Posted by: Admin | February 12, 2011

What does breastfeeding mean to YOU?

I have four children! For me, having four children also means I have applied four different mothering styles and have experienced four different ways of breastfeeding.

When I got pregnant with my first child, 27 years ago, I read books and tried to do what I thought was best to make my child healthy and happy. I did not succeed in breastfeeding my child. From the beginning, things did not go as the books said it would. My baby would not latch on. I was told I had flat nipples. Needless to say, my baby was taken away from me right after his birth. I was only able to hold him after 24 hours had passed.

Now, many years later, I know that a baby needs to be put immediatly on his mother’s naked body (skin to skin) after his birth. He needs to feel, smell and hear the same sounds he heard while he was in her womb. He needs to “imprint,” a special kind of bonding that starts right at birth and enables the baby to recognize his mother. When the baby is put on his mother immediately after his birth and left with her until he breastfeeds, it allows him to put into action what he needs to do to survive: breastfeed! But if he is taken away from her before he can do this, it is more difficult for him to latch on to the breast correctly.

When I learned that this has happened to my first born, I was careful to ask that my daughter be given to me as soon as she was born. It was perfect! She was not interested in breastfeeding right at the start, but I kept her small naked body close to mine, and she just looked at me with those beautiful intelligent eyes. After a while, I cannot remember exactly when, she started rooting for my breast (this is when the baby moves her head around, opens her mouth and makes sucking noises while trying to find the breast). From that time on, she breastfed without any difficulty.

I will continue to write about my other 2 breastfeeding experiences in other posts, but now, it is your turn! What was your breastfeeding experience like?

Hope to read you soon!




  1. Thanks Dany! Looks like I’ll be packing my breastpump…..

  2. Wow!!! its so fantastic!!! Now all the woman on the territories will have the chance to share and also ask any questions about breastfeeding!!! Will be also very helpful for all the woman who want good information. Congratalation Dany !!! Good idea .. Good innovation !!!

    Marie Josee Morin , Awash nurse in Ouje

    • Thank you for your kind words! Yes I hope that can become a good support option for the mothers of Eeyou Itschee. I am also planning a blog for health care workers. It will be a private page within this blog. Stay tuned. I will post it on Facebook and you should be receiving an e-mail giving you more information.

  3. I have had two breastfeeding experiences and though similar in that I didn’t have any major problems with either one, they were still each unique in their own way. My firstborn seemed to teach herself how to breastfeed with little direction from myself or the staff at the hospital where she was born. It was very instinctual. My second child was a little more difficult because he couldn’t latch on properly, I couldn’t get into a comfortable position, and I was more impatient and tired. Everything I had learned and came to expect from my first child just didn’t apply to the second! In fact, it seemed that I had to re-learn how to breastfeed from the beginning. It was frustrating. Of course, knowing the benefits I kept on. It took a few weeks but now we’re at the stage when I’m beginning to think of weaning him and just the thought of it makes me sad that it’s going to be over so soon! I will always recommend breastfeeding not just for the health benefits, but the closeness and the close bond that it nurtures between the mother and child.

    • Thank you for sharing!
      One of the most common myths about breastfeeding is that once we have breastfed one child successfully, we will also be successful breastfeeding your other children! As each child is unique, each breastfeeding experience is different. Our children have different personnalities and have a different body and mouth shape. Their birthing experience is also different. Having a longer labour can make a difference in a baby’s comfort level: for example, if he spent a little too much time in the birth canal (you can sometimes see this with the shape of the head in the days following his birth), he might feel more discomfort with his jaw movements and have more difficulty to open his mouth wide enough to breastfeed well. It is really not unusual to have trouble with breastfeeding a second, third, etc. child.
      As for the weaning period, the best is to do what you are comfortable with! The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding up to 2 years and beyond. I have noticed that many women in Eeyou Itschee breastfeed for a very long period, as long as 5 or 6 years. We do not hear much about it, because they simply do not ‘announce it’ to everyone. Every time I attended sharing groups, most women shared that they breastfed for a long time or that they new many women who had. We tend to think that breastmilk looses it protective properties as time goes by. This is also a myth: breastmilk always has protective factors against many illnesses. A toddler and a preschooler will always benefit from being breastfed, even if it is only a few token breastfeeds throughout the day. They benefit from an immediate protection against colds and flus, but we should never forget all the protection they acquire against chronic illnesses that can happen later on in their life, such as diabetes, heart diseases, bowel diseases, certain types of cancer, etc. The nutritionnal aspect of breastmilk is also important and can become useful at times, even if they are eating other foods: when your child refuses to eat, you are reassured that he will at least get all the nutrients of breastmilk. It was also reported that a toddler receiving a moderate amount of breastmilk got about 40% of his total caloric needs from breastmilk.

      Hope this information will help you!


      • Dany: I am planning on leaving for a 1-week vacation without my son who I am currently breastfeeding. What can I do to make it as painless as possible for the both of us?! I will continue breastfeeding when I get back but I’m worried that my milk supply will dry up! Should I bring my breast pump with me?

      • Once you have passed the 5 to 7 months point in your breastfeeding, your milk production follows the ‘Demand and Supply’ law. You are probably noticing that you can leave for many hours without having to express milk and when you come back, your milk supply has not changed. Your milk supply is now autonomous. Your breasts will produce milk according to your baby’s needs. If your baby asks for a lot, you will produce a lot if not, you production adapts. I think your child is around 18 months right? Your are probably still producing a lot of milk and so, for a week long absence, you will probably need to express. If you don’t, you will be very uncomfortable… Also, expressing about 2 or 3 times per day should keep your production going for the week so that when you come back, you will be able to resume breastfeeding you child without him noticing a derease in supply. If ever he needs more than what your breasts are producing, it should come back as he breastfeeds more frequently for a day or two. A manual pump can easily do the trick. Some mother simply use their hands to do manual breastmilk expression. Be sure to start quickly though as a manual pump would have trouble with a serious engorgement.
        Rule of thumb here: express 2 or 3 times per day but in between that, as soon as you feel uncomfortable, find a rest room and express a little bit of milk.
        I imagine you have introduced your child to a sippy cup? This will come in handy while you are away. Usually, when a breastfeeding mother goes away for awhile, the child drinks a little less the first few days. He always thinks his mother will be back as if she is doing an errand. So he waits for her. He eventually will get more thirty and drink more from the sippy cup and he will automaticaly increase his solids intake. The caregiver should be careful to monitor what he drinks just to make sure he obtains enough liquids. As he will have increased his solid foods intake, you will also have to reajust that we you return.
        I thought I would also mention that some mothers have a supply of breastmilk in their freezer that they use when they leave. If this is your case, you could give him breastmilk in the sippy cup. It will soothe him to smell you thru your milk.
        In any case, you and him will do well. I am sure you are anxious about this separation. I remember leaving my daughter with her dad for a good 5 days when I had to attend my older daughter’s wedding in California. I also remember having a little bit of difficulty expressing form one breast. I had not taken care to do it regularly and one breast had difficulty with engorgement. I had not wanted to bother with a breastpump in my luggage… I guess I thought I would be okay, being a Lactation Consultant and all 😉 . Life is always a humbling experience, is it not? Anyway, I resumed feeding my daughter when I got back (she was 14 months old) and went on to breastfeed her for 4 years. We can never be sure babies will take the breast after a prolonged separation but usually, the older they are, the more they remember they were breastfeeding and as they have missed it, they go back to it eagerly.
        Hope all goes well for you and your son, and enjoy your trip!

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