Sunday's Story - Mama Tara

Mama Tara says:

"This is a picture of my daughter at 6 days old.  It is her first latch after not latching for 24 hours, due to being sick with viral meningitis and a fever.

I didn’t expect to find myself back in the hospital just 5 days post-partum.  The night my daughter was admitted to the paediatric unit was the scariest and most trying night I had faced in a long time.  My emotions were all over the place - I remember trying to get my poorly newborn girl to latch and crying right along with her.

The doctors brought me a pump and told me to pump every 3 hours to keep my supply up. I tried to get her to latch each time she needed to eat, but when she wouldn't latch I would give her the milk that I had expressed.

Once her fever broke and she was feeling better, we were able to start nursing again. I will probably remember her first latch after being sick for a long time; I started crying as she was finally able to latch.

I knew she was on the road to recovery when she started wanting to nurse again. I would talk to her each time I tried to get her to latch and tell her that she could do it and to be strong. I needed her to be strong for me; I was an emotional mess. Having a sick baby in the hospital is a tough and trying time no matter what. In the time she was admitted, I realized how strong I could be for my daughter. She needed me to be strong, just as I needed her to be strong. I was so afraid that her not latching for over 24 hours was going to end our nursing relationship - but we are still nursing strong at almost 10 weeks old."

Tara's story shows us that sometimes, circumstances outside of our control can affect our nursing relationships.  Her story is a perfect example of perseverance and dedication in the face of such a terrifying challenge.

Because breastfeeding doesn't always follow a linear isn't always plain sailing.  Even the most established of nursing relationships can sometimes be affected by circumstances outside of our control.

Luckily, there are many ways that moms can navigate these bumps along their nursing pathways.

The first port of call for any mom struggling with breastfeeding should always be a visit to or consultation with a lactation consultant.  Lactation consultants are trained extensively in breastfeeding and are there to support both mom and baby through even the toughest of nursing struggles.

And although it isn't common, cup feeding is actually recommended by the World Health Organisation as the best alternative way of feeding an infant breast milk, when direct nursing isn't possible.

Importantly though, technology has improved so much over the last few years, that moms who would prefer to use a bottle to a cup are supported in their choice, without running the risk of nipple confusion.  Lansinoh, for instance, have invented a breast milk feeding nipple they call the 'NaturalWave Nipple', which has been clinically proven to reduce nipple confusion in established breastfed babies - which increases the chance that baby will transition back to the breast after bottle use.

If there's one thing that Tara's story tells us, it's that breastfeeding is worth persevering.  Even when faced with the biggest of mountains to climb, the relief, peace and gratitude at that first feed post illness is almost audible.

Because we're in this together, mamas.

Thank you to mama Tara for allowing me to feature her story in this piece.  For more glimpses into real life breastfeeding, join the Mama Bean village on Facebook!

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