When it comes to breastfeeding, everyone has a story. Women love to tell horror stories about cracked nipples, mastitis, latching issues and spraying milk.
Before I became pregnant, I would listen to my friends with babies tell their stories. There were so many stories, and it seemed each woman could talk for hours! So, when I became pregnant with my first daughter, it was time to decide if I was going to breastfeed her. For me, it was a no-brainer - I chose to breastfeed. Studies show that children that were breastfed fewer allergies, higher IQs, and as an added bonus, it was going to help with me lose weight!
My first daughter was born prematurely at 34 weeks. The hospital immediately told me that she would be unable to breastfeed as a preemie that they would need to tube-feed her. For days and days they tried this approach, and my daughter continued to reject it. It looked like we were going to have a long stay at the hospital as she was losing weight and being hooked up to an IV. On day three of our hospital stay, a nurse suggested that I give her some kangaroo care with skin-to-skin contact near my breast, mainly meant for bonding. As soon as we did this, she latched on like a vacuum cleaner and had her first meal. She was out of the hospital two days later.
It has been many years now since I have breastfeed a child, but I did learn two things from my experience. First, it's not a good idea to tell a pregnant woman or someone thinking of having a child any awful stories of breastfeeding; not every experience is the same. Secondly, but more importantly, since that day, I have never under-estimated my daughter's abilities - she always makes the right choice!
If you are considering whether to breastfeed or not, or want more information or support, please visit La Leche League Canada . They have many articles available at http://www.llli.org/nb/nbworking.html .
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