Thursday, May 28, 2009

"My whole heart is in that incubator"

The Motherwear Breastfeeding blog recently featured a fantastic guest post by a woman whose son was born 3 months early and weighed less than 3 pounds. She writes about how breastfeeding was her and her son's lifeline. Here is an excerpt from her post, My whole heart is in that incubator:
I was 37 years old. I thought I knew what love was. I thought I knew. But I have never loved anyone, anything, so fiercely, so terribly, so wonderfully, so achingly, as I did my little son, my only child, struggling in that incubator....

I loved and still love that boy with all I have. Because I couldn't hold him much, and felt terrible guilt for not being able to 'hold him in' for the entire 9 months he deserved, I was determined to breastfeed. I pumped every 3 hours for weeks on end. That pump and the milk that came out of me was my lifeline. It was somehow the way I was going to make it up to him for giving him such a lousy start in this world. So when I read stuff like "The Case against Breastfeeding" I get so angry. I believe that my breastmilk, and the good care we got at BC Children's, saved my child's life. It saved my life. If there is anything in this crazy, crazy world that is really is a gift from God it is the babies we can create and the milk that comes from our bodies.

If anything is pure and natural, and real and true, it's breastmilk. It made me feel like a mother when my baby was all alone inside a machine when he should have been inside me.

Anyone who dismisses breastfeeding so casually, or by their attitude or indifference creates an environment that doesn't hold up and encourage and cheerlead a new mom into a successful breastfeeding relationship, has lost touch with something. They've lost touch with a sense of what it means to be a mother, what feeding a baby is all about, what it means to nurture, how significant that breastfeeding can be to both mother and child.


  1. ohh, i like this post, especially
    "If there is anything in this crazy, crazy world that is really is a gift from God it is the babies we can create and the milk that comes from our bodies" . lovely

  2. What a beautiful post, even though my son wasn't born early I felt I could relate to the intense love and protection she felt for her child. It really suprised me how much I love my little boy-- I wasn't expecting it at all. Your blog is wonderful, keep up the good work.

  3. I love this post. My daughter was early and was in an incubator for a week. I felt the same way as this woman. They had to throw away half of what I pumped because they refrigerated it and didn't freeze it, and I was so mad they didn't tell me.

    Thank you for posting this. It was amazing.

  4. I could have written this post myself. My second baby was born 7 weeks too early and was in the NICU three weeks. My third baby was born 9 weeks too early and is currently in the NICU right now and has been for nearly 6 weeks. pumping and now breastfeeding is what has helped me to bond with him even when I couldn't hold him much or for very long and other people were his primary carers. Getting up to pump every 2-3 hours is something you do purely out of a love so strong and pure you can only have for a new little person!

  5. I'm thankful that the NICU I work at promotes breastfeeding so well, and uses donor breastmilk as well. Almost all of the babies receive donor milk if the mother's supply is not full yet. I'm grateful of the women that donated their time and milk when I prepare it for the babies.

  6. A beautiful, resonant post, which says in a few short paragraphs everything I want the world to know about breastfeeding.

  7. this is so beautiful. It also speaks to just how precious a mama's milk truly is....

    It is SO important not to waste a single drop of milk. After losing Birdie, my breasts ached and spilled forth her milk. She was not there to take forth that milk into her body...

    I wish that I could convince all the mama's I know, and meet just how blessed they are to have the opportunity to nurse their babies right from the start, to encourage them not to give up. It's so hard to not judge and feel SO sad when I hear of a mama that has given up...

    Rixa, I hope it's cool with you, but I re-posted this post on my blog!


  8. beautifully said, I'm welling up right now :')

  9. Erin, I'm glad you linked to it! It's such a wonderful post and probably the best reply I've seen yet to that article.

  10. I would like to add that some mothers of NICU babies have a difficult time with their milk coming in. If you're one of these mamas, please know that there are Milk Banks, to which you can get a prescription to provide precious breast milk for your little one in the NICU until your supply comes in. And mamas with healthy babies and oversupply, please consider being a milk donor - you could save a critically ill baby's life! I posted about my experience as a milk donor (one of the most blessed experiences of my life) over at the breastfeedingexperience. (I recommend this site for breastfeeding moms - it's new and takes volunteer stories from moms about breastfeeding to spread the word and share knowledge!)

    -(another) erin


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