Category Archives: Personal Stories

Nursing Through Confusion

By Olga April

“If you don’t give a bottle to your baby in the first two months, he may never take one,” said an article. Wouldn’t want that to happen, I thought. I knew that I should not give artificial nipples in the first six weeks. To be safe, I decided to wait seven.

By seven weeks, nursing was quite familiar and pain free. I made the decision that it was time to try a bottle experiment. I hand-expressed about an ounce into a bottle and sat down to see if David would drink it. After some initial hesitation, he took it and then happily went back to my breast. I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought I could go back and forth from the bottle to the breast with no problems. A week later, I gave him his second bottle.

Uh oh. There’s trouble in paradise. David wouldn’t open his mouth wide enough to nurse. When he did open his mouth, he immediately stuffed his fist into it and then was furious that there was no milk there. I swaddled him to keep his hands confined but he kicked off his blanket. After a great deal of effort, I’d get him to latch only to hear the dreadful clicking sound. He was sucking his tongue instead of properly latching. When he did latch, I was afraid to take him off even if I was in pain. It took so much work to get him latched, even if it wasn’t a good latch, that I didn’t want to stop and start all over again. The bad latch continued. The blisters came back. The pain came back.

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Pumping Was For Me Too

By Sharon DiOrio

As a full-time working woman and part-time pumping mom, I’ll be the first to admit that pumping breastmilk for my baby can be a bit inconvenient. But then again, babies can be a bit inconvenient.

When I was originally nervous about whether I’d be able to keep up, another pumping mom at my job gave me her perspective.

At the time, I was exhausted and hugely pregnant. It was while making my regularly scheduled waddle to the bathroom that I bumped into Amy. She’d been taking over the ladies room of our small loft office space for about eight months to pump milk for her son. Some of the younger employees would smirk when they saw her with her pump bag and a door sign that simply said “Bathroom in use for 15 minutes.” She took it all in quiet good humor.

“Amy,” I said, “I gotta be honest with you. I don’t know if I’m up for that pumping thing.”

She stopped, and with a warm smile of the maternal sisterhood, gave me what was likely my first lesson in parenthood.

“Sharon, let me tell you, I don’t like that I have to leave my baby during the day and I do feel guilty about it. But three times a day, I take 15 minutes to do something for him. Something that I can do even though I’m not with him. I sit, think about nothing but him and produce the perfect food for him. Then when I get home, I drop my bags and reach for him. We nurse to re-connect in a way that we probably wouldn’t if we were formula feeding. The pumping is for him and for me.”

She hugged me and we both had a short little “hormonal moment” thinking about our respective babies. I thought a lot about what she said, because it made perfect sense. As it happened, my first real lesson in parenthood was about listening to your heart. My heart said that I had to give pumping an honest try.

Later on, she and another mother at work organized a group to pitch in for what I now think is the perfect shower gift for a working mother: a Medela Pump In Style.

I’ve been pumping for awhile now, and it has actually gone smoother than I imagined. Three times a day, I now take over our ladies room with my door sign and pump bag. I sit, relax, and think about my baby. Regardless of what kind of workday I have, I go home happy with the gentle heft of the bottles of breastmilk in my cooler bag to remind me that I accomplished something important today.

I make my long commute home, walk in the door, drop my bags, and reach for my baby girl. We baby-waltz to the couch where she nurses herself into a stupor. I watch her rolling her eyes in ecstasy and relax for a few minutes, awash in the stress-reducing hormones that nursing releases. I still hate leaving her, but I love coming home to nurse her.

If you haven’t decided about whether or not pumping is for you, please think about it. You may find that it’s the one thing that keeps you sane while trying to juggle the incredible load of full-time mother and full-time employee. Remember, the saddest thing is in giving up before you even try.

What I Learned Looking Back

By Kim Onion

I suppose that many would say that worrying about how your formula fed your baby is ridiculous.  It’s over and done with, and there’s nothing you can do to change what’s done. However, I still worry.  Why? My daughter is eight now. She suffers from allergies; some food and some environmental.  Dairy is one of them.  As a small child, she had almost constant ear, nose and throat infections: Bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infection, ear infection, ear infection. Now that I know what I do about cow’s milk based formulas, I believe her early weaning could have caused these problems.  I accept my portion of the blame.

Here’s what happened.  My daughter was born on a fine April evening.  The labor nurse helped me latch her on right after delivery.  It was wonderful.  She was an expert nurser right from the start. We exclusively nursed until it was time for me to return to work. That is when the troubles began.

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Formula May Have Won Round 1, But I Won The War

By Dee Negron

In April of 1998 my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child. There were, of course, the usual feelings of excitement and trepidation. We thought about clothes, strollers, car seats, and diapers, but we never thought much about what we would feed our precious baby. That is, until we started natural childbirth classes.

There we were, learning breathing techniques and that breastfeeding was best. Curiously enough though, our Lamaze teacher never told us why breastfeeding was best. We were also told that not every Mom or baby could handle breastfeeding, and that we shouldn’t feel guilty if we had to use formula. I remember seeing a phone number for La Leche League on a pamphlet, but no one ever told me what La Leche League was or how it could help me.

On November 25, 1998, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was quite amazed to find that after all those hours of labor I wasn’t ready to sleep. In fact, I felt strangely energized and ready to hold my little girl and get off to a good start breastfeeding. I took her and laid her tiny little head in the crook of my arm and offered her my breast. I expected to feel a little strange at first, but all I felt was strangely complete.

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Nursing and Working: My Secrets

By Nancy Bird

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I was so very excited. I signed up for all the classes that the hospital offered. Among them was a four hour breastfeeding class. It was broken down into two weeks worth of sessions, each two hours in length. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would need that much instruction!!

The classes were run by an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and she seemed like such a warm caring lady! I remember during one of the classes someone asked her how long she nursed her babies. I was intrigued when she answered “probably what most would consider a long time.” I had no idea what she could mean.

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Relactation: It Was a War, and I Won

By Lisa Bryan

My son was born three weeks early. My head was in a spin. I was a new Mom, with all the doubts and uncertainties that come with the territory. I had an unexpected cesarean section, my baby had a terrible head cold and I couldn’t get a decent latch out of him. I was feeling like a complete failure because I couldn’t deliver a baby naturally and I couldn’t breastfeed.

I got in touch with some breastfeeding moms online who gave me advice and even phoned me to encourage me. I was so overwhelmed that I just couldn’t “hear” what they had to say. I quit breastfeeding. I was sure it would be easier and at the time I just NEEDED easier.

So here I was with my baby on formula at a month old. We hit a new roadblock. He has HORRIBLE colic. I swallowed my pride and went marching right back to the women whose advice I’d shunned weeks earlier. There WAS a powerful force within me to breastfeed. I’d just temporarily stopped recognizing it. With open arms they began to help me through what would be the hardest three weeks of my life. I was going to relactate and get my baby OFF of formula.

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More Than I Knew I Could Do: A Nursing/Working Tale

By Tricia Dixon

When my first daughter, Elizabeth, was born in March 2000, I planned to nurse her for about 5 or 6 weeks till I had to go back to work, then switch to formula.  Since I work 12-hour days as a pharmacist with no scheduled lunch or breaks, I did not think that I would be able to pump.  Like many mothers, I knew that breastmilk was best but assumed that formula was just about as good.  After I started learning more about breastmilk through La Leche League and also through a great breastfeeding board, I decided I would at least try to pump.  I also learned about a few other pharmacists with my company who had made pumping work out.

Everything I had read said that I would need to pump at least every 2 to 3 hours, and because we are sometimes very busy at work, I did not see how this would be possible.  I decided to just do my best to work in pumping around our slow periods at work.  I ended up pumping 3 times per day.  I pumped once in the morning just before leaving for work (sometimes even pumping one side while nursing from the other side for a better letdown), then again in the early afternoon and then again in the early evening.  Thankfully I was able to get enough to meet my daughter’s needs while I was away.  I also made a point to nurse whenever possible, and save all of the expressed breastmilk for when I had to be at work.  In addition, I made sure to nurse more frequently when I was at home to ensure a good milk supply and so she could get as much breastmilk as possible directly from me.

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