by Laurel Cutter
Hi, here is my story:
My first baby was born June 28th at 7:30 AM. I had a beautiful baby girl and I knew that I wanted to breastfeed her. We had a few hours to get acquainted in our room but around midnight a nurse told me she looked jaundiced. After a doctor examined her I was told that she had pathological jaundice (our blood type was incompatible) and she was taken to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). To make matters worse, the doctor wouldn't allow me to breastfeed. I was devastated. I argued with him, but to no avail, and I cried when I gave her that first bottle of formula.
Later on that morning I called my husband and the lactation consultant. I was told to rent a pump so at least I could feed my baby breastmilk and build up my supply. I pumped a little colostrum and added it to my daughters formula. The reason I couldn't breastfeed was because the doctor wanted to monitor the amount of formula; she needed a lot to help her pass the meconium. The next day my milk had started to come in and I was able to give more breastmilk to my daughter. Her third day in NICU I was allowed to put her to the breast then supplement with my milk and formula. On the fourth day I was breastfeeding every other feeding and supplementing only my milk! I now wish that someone would have told me about the SNS (Supplemental Nursing System). Perhaps I would have never had to feed my daughter from a bottle.
That night we roomed in together. After my husband left, I put my daughter to the breast but she was confused and started to cry. Soon I was frustrated and I started crying. Out of desperation I gave her a bottle of formula; it only made me cry harder. Soon her hunger was sated and she drifted off to sleep. I collected my wits and called the lactation consultant. But help finally arrived the next morning. My husband saw that I was having trouble breastfeeding and he said, "She's not positioned right." He helped fix her position and that made all the difference in the world; she latched on and began to suck. We all went home later that day.
One year later, Ariel still nurses like it's going out of style. Breastfeeding has become a passionate part of my life. I am a member of the La Leche League of Okinawa. Soon I will start working on becoming a leader and I aspire to become a lactation consultant. The lesson I learned from my experience, besides that anyone can breastfeed, is don't take no for an answer. Get all the information you can and ask questions. I wish all nursing moms the best of luck.