All of my babies have been great nursers. I had never known what it was like to have to worry about the baby getting enough milk...until now.
Emelyn developed a pretty severe case of jaundice last week. The doctor said her bilirubin levels were almost high enough to warrant hospitalization. We had to put her on photo therapy for 48 hours, checking her temperature every 15 minutes and turning her every 2 hours.
The jaundice made her so lethargic that she would hardly wake up enough to nurse. When she did wake up, she would squirm and scream and begin nursing only to pull away several times before falling back to sleep.
Of course, this made me a nervous wreck! I knew that she needed nourishment, but she wasn't getting it. I couldn't seem to give her what she needed. I finally got out the formula samples the hospital gave us and got her to take some of that. It broke my heart to think that I could not nurse my baby.
Instead of just giving up, though, I emailed a few friends that I knew had nursed several babies, even some who didn't take to it right away. Those friends, Holly, Kara, and Karla, along with my very sweet husband gave me the encouragement I needed to stick it out. They each gave me some ideas that had worked for them, but none of them told me the One Magic Answer that made everything better. What they did was encourage me to be patient, keep trying, give it time, don't give up, "I'm praying for you."
That encouragement is exactly what I needed at a time when I was just about ready to give up. I didn't, thanks to the comforting words of my friends, and now the nursing is going great! Little Emelyn is finally coming out of her jaundice and waking up a bit more. She is nursing very well, just like all of my other children did.
The moral of this story is: If you need encouragement, don't be afraid to ask for it. Ask your real life friends and your bloggy friends. I am so thankful for the friends who were there to encourage me during a tough time.
On the other hand, if you have some encouragement to give, give it freely. You never know when a kind word will make all the difference to someone.
(I also found La Leche League International to be a very helpful sight for addressing some of my nursing dilemmas.)