Sunday, February 20, 2011

9 years later! My breastfeeding Story.

I finally don't have a breastfeeding baby, so I added it all up the other day.......................I have breastfed 4 babies for a total of about 9 years! This close to 1/4 of my life!  Wow! I have seen other ladies post about earning their  bronze or golden booby awards.............I would love to know what 9 years (3.5 with my youngest) has earned me!

Before I launch into my breastfeeding story, I want to say that I do understand that not every baby can be breastfed, especially those with complicated medical problems.  However, please don't let anyone tell you that your baby can't do it. Unless your baby has a medical problem that truly prevents them from breastfeeding, it is worth a very determined effort. I have heard many stories of babies with DS that struggled for a long time, but had determined moms that kept offering & their babies finally learned at 4, 6, or even 9 months of age.  Don't give up!  In the mean time, pumped milk also offers many benefits.  This article by Sarah Rosenfeld Johnson  will be helpful in avoiding some of the problems babies with DS may experience.

 The article is called: The Oral-Motor Myths of Down syndrome & can be viewed here: 

For babies with DS, I truly believe breastfeeding is even more important than with typical babies.  I'm sure it has been another of the key factors in K's speech development.

One thing that I have learned as a mom, is that every baby is different & a mom really has to adapt to each baby's needs. When my oldest dd was born, I was very determined that she would breastfeed.  Luckily, she was great at nursing & taught me a lot.  It was my 3rd baby that I struggled with the most of my 4, but I am thankful to have had that learning experience. By the time K was born, I had a lot of experience with various breastfeeding problems & was a lot more prepared than if she had been my first. 

K was very sleepy as a newborn.   This is common in babies with DS.  Thankfully she had  very good
suck -swallow coordination which helped a lot.  In the early days, she could not stay awake long enough to get a full feed in.  We all know how beneficial breast milk is & my natural stubborn streak kicked in at full force, & I was determined that this baby would be fully breastfed.  Besides, being an experienced mom of 4 kids, I still had no clue how to give a baby a bottle:)!

The first few days were difficult.  Her wakeful periods were so short that she just couldn't get enough & we'd spend the next hour or so trying to get a few more swallows in.  Finally, the wonderful, & wise grandmotherly nurse who was the go to at our hospital for nursing problems, came up with an idea.  This is a very rural hospital & I'm not sure if they even have a supplemental nursing system (commonly known as a SNS) as in the picture below:

Instead, we used a syringe attached to a very tiny tube & as K nursed, we slowly injected additional, pumped breast milk.    Because she got a lot more milk with less effort, she was quickly able to get enough in this way. As she became more wakeful over the next couple of months, she was able to fully breastfeed & I gladly put the breast pump away.

I was lucky that this was all it took to get K nursing.  I know it has been much harder for many of you & I applaud all of your efforts. To those of you reading this who are still expecting or have a newborn, check out this site it has some wonderful resources:

This is a link to post  on breastfeeding - the comment section will be helpful. You will find many other interesting topics on this site as well.                                                                                                                                    

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