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Breastfeeding Success!! ~ Jennifer's Story
by Jennifer Moeller
I had never thought about how I would feed my babies until I was pregnant with the first one. I was bottlefed, and everyone I knew had used bottles. Until I had my daughter, I think I had seen one person breastfeed in my entire life. Thank God, for my husband, Craig, who had been breastfed and wanted me to breastfeed our baby. Had it not been for him, I probably would have gone along with what I had been taught growing up.
When I gave birth to Meaghan, it was by c-section because she was very large. I was separated from her for at least two hours after her birth. When I finally got to my postpartum room, she was sleeping. So our first try at breastfeeding was delayed by several hours. However, when she finally woke up, I found that I had been blessed with a nursing champ. She knew what she was doing from the first moment. And thankfully, I had taken a class, so I knew how to latch her on correctly.
Unfortunately, my milk did not come in for a couple of days. The colostrum she got was just not enough. The second night after her birth, she just would not stop screaming. One of the nurses came in and asked, again, if I wanted to just give her a bottle. I felt so hopeless and defeated that I finally gave in. As I watched Meaghan gulp down the formula, I felt terribly guilty. She was starving! However, she also hated the artificial nipple, and had trouble controlling the flow. I resolved to keep trying, and the next day she was satisfied with nursing and only nursing. My milk came in soon after that.
When we got home, the real difficulties began. No one's nipples are ever ready for the constancy of use that they get after the birth of a baby. Some toughen up quickly, but I was not one of those. Soon, every nursing session became torture, because my nipples were so sore. The pain would subside after the first few sucks, though, and had it not been for that, I don't think I could have continued. We reached our lowest point when, after a couple of weeks, my nipples were cracked and bled so much that Meaghan spit-up pink! I was unsure of whether I could continue, and I began to fight with my husband about it. We had wanted this baby so much, and now something as simple as feeding was tearing our family apart. I knew that I couldn't stop nursing though. I wanted to give my baby the best, and I knew I would feel guilty if I stopped.
By four weeks, things were incomparably better. I was still a little sore, but my nipples had healed, and I no longer looked at nursing as a painful chore. Meaghan was growing beautifully, and she was happy, active and alert. By six weeks, nursing became a peaceful retreat from the world for my baby and I to share. There were no more difficulties after that, and Meaghan continued to grow and develop off the charts.
When she was seventeen months old, she was down to nursing once a day. She had grown into big, healthy, smart toddler! When I weaned her, it was one of the saddest days of my life, and the weeks afterward weren't easy either. But I knew I had given her the best start in life that she could have, and that we would never lose the closeness that nursing had engendered.