Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Heather Wadley, Las Cruces, NM, USA
Artist: Alena Kalchanka, Messina, Italy
When my first child was born six years ago, I was aware of the benefits of breastfeeding but initially planned to pump exclusively and feed my daughter through a bottle, so that my husband might feed our baby as well. Shortly after my daughter was born, while still in the hospital, I changed my mind and tried breastfeeding for the first time. From the very beginning we had trouble with positioning and attachment—my baby did not latch on well. After a few visits from the lactation consultant, we were sent home with a pamphlet and several bottles of formula.
From the very beginning we had trouble with positioning and attachment—my baby did not latch on well.
Every three hours on the dot, I attempted breastfeeding. I always felt as though she was not getting enough milk. I thought, “Am I doing this right?” “Why is she crying still?” “I am sore.” We were both unhappy. And those bottles of formula were looking better and better.
I was uncomfortable nursing out in public spaces, too, so I tried her on her first bottle of formula. On the one hand, I felt guilty but on the other, my daughter took well to a bottle. We were a one-income family and the reality was that formula cost a lot of money that we couldn’t spare, while breastfeeding was free.
I carried on my struggle to breastfeed. One day, in tears, I told my mom that I just could not get my daughter to latch correctly. She suggested that I lie down to feed her. That was something I had not tried before and by this point I was willing to try anything. The first time we gave it a go lying down, my baby latched like a champ. She finished one breast. I burped her and moved her to the other breast. Again she latched on right away and then fell asleep with a full belly. This was the turning point for me. As long as I could lie down to breastfeed, both of us were happy. It took a few months before I was comfortable sitting up to feed her. But we soon mastered that too. We both enjoyed breastfeeding for 13 months.
I am so glad we persevered and that changing positions helped us make it work. My husband and I have had three more children since my first daughter was born. And with each child, breastfeeding has become easier and easier.