My son was born in November 2007 with CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia) and required a lengthy NICU stay and ended up going home on oxygen for a few more months. My first days of motherhood I felt so useless--I was recovering from a c-section, trying to visit my son in critical condition and pumping frequently with not much milk to show for the effort.
As soon as my milk came in--I felt like I was finally doing something. Although I was unable to hold my son for the first 28 days-- I was able to pump milk that I knew he would enjoy at some point. Breastfeeding was something that I had always looked forward to and it was difficult not to experience this gift right away-- but I knew pumping would allow me to feed him once he was healthy enough--and I knew the breastmilk that he would eventually receive through his NG tube was the best thing for him.
During my son's stay in the NICU I kept family & friends (and a following of prayer warriors I have never met) updated through a my son's blog. Each day I would give them the gist of the day--adding in some comic relief when possible--but the gist of the day always included the many times I would have to pump--I mentioned it often. One of my well-meaning blog readers mentioned that I seemed to talk about pumping too much--almost to imply I was mentioning how many times I used the restroom. At first I was embarrassed--and then it occurred to me--this is what it is to be a mother. I was pumping my milk--and if I had been saying "I went to feed my baby" it wouldn't have seemed as crass--but I couldn't say that--my baby was on a ventilator--and the next best thing I could do was to pump. I was a proud pumper. I pumped for just about 3 months until one day I looked at my son and said--we can do this. I have been exclusively breastfeeding him ever since--which is a miracle in itself--CDH babies tend to have major oral adversions on top of reflux issues--I thank God for this gift of motherhood.
So what's up with this blog?
In a word--support. A breastfeeding mother needs support--and a pumping mother needs LOTS of encouragement to persevere--because there is nothing endearing about a breastpump staring at you at 3am.
I am not an expert--I am not a nurse or lactation consultant and I don't claim to have any sort of expertise in lactation or breastfeeding. But I do have a unique experience of pumping exclusively for 2 months for a critically ill child, transitioning to breastfeeding a special needs infant in the NICU and now breastfeeding exclusively for a high needs baby. All this to say--I can relate to a lot of different situations. If you have a question--post it in the comments section below each blog entry--if I don't have an answer, hopefully another blog reader will!
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