Posted by: Admin | October 15, 2014

Our breastfeeding story

by Paula Rickard

Dear Nikamuwin, we welcomed you into the world at 5:37 am on August 3, 2011. I already knew that I would breastfeed you. I had no experience in breastfeeding and throughout your first day I tried with the assistance of your Daddy and the nurses. Your Auntie Juanita arrived later that day and helped me figure it out some more. You were healthy and there we no complications with your delivery so we went home on August 4th. Sometime in the evening of August 6th, I realized it had been hours since you wet your pamper. I called your Auntie Juanita who is a nurse and our cousin Rita was with her. Rita is a nurse too! So the two nurses made a personal house call and gave you a quick check-up. They suggested that we supplement you with formula to get more liquids in you. Off they went to the store to buy formula that was closest to breast milk. Once they returned, they sterilized bottles, boiled water and prepared your formula. You drank one ounce of formula and we were relieved to know that you had more liquids in your little belly. Later that night, you soaked your pamper and threw up the formula. That was the one and only time you had formula.

As time went on, I tried to express my milk with breast pumps. Two manual pumps and one electric pump did not express my milk at all. I tried on different occasions with the same result. So I kept juujuuing you and we tried formula again a few times later. You just wouldn’t take the bottle. Not even a soother. We agreed the only thing we could do for you was to keep breastfeeding you. You were growing nicely and stayed healthy – that was all that mattered to us. This also meant that my time away from you was very limited. I would go to the grocery store while you were sleeping and rush to get back home to you. Sometimes, Daddy would call to tell me you were crying and I would rush home. Some of the rushing stopped when you started eating baby food at eight months old. You also preferred juujuuing over drinking water, which we first gave to you at the age of five months. You drank from a sippy cup because you refused to take a bottle.

When you were a tiny baby, I would use the football hold to juujuu you. You enjoyed your feedings and you would make us laugh when you would pant once my breast was exposed to your little face. A couple of times, you dove onto my breast. Those were funny moments and they bring a smile to my face when I think about them. We spent many moments cuddled up with the breastfeeding pillow and it was washed many times because you would spit up on it. The pillow is still here in our house because your Daddy and I are sentimental that way.

Breastfeeding wasn’t always easy. I felt my breasts engorged and painful the morning after you slept all night for the first time. And you know what, that was the only night you ever slept all night! Then the cracks came and thankfully they were at different times. The first crack was on my left nipple, which was your favourite side. It seemed more milk came from that breast. I consulted with fellow mamas and my childhood friend told me about this cream that she used when she had a crack from breastfeeding. It was a blend of ointments and needed to be prescribed by a doctor. She gave me some while I waited for my prescription. It didn’t take much cream to heal the crack. The pain while breastfeeding with a cracked nipple was excruciating. You would latch onto the cracked nipple and I would inhale deeply, stretch my leg and tap my foot until the pain became bearable. The pain that came from breastfeeding with cracked nipples did not once make me think about not breastfeeding you.

When you were three weeks old, you became a little traveller. Travelling meant breastfeeding you in public places. At first, I was self-conscious about it, but then quickly changed my feelings and thinking about it. I was taking care of you and in order to do that, I needed to feed you. Sometimes I would use a receiving blanket to cover myself. I would never cover your face. I would use the blanket to make sure no part of my breast was exposed. I became good at using my sweater to cover myself while breastfeeding. During these times, Daddy would sit beside us to help in any way or he would be busy close by. No one ever said anything to me about breastfeeding you in public. I was proud to breastfeed you because I knew it was the best thing I could give you.

I thought about weaning you when you were about 18 months old. It didn’t work. Part of it was because you used breastfeeding for comfort. I also enjoyed being able to comfort you when you had your meltdowns. I would say, “let’s juujuu” and your tears would stop. You were two years old when I spent the night away from you for the first time since you’ve been with us. We were so happy that we all survived that one night apart. It was only recently that I spent the second night away from you. And now since you had your last juujuu on October 1, 2014, I think I can be at ease when I am away for the night and leave you at home with your Dad.

You were such a healthy baby and toddler and we honestly believe that it was because of breastfeeding. We also gave you Vitamin D on a daily basis, which also helped boost your immune system. You would still get a cold now and then, but it would never get really bad to a point where you had green, bubbly boogers or a bad cough. I share our experience with other mothers from time to time and now I can also tell them that I breastfed you for 3 years and 2 months.

Not too long ago, I realized I was the only one who fed you for the first eight months of your life because you were exclusively breastfed. Now, as our story comes to an end, I am teary eyed knowing that I will never again say “juujuu baby juujuu”.







Editor’s note:
Artificial Baby Milk manufacturers often market thier product by saying “the formula closest to mother’s milk” or something similar. No formula will ever be even close to mother’s milk as it is a “living food” that contains protective factors against illnesses while formula is “inert” and offers no protection against illnesses.

The medicated ointment mentionned in this story is commonly called “Dr. Newman’s cream”. It has antibiotic, antifungal and antiinflammatory properties and is obtained only with a prescription.

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