Sunday, June 14, 2009

Got Milk?

I received a panicked phone call from a new acquaintance, Debbie, last night. She had just given birth to her first child by C-section and was finally home after a brief stay at the hospital. Her birth experience wasn't at all what she had expected and now was having trouble breastfeeding her little guy.

Debbie and I got to know each other when I returned to work after my very short maternity leave [Canadians do it better than the measly 12 weeks New York State government gave me.]. She was covering for another teacher's maternity leave [I know, I know, don't drink the water! We had 4 pregnant women and 2 men with pregnant wives at our school this year alone!] when we got to know each other. She was eager to know all about Indio's birth and motherhood, and of course, I was more than eager to tell.

When Indio was born a new-mom friend gave me a *free pass* to call her at anytime, day or night, during that first week home from the hospital. Though I didn't utilize the pass during a late-night freakout, I was grateful to have it available to me and wanted to pass it on, so I told Debbie to feel free to call me at anytime, day or night, once her little boy arrived.

And she did. She was so worried that she had messed up any chance of nursing because she wasn't able to bond with her son. Everything she had been told pointed to a lifetime of formula-feeding, which she did not want to entertain. [Nothing against formula, Debbie had just hoped to breastfeed, that's all.]

Now, I'm no expert on breastfeeding. I have been exclusively feeding Indio this way for six months and have read as much as I can get my hands on about the subject, but I'm no expert. I am, however, someone who knows what it feels like to be a new mother with a brand spanking new babe, convincing myself that I have no idea of what to do. And I would do anything to relieve that feeling from any woman, even if only just a little bit. So many women have already helped me; the least I could do is *pay it forward*.

So, we chatted for a long while Saturday night after 2 days of playing phone tag. At the end of the conversation Debbie finally blurted out what she seemed to want to say all along: "Will you come over and help me?" Of course I said yes. I even told her I would bring along props [Indio].

When I walked into her apartment, Debbie looked frantic, but oh-so-proud. She had the glow of a new mom. She started babbling about how she had been feeding her son so far, explaing that he didn't like the breast, he would easily take a bottle of formula, and that pumping was unsuccessful so far. Once she stopped to catch a breath I sat with her and had her try to nurse her son. After a few tries he latched on successfully! The smile across Debbie's face was priceless! During my brief stay, she also pumped milk, and gave her son some formula, but all with a renewed sense of accomplishment.

It felt so good to see Debbie so happy and feeling so triumphant. To think, just a few months ago, I didn't have the best feeling about breastfeeding. I didn't know if I *could* continue breastfeeding because of the pain I was experiencing.I felt so helpless. And here I sit, typing a post about how I was able to assist someone else. Helpless, no more.


Nico Blue June 18, 2009 at 10:13 AM  

Hmmm...maybe you should consider joining the La Leche League! Glad you could be there for her :)

bklyn76 June 18, 2009 at 11:39 AM  

haha, i'm considering it!

Faiza July 20, 2009 at 10:09 AM  

Sounds like the you I know! Always willing to meet people where they are at whether it's just listening or jumping in to lend a hand. You rock!

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