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Breastfeeding Success!! ~ Angela's story

I was sixteen when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I had decided I would give breastfeeding a try, and she was a natural! I nursed maybe four times until I gave up - it was too painful, I was too tired, and simply too young to persist. I switched to formula and that was the end of our nursing relationship.

Four years later, I gave birth to my first son. I really wanted to try breastfeeding again, and right after birth tried to latch him on, but he would cry and push away from my breast. I tried every two hours during my entire hospital stay, but he never latched and seemed to reject the breast - crying all the while. Before I left the hospital, I resorted to the bottle and he gulped down his formula, and seemed in peace for the first time since birth. When I brought him home I continued to try and latch him on at every feeding, but he always refused and took the formula instead. I tried to pump a few times a day with a horrible hand pump, crying all the while thinking I was a failure. On top of it all, my son developed colic and I couldn't help but blame myself for not breastfeeding and believed it was the cause of the poor painful screams coming from my little boy. I could only pump for a few weeks before my supply diminished, and that was that. A failure and a formula-fed infant.

The third time around, I was determined to make it work. I gave birth naturally to a beautiful baby boy after a grueling three day induction on Pitocin. All seemed well, and I tried to latch him on only to run into the same problems as my first son. Two hours after giving birth I passed out in the bathroom of the delivery room and found out I had been hemorrhaging. I had to suffer through more Pitocin to contract my uterus, loss of several liters of blood, an internal exam and removal of fetus-sized blood clots, administering of Cervadil, and Morphine and Ibuprofen for the pain. Needless to say, I had to wait several hours until I was allowed to give breastfeeding another try. I did try - with the help of every nurse, the hospital lactation consultant, a breast pump, you name it. He was labeled a tongue sucker. By day three, my son had still not eaten. Day four came the dreaded bottle of formula so I could leave the hospital without leaving my son behind.

When I got home I pumped like crazy - every two hours with a hand pump through all the exhaustion of being anemic and with a low blood count, postpartum blues times ten and two older children in tow. I contacted WIC, who lent me the dual electric (one week later) and worked up to feeding my little one three bottles of EBM and 8 bottles of formula per day. A home health nurse provided me with a tubing kit that I didn't have enough hands to use properly. At 2 1/2 weeks post-partum, I came across literature about a nipple shield. I ordered it, and ten days later it came in and I was able to nurse for the first time. What a miracle it was. Within a few days, my little man was draining effectively enough so that he no longer needed supplements. Three weeks later, he latched onto the breast alone. It's been two weeks of nursing with no devices and it is truly beautiful. We nurse exclusively and happily no matter the trials it took, my last baby and I share the most special bond I have ever known. And it was worth everything.

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