the horror stories because birth and breastfeeding have a big impact on how we perceive ourselves as mothers, and it is something that stays with us. For those who have had a bad experience, it is natural to have a need to talk about it as it is part of the healing process.

What kind of impact does this have though on us as women when it comes to our confidence in our bodies to nourish our children? I believe that it often causes women to doubt their abilities before their child even arrives. This doubt often sets into motion a series of events that can lead to premature weaning, which of course just reinforces the belief that breastfeeding is difficult and not possible for many women.

Breastfeeding is a natural event that our bodies are specially designed for, and the vast majority of women are capable of breastfeeding their babies without any problems.  The fact that there are so many horror stories out there is a very sad reflection on the state of today’s maternal and newborn care practices. Unfortunately, hospital policies and the curriculums for health care providers are very slow to catch up to what the evidence is telling us is best practice. Many of the current practices in hospital sabotage breastfeeding before it really even gets started. This is why it’s so important to be educated before your baby arrives.

There are lots of positive stories out there, but they can be much harder to find than the negative ones. Because of this, I’d like to collect breastfeeding stories to highlight on my website. Research tells us that the higher a woman’s confidence in breastfeeding is, the more likely she is to meet her breastfeeding goals. Stories from others mothers who have had positive breastfeeding experiences, or (perhaps more importantly), stories from mothers who faced difficulty with breastfeeding but overcame those difficulties and went on to breastfeed successfully, can be inspiring and a source of hope for other mothers who are currently struggling. Even if you didn’t end up exclusively feeding at breast, if you found a solution to your struggles that you were happy with and worked for your family, that’s still success!

Please share your story, or leave some encouraging words for other mothers, in the comments below or e-mail me at fleur(at)nurturedchild(dot)ca. Help other breastfeeding moms by getting the word out that it is possible to meet your breastfeeding goals, even if you’ve had a rough start!

To read the stories that have been submitted so far, see Breastfeeding – You Can Do It!

 

Comments

  1. Not even hearing that my husband and I were having triplets changed my attitude about breastfeeding. I was going to breastfeed my babies. So I was extremely happy when my doctor asked if I planned to breastfeed and didn’t even blink when I gave a definite “yes.” I expected to hear something like “Well, you can give it a try.” But no one tried to talk me out of it.

    As soon as the babies were born I fed them in the recovery room – the two smallest first and then the heaviest baby third. Lactation consultants met with me regularly the next few days we were in the hospital, and my confidence built with each day.

    But when the babies weren’t gaining weight they lost after birth a pediatrician in the hospital suggested supplementing with formula. And when our pediatrician pushed the high-calorie formula the weeks after the babies came home – so they could start packing on pounds – I started to get frustrated. I worried I wasn’t doing enough and that breastfeeding three babies was a lofty goal.

    I got mastitis. I got a blister on one of my nipples. I got a plugged duct.

    There was a lot of crying as I worried that I was going to have to give up breastfeeding. But I kept pumping and thinking about my doctors and lactation consultants who never doubted my decision, and eventually the babies got back to their birth weights. We started giving them less formula, and four months later, our babies drink about four ounces of formula per day, and I’ve got quite a stockpile of milk in the freezer.

  2. The first 7 weeks of breastfeeding were a nightmare for me. I received little to no help from the hospital staff, my midwife said the latch “looked good” and a lactation consultant spent more time talking about my very short and straightforward labour than she did about the red -rubbed marks around my nipples. I was popping Tylenol and Advil every 2 hours just to get through each feeding, which I dreaded and cried through. I spent hours researching what could be the cause of my pain, I tried everything imaginable and still nothing worked.
    Around the 4th week the pain in my left breast started to go away and the red rubbed marks left. I was over the moon! Finally, one boob that didn’t hurt! I was so happy that I didn’t care that the right boob still killed every time. But, by the 7th week the right boob also started to be less painful and eventually it was normal as well.
    My baby is now 10.5 months old and I am still nursing. In the end, no one actually was able to help me with my problem. It was only months later that I found and article that descried my prolonged pain, (too much milk) and a solution (pushing back on the areola for a few minutes to push back the milk so that the baby can latch). Not a single one of the many breastfeeding books that I have had this tip nor said that engorgement could last that long!

    It was sheer determination and a very supportive husband that got me through this process. I often felt like quitting, then I felt like a failure. It was a very emotional process, but one that I’m happy has a happy ending.

  3. My labor and delivery wasn’t spectacular. There were plenty of interventions partly due to convenience for the staff and partially due to inexperience from me. I ended up taking an Epidural because of the pain the Pitocin caused. Which made it hard to know when or how to push, and I had an underlying feeling of failure throughout. The way I was treated contributed to a bad depression afterwards. Through all of these interruptions, and problems I knew I wanted to breastfeed. It was a deep desire to connect and bond with my son, and I felt that I had been cheated out of experiencing this at his birth. Those first two weeks were a nightmare. I cried so much, and we had troubles latching and feeding properly. I think it was through stubbornness and sheer willpower that kept me at it. You see, I didn’t have support. My mother formula fed me and my siblings, to no fault of her own, and no one really understood what kind of help I needed. Neither did I for that matter. My son kept falling asleep at the breast, and his latch wasn’t deep enough for a good feeding. After the engorgement left and I wasn’t leaking all the time I thought I had stopped producing milk, and through fear and ignorance I began to supplement with formula. It took a few weeks of a colicky baby and talking to an actual consultant that I learned about the Supply and Demand routine our bodies follow. So my next step was to remove the bottle and relearn how to latch and feed again! But this time I felt more confidant because I had more information in my arsenal. We successfully breastfed for the first year! My son is 15 months old now, and I am pregnant again! He weaned himself onto solids, I believe the milk started to taste different. After everything we endured, and all of our fumbles we were able to breastfeed through it, clinging desperately to each other the harder it got. I believe that breastfeeding is a team effort. Embrace your child as your teammate. You both are learning each other and it takes time for that to happen. Follow your instincts too, millions of years of mothers’ intuition has led new moms on the right path even with no help. And never stop touching them and loving on them. We hold hands, high five, and cuddle every chance we get! I couldn’t be happier or love my lil boy anymore than I do now!

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