My first lesson of motherhood was the need to adapt. This lesson started in the hospital, when I tried to breast feed my son. Working with a La Leche coach, I tried every technique possible to get my son to latch on. He refused. In fact, he would push me away and scream, whenever I would try to breast feed him. It was nothing short of ugly. He was crying and by the end of the coaching session I was crying. Nothing I did seemed to work.
He was five pounds and very hungry, needing to feed frequently. Because he was crazed and weak from hunger, he did not have the strength to feed from the breast. When it was clear that he was not going to latch on and he was continuing to lose weight, I had to make a choice. I had to pump and feed him breast milk from a bottle, or give him formula. I did not want to feed him formula, so I rented a pump from the hospital.
By changing the plan, I was able to feed my son breast milk, while allowing him to gain the necessary weight to be healthy. Once I stopped fighting and trying to make him latch on, he became very peaceful. He would curl up in my arms and purr as he fed from his bottle. Breastfeeding transformed from a battle to a bonding experience, because I let go of my expectations and listened to my son’s needs.