Fatimah’s Story (Part II): My Struggle
Fatimah Salman, RN, BSN, Lebanon
Editor’s Note: In Part I of her story, Fatimah shared her difficult introduction to parenthood as her newborn son, Hadi, struggled to stay healthy and Fatimah fought to gain confidence and find breastfeeding support. Today, in Part II, Fatimah continues her story, describing how she overcame these early challenges and is now happily breastfeeding a healthy and thriving Hadi.
I searched for the best double electric pump, ordered it, and on the seventh day (postpartum) I brought my baby boy home. My alarm was set every 2.5 hours to begin a pumping session. It seemed as if I had no milk. I felt I was wasting time, especially at night, but I kept on going. My nipples were sore, but I kept on going, doing skin-to-skin contact and trying to breastfeed.
Two weeks passed, and I started to see significant amounts of milk. I was more than happy and hoped to exclusively breastfeed. Then my baby and I both had thrush. I also was “welcomed” to the world of mastitis. The pain was unbearable. My chest was throbbing in pain; however, I didn’t give up**. My mastitis was treated, and I returned to pumping. My cracked nipples weren’t healed yet and actually got worse. I was in such severe pain that I wished I could give birth 20 times instead**!
Two weeks later, though, I was feeling fine and started to exclusively breastfeed. However, a week later, I had a blocked milk duct. If you’ve ever had one you know the pain**. Yet each time I held my little boy and realized how healthy he looked and that it was all because of my milk. I kept going. This pain was nothing. I would do anything for him. I spent two months of my maternity leave fighting to breastfeed, staying up at night, sleep deprived.
I kept on fighting. I wanted to give my baby the best I could offer, and that’s breast milk. When the umbilical cord is clamped, and your baby is disconnected from your body, it doesn’t mean he’s actually separated. When he latched for the first time, I felt that my body was helplessly searching for the baby that it had been creating for nine months and by breastfeeding my body found the baby.
I felt my baby blues fade away. I felt pure love. When your little baby moves his head right and left with his eyes closed, only using your scent to find the nipple, that means he came into the world waiting to breastfeed. I kept on fighting to breastfeed, so I could stare into his deep loving eyes and see that the world could fit into his eyes, to feel him speaking through his eyes, pausing, unlatching, giving me a smile then latching again.
It is our secret language. I eagerly wait for him to get hungry. Time stands still when you breastfeed. You actually forget about all the stressful surroundings and enjoy a peaceful moment with your baby.
To every struggling mother, keep on trying to breastfeed. Don’t let the voices around you bother you. Your milk is the right thing to offer your baby. Seek help. Don’t do it alone. When possible, offer help and support to another breastfeeding mother. Be bold, be proud, and breastfeed!
**Editor’s Note: Breastfeeding may cause some discomfort in the beginning. If you are experiencing ongoing pain or other difficulties while breastfeeding, please consider seeking help from a La Leche League Leader or a lactation consultant. You can locate the nearest LLL Leader or Group here.
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