Breastfeeding is the most natural and loving thing a mother can do for her child. I chose this subject because I did it with my child and it was a time that only the two of shared. I remember when the nurses brought her to me and the total feeling of love I felt when she nuzzled up to my breast. When I thought she had finished, the nurse would come get her and take her back to the nursery. After several times of bringing her to me the nurse finally said, "show me how you're feeding your baby". When I showed her, she smiled and shook her head and told me that was the reason she was being so demanding, she wasn't getting anything, she hadn't "latched on". I said I thought I was doing it correctly. The nurse placed my baby in my arms and pushed my breast into her mouth, she "LATCHED-ON" and my toes curled!!! From that day on, I knew when she was actually nursing. That time was intimate, private and personal. We bonded for life.
I had high blood pressure before I conceived, but my pressure stayed normal during my pregnancy. After giving birth my Doctor saw that my blood pressure was starting to climb, so he prescribed medication to lower it. He told me that I would have to stop breast feeding my baby because the medication would get in the milk. I was devastated and refused to put her on a bottle. At 8 weeks, he told me again to start my medication. I again refused. When my daughter was 3 months, my doctor sat me down and said,"Stephanie you can take your medicine and give Lauren a bottle and live to she her grow up; or you can keep refusing to take your medicine, have a stroke or heart attack and die and someone else will give Lauren a bottle. It's your choice". I weaned her the following week and started buying Similac.
Research on physical and mental health, on immediate mother-infant bonding, and on long term cognition finds that "breast is best"(Berger, 2009). All doctors, worldwide recommend exclusive breast-feeding for the first 4-6 months(Berger, 2009). I now know that breast feeding may not always be best for the baby. In my case it was not the best for me. In some African nations, HIV positive women are encouraged to breast-feed exclusively, because their infants' risk of catching the virus from breast milk is less than their risk from dying from infections, diarrhea or malnutrition as a result of occasional bottle- feeding (Berger, 2009).
Since experiencing those precious moments, nursing my baby and now recalling how wonderful I felt providing the "sweet milk of life" for her, I look forward to providing a private sanctuary at my center for Mothers who want to continue nursing their babies as long as they can.
Berger, K.S. (2009). The Developing Person Through Childhood (5th ed.) New York, NY: Worth Publishers