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Breastfeeding Success!! ~ Jennifer's Story
by Jennifer Smith

My name is Jennifer, and I am the mother of two. My daughter, Rebecca, is 4 years old and my son, Quintin, is 2 1/2 months old. My story is one to let other mothers know that every child is very different from the other.

Before my daughter's birth, my husband and I took a breastfeeding class. I recommend it to every pregnant woman I see, even if they don't want to try to breastfeed. Just take it for the information.

My daughter was born May 17, 1996. She was not breathing at birth because the cord had wrapped around her neck three times. Everything turned out fine; she started to breathe on her own. Because of the complications with her birth, she was in the special care nursery and fed formula. I was very worried because I did not get to hold her until she was six hours old, and I did not get to try to breastfeed until she was 17 hours old. The books and class tell you to breastfeed as soon after the birth as possible. Being a first-time mom I believed everything I read. I was worried about nipple confusion and latching onto my nipple vs. the bottle. I persevered and within three days, my milk was in and my baby was nursing great.

After about three months of nursing, I felt a slight burning feeling in one of my breasts. After talking to the lactation nurse, I was told it was possibly the start of a yeast infection. I followed the directions of the nurse and used medicated cream. Thankfully my daughter never caught thrush. I continued to nurse exclusively until my daughter was 15 1/2 months old. It took about a week of her still asking (tugging at my shirt), but then she was fully weaned.

My son, Quintin, born 4 years and 10 days after my daughter was a different child totally. My birth experience was different from my first. I got to hold my son immediately after birth, and he was allowed to room-in with me the entire time. I tried to breastfeed within an hour of his birth. It was perfect, or so I thought. I, being an "experienced mom" now, was disappointed when my son showed no interest in nursing. He was very jaundiced because I was a gestational diabetic. My son was very lethargic and did not want to nurse at all. I told the nurses that I was going to breastfeed exclusively, but they informed me that until my milk came in, I would need to supplement with formula. I needed to feed him every hour until his "bili" went down to normal.

As soon as I came home, I pumped like I never pumped before. I wanted a good milk supply. I was still offering the breast at every feeding, but wasn't having much luck. I didn't think I was going to make it. I thought about giving up, but I knew for my son's sake, and for my own sake, I needed to keep trying. I contacted a lactation consultant who told me he was still young enough to learn. By this point, six days post-partum, he loved the quickness of the bottle and wouldn't even try to latch on to the breast. I followed the suggestions of the lactation consultant and diminished the amount in each bottle by 1/2 ounce each feeding and still offered the breast first. In less than one day, my son was now accepting the breast, briefly, but none the less accepting it. By the end of his eighth day I gave my son his last bottle. A few more days went by before he got to latch on correctly. The lactation consultant said I needed to treat the baby like it's brand new, not 8 days old, "he's just a little behind."

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She was right. My son is now 2 1/2 months old. He has gained over 5 pounds since birth. There are still subtle differences between his feeding technique and my daughter's, one was fast, the other slow. One took two breasts each time, the other one at a feeding. The end result is that I have a healthy 4 year old and a 2 1/2 month old that I plan on breastfeeding well after he's 1 year old, just like his sister.

Please, never give up and don't feel that it's your fault if you're not as successful as you had hoped. Remember, there is always someone there to help you; don't be afraid to ask for help.

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