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Stephanie

My name is Stephanie, and I am writing this one-handed. With the other I am nursing my eight month old son, Felix. I read all the mothers' stories on this website time and time again, during my pregnancy, wondering if I could breastfeed three years after a breast reduction.
 
I have two older children, and fully learned from them the joys of breastfeeding, and the sense of fullfillment doing so exclusively.  I had assumed I would have no more children at the time of reduction, but nature had other intentions.
 
I had planned a home birth, but had complications and delivered Felix in the hospital.  Though not what I had expected, the birth was another wonderful experience and I was so happy to finally hold my baby, and put him to the breast - and the test!
 
Long story short, he didn't pee for days.  I was not to be released until he did. The nurses urged me to give him a little water [Editor's Note: this is not medically appropriate per AAP guidelines], which I did, and he peed almost immediately.  Of course, I worried that I had no milk.  My colostrum was very watery looking, but a lactation consultant told me not to worry - just keep trying.  She was very encouraging and mentioned to me that many mothers have nursed following reduction, and that this is the way we were meant to feed our children, and that things sort of "re-wire" to support this relationship.
 
Felix did not gain well for the first month.  I bought a scale, so I could weigh him every day, sometimes twice.  I nursed constantly and tried to pump, with electric pumps, to no avail.

My husband was so supportive and understanding of my drive to nurse, and my fear that I wouldn't be able to.  He purchased a supplemental feeder that saved my sanity, and helped my son to gain.  It took longer for my milk to come in than with my other two, but it finally did.  I believe that the supplemental nurser helped me to relax so that my milk could come in.  I stopped the supplements at about four months. My milk has been plentiful ever since.    

Advice to other mothers: BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN DO IT! Nursing is such a wonderful experience.  I still do not nurse Felix exclusively.  I give him a bottle or two a day.

This is not how I imagined things to be, but here is more advice: LET GO OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF HOW THINGS SHOULD BE.  We must be flxible in our approach to mothering.  I have learned to let go of a lot of the motherhood ideal.  Yes, I wanted a homebirth, and to nurse exclusively and for my baby to never cry or want for anything, but what I have learned is that motherhood is instinctual.  The beauty of motherhood is that we were born to do this.  Our bodies are made for it - even if we fiddle with them a bit, and our intuitions help us along. 

All we have to do is listen.

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