Anonymous Mother, Ottawa, Ontario
Jessica had problems with sucking and latching, and compounded with my having flat nipples and very large, soft breasts, I was not successful in nursing her. I tried for eight days; I went to hell and back.
Before I was pregnant I went to my first La Leche League meeting, I was so determined to nurse.
When Jeremy was born, I had the same awkward difficulties with positioning and latching on. It was just impossible. I persevered. Lots of blood, sweat and tears, and no books were of much help. That was the problem. I was trying to follow the book, the correct way to latch and position my baby and it just wasn’t going to work for me. A wonderful League Leader told me to find some way that worked and I did.
I basically needed three hands. I needed to hold my breast, the babies head and hold the baby. I could not just hold him in the crook of my arm and have the other arm free; I needed to hold up my breast.
For positioning I used two pillows consistently for the first eight months. Without them was awful. Lying down worked well. I used the football hold for my right breast, and held my breast always with my left hand. For the left breast, I would slide him over on the pillows, hold his head with my right hand and my breast with my left. His body was being held up by pillows.
Because my nipples weren’t “perky”, I had to hold up my breast and kind of turn my nipples upward, and “sandwich” the nipple, and put as much of my breast into my mouth, as I could. It wasn’t the “correct” way to nurse, but sometimes you have to be unconventional.
Before I discovered our successful way to nurse, My nipples had become a mess. They were festering wounds; they would get a “bead” of skin, and it would fall off in chunks. I tried air, sun, breastmilk, antibiotic cream because there was pus, and the thing that finally worked was a combination of improving the latch and warm sea salt water.
I have huge areola, the brown part around the nipple. I couldn’t possibly put all that in my babe’s mouth. My League Leader pointed out that all women are built differently and that guide wouldn’t be appropriate for me to try to follow.
I am grateful to La Leche League and I am so proud of myself for persevering, with basically no support from family, friends who didn’t nurse and even from friends who did nurse but had no difficulties.
Jeremy nursed for almost two years, without problems after the first six weeks. I look forward to having another child; I know I can overcome anything now.
Not nursing my first born did something to my self esteem; I found the courage to fight, and that was half the battle.
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