Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer Blog

From breastfeeding to being diagnosed with breast cancer and then back to breastfeeding. This is an account of my experiences.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coming Full Circle and Nursing Again

Breast cancer influenced my nursing timeline three years ago.  Having the opportunity to nurse a new baby has lessened the sadness surrounding that weaning.  Nursing was always such a large part of mothering for me.  Breastfeeding is more than food;  it is warmth, comfort, reassurance, love, and more.

As a new baby, she didn't realize that she can’t nurse on both sides.  She would try to latch onto anything and often would try to nurse though my shirt on whichever side I held her.  I am conscious that I only nurse her on one side and try to hold her and have her sleep on my other side occasionally.

I am fairly protective of my remaining breast.  Because I only have one, I had concerns about not being able to switch sides during a big growth spurt or even with sore nipples.  For the most part breastfeeding on one breast has been an easy task.  It is interesting to never need to switch sides and never wonder which breast I used last.

Chiropractic care has helped us both stay more even with the one-sidedness.  Having a sore nipple is unique in that I can't know if it's occurring on both sides or not as there's only one.  This is especially true for soreness due to hormonal changes.  With two nipples, there is confirmation that the soreness is "normal" and on both sides.  Probably the biggest challenge was developing mastitis at six months. It was rough and nursing through it was the best option.  It certainly would have been nice to have two breasts then!

Through my volunteering as a lactation counselor and my personal experience of nursing two other children, I know that breastfeeding is all about supply and demand.  I have seen twins nurse successfully.  I know nursing on one breast is possible, but seeing it is amazing.  I marvel that my body works so well and my baby thrives on just my milk.

As my baby turns into a toddler, I love that nursing is still a part of our lives.  I see how important it is to her.  She knows there's only one breast and nipple and it's just fine with her.

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