Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Sarah Mason, Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand
Photo: Charlotte Southren
The first time Logan latched on to nurse was just ten minutes after his birth and that was the most magical moment for me. I am so grateful for being able to breastfeed and give my baby the best start in life.
Every night is a bit of a challenge because we never know if Logan will sleep through or not. We have a sort of routine now at seven months, starting with a bath. He loves bath time and has such fun splashing. Then we nurse before he goes down to sleep, but, of course, the pattern changes. At the moment, he is feeding every three hours, which I am trying to extend to four. He is usually asleep by 10:30pm. If I’m lucky he will sleep through, but mostly he wakes up around 1am and sometimes again about 4am.
I love breastfeeding my baby in the small hours because he is calmer in the still of the night than during the busy day.
La Leche League has been a huge lifesaver. Since I’m a first-time mom I have so many questions and seeing that other moms have similar concerns makes me feel safer. I use the word “seeing” because I visit the LLL New Zealand Facebook page: it is awesome! Unfortunately, I don’t go to a local group’s meetings because I am Deaf and need an interpreter to follow the chat. An interpreter’s fees are too expensive and not covered by insurance or by the government.
Because I am Deaf I need to rely on my baby’s facial expressions more than a hearing mother might. These visual cues will tell me if he is hungry or uncomfortable or just wants to snuggle. Logan sleeps in his own bed and I have a monitor that is linked to something that vibrates, which is under my pillow, so when he stirs or cries at night the vibration will alert me to his needing me and I’ll pick him up. There are different challenges every day but that’s part and parcel of being a mom. We learn by trying things and seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Logan’s dad is Deaf too. We use both the spoken word and sign language with Logan because we want him to be able to communicate in both ways.
It would be a big help to Deaf mothers if LLL and other breastfeeding educators could produce DVDs and online conferences with a sign language translation added. I understand that is an expensive thing to do. I do know a company that provides such a service if anyone is interested in adapting existing spoken materials to enable Deaf mothers to use them.
Because I am Deaf I need to rely on my baby’s facial expressions more than a hearing mother might.
Being able to read my baby’s facial expressions came with time and practice. I still don’t always get them right! I have hearing aids and use them sometimes to hear him while reading his face at the same time so the next time he pulls a specific face I know what he is telling me. I think if hearing mothers can just block the noise out and focus on their baby’s face, they may be able to pick up more particular signals. Everything about baby care takes time and attention to pick up. It is the same whether parents can hear or not. I guess that Deaf moms just have more of a visual focus.
La Leche League has been a huge lifesaver. Since I’m a first-time mom I have so many questions, and seeing that other moms have similar concerns makes me feel safer.
Updated from a story first published by Breastfeeding Today in 2014.
Breastfeeding Naturally: a video with sign language from the New Zealand Ministry of Health: