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Breastfeed Anyway: Hyperlactation

by Shireen Fink

I had strong convictions about breastfeeding and believed I could, though both my mother and only sister were told by doctors that they didn’t have enough milk. I gave birth to a beautiful boy at home, in the loving presence of my mother, husband and two midwives. It was the happiest moment of my life. Immediately at birth, I put him to my breast. His lips just made it to my nipple as he was still attached to an extremely short umbilical cord. He rooted around and licked a bit. An hour passed before he actually started sucking.

My milk let down with a bang. My breasts became as hard as baseballs. I took baths, face down, and stroked the milk out of my breasts. I watched the white of the milk jet out into the water, slowly disappearing into the tub. The warm bath waters soothed my aching breasts and my whole being.

As I cradled tiny babe Eldon in my arm, I would attempt to “scissor” my breast with the index and middle fingers of the other arm while he tried to latch onto a hard, round breast. He would start to suck, I’d have a let down and milk would gush out of the other breast, sometimes spraying a distance of a meter or more. Eldon would let go of my breast, leaving a second breast to freely flow, hosing down whatever was close by, usually Eldon’s surprised face. Afraid to lose that precious milk that, through heredity, I would not have much of, I’d try to get my little boy’s mouth over Old Faithful’s spray before it was all gone.

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