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Monday, December 6, 2010

A tale of two babies

I married my hubby in 2001 and started working in a large spa as a massage therapist. I loved working in spas and salons and quickly found my career in management and salon and spa consulting. My husband worked hard in undergrad and law school while I developed a career I loved. But I always wanted to be a mommy so in 2007 I had my first baby, a boy we named Kayden.

Nursing did not come easily to us and after a lactation consultant told me he was never going to latch, I went to exclusive formula feeding.

Starting at 6 months, Kayden had frequent ear infections and therefore, constant courses of antibiotics. While recovering from the toll the antibiotics took, he would constantly pick up other bugs. I became a germaphobe, breaking out my antibacterial wipes every time he touched something outside our home. I got angry at any mom who dared let their coughing child come to play group or story time. I stopped going to the gym because every time I went, he would come home with a bug from the childcare room.
After a two years of constant ear infections I finally pushed for him to get tubes placed so we could stop the infection cycle. He successfully had surgery in December of 2009 and since then has been a healthy boy with only 2 colds in a year.

I always attributed his constant ear infections with the fact that I didn't nurse him. The guilt I had solidified my resolve to do everything in my power to nurse my second son born in August 2010. As fate would have it, Liam had his own set of issues. He was born with a high palate and a weak suck that would make getting him to latch a very long process.

I pumped every feeding for the first month of his life while we worked on a set of physical therapies prescribed by his oral motor therapist. After that first month, he could latch on with the aid of a nipple shield. We worked with the nipple shield until one day, when Liam was 3 months old, I felt the urge to try to get him to latch without the shield. To my surprise, he latched right away and has been a strong nurser since then.

I am so grateful for the support I received from my family, friends and medical providers the second time around. Having done both bottle and breast feeding I can say, even with all the work it took to get here, that breast feeding is by far easier .

With that said, every woman has a different experience with feeding their baby. What works for one, will not always work for another. Judging a mom for her chosen method will only divide breast and bottle feeders more. I believe that all moms need support, especially those who are struggling with breast feeding or a decision to bottle feed.

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