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Win Big in Our "Blog About Breastfeeding" Event!

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

To celebrate International Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1-7) Mothering is holding a very special event to encourage moms to blog and talk about breastfeeding! Post your nursing story on this thread or on your own blog to take part and be entered to win!

 

To Participate:

 

1. Write about breastfeeding on your own blog and we'll share it on Mothering AND you'll be entered to win some great prizes. Get all of the details here. Don't have a blog? Post your nursing story, words of wisdom, tips, pics or humor right here on this thread instead. Your entry can be as long or short as you like.

 

2. Once you post to your own blog or on this thread, head over to the event page and comment to enter to win the prizes. We're giving away 9 great items, including Baby K'Tan CarriersMoon Rabbit Teas and Barefoot Books

 

Looking forward to reading your stories! 

 

Note: To take part you will need to be a logged-in member of Mothering.com. It only takes a minute to set up a new account or connect your facebook profile to the site! You can do that by hitting the "reply" button on any post or by going here.

post #2 of 32

Fourteen days from now, I’ll be breastfeeding a four year old. I never, in my life, imagined I would be breastfeeding a four year old.

 

Before I became pregnant with my Son, I watched a documentary about a woman in the UK who breastfed her two daughters ages five and eight.

 

While I thought it was really sweet and absolutely loved the way her children talked about their feelings about breastfeeding, (they even drew loving pictures) I thought it was Extreme and, sadly, kind of creepy.

 

Without knowing any better, without the gift of experience, I thought and said: “I’m NEVER going to breastfeed My Child for That long!”

 

In August of 2009, I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby boy and within his first hour of life, I was able to breastfeed him:

 

(I'm pretty sure I was doing a gazillion things wrong for my first time so, please don't be mean to me but, I'm all about being a teaching opportunity.)

 

I had read all the books, online articles and heard all the advice and, I’ll tell you that none of my research prepared me for the personal experience of breastfeeding because no matter what, it’s still a kind of strange to breastfeed, for the first time.

 

I had one visit with the Lactation Consultant while we were in the Hospital. She taught me the football hold, something I had read about, had seen in the class I took but, had failed to remember in the hours after my Son was born. It was so simple, I could have kicked myself for not remembering but, my LC gave me more than just a “hold” to use, she gave me confidence.

 

I spent the rest of the duration in the hospital breastfeeding without complication and even got a priceless gem of advice from a veteran, breastfeeding Mom: “Feed your baby on Demand. Don’t feed on schedule.”

 

Simple yet, amazing advice and it made a Huge difference to me, surprisingly so since I had read so much. I hadn’t really been dedicated to filling out the charts for diaper changes and feeds, provided by the hospital, anyway. I was pretty keen on diaper changes but, feeds? Well, I guess that was intuition on my part.

 

I wish I had listened to my intuition more because, when I was finally home with my Son, all my confidence for breastfeeding seemed to have leaked out of my brain.

 

(My nipple was in the midst of ruination by the time this picture was taken.)

 

I was engorged and confused. Not confused about breastfeeding but, confused about how many feelings I was having about being home and those feelings had repercussions.

 

A week or two after our discharge from the hospital, I had developed a small tear on one of my nipples. I wrote, “small” because, in the grand scheme of tears, it was small but, it Felt Large.

 

 

(It's four years since The "Injury" but, it's there. If I were good enough with photo shopping on the internets, i'd outline the scar for you but, I'm not so, just squint for me, OK?)

 

I would crimp my toes and suck in breaths while my Son latched on the nipple that was wounded.  I had called the LC at the hospital, she talked me through the same old steps and told me to come back if I was still having trouble but, I let my pride keep me from going. My pride caused suffering but, I was determined.

 

I read of ways to heal my nipple, mostly with prescription medication but, I was worried about the side effects so, I alternated pumping and nursing and did a whole lot of air drying after nursing, (complete with a milk glaze) for natural healing.

 

A month later, the tear in my nipple healed but, it continued to cause me pain for about a month longer.

To this day, I have a crescent shaped scar on that nipple. I don’t put much stock in my stretch marks since I had them before my son was born but, whenever I look at that scar on my nipple, my heart is filled with so much love and pride. I didn’t have to suffer, I could have done many things to prevent and heal my wound but, that is the past and I did what I did and I can’t take it back and I wouldn’t, anyway.

 

I’ll always have a personal, visual reminder of breastfeeding my Son but, I have more than that.

 

How my breasts dripped, like horribly leaky faucets, every time I got out of the shower for the first two months and how happy I felt when they no longer did.

 

Pumping without feeling like a dairy cow and, with fascination, watching the vials fill up with milk that my body produced. Ounces of liquid gold!!!

 

Inexpensive, comfortable nursing bras and shirts that weren’t nursing specific, (a feat for Double D's and beyond).

 

Feeling overwhelmed in social situations, knowing my Son was feeling over stimulated and being able to say, “It’s time for baby to feed” and having everyone stop what they were saying and totally be compliant while I carried my sling wrapped baby into a dark room for at least a half hour of quiet bonding. BLISS!

(Baby says: I just want to nurse!!! It's not you, Grandma and Grandpa! I swear!)

 

 

I will always remember how, near my Son’s first birthday, I read an article about how there is no magic wand that waves over babies that says, “Hey! You’re One year old! It’s time to stop nursing”. I wish I could remember the source because it gave me a lot of confidence and support.

(I ended up using this cover this once. It was a pain. Just like all the covers I ever attempted to use.)

 

 

(I've breastfed my Son in this sling, several times, twice in Ikea and every time? No one the wiser.)

 

I will always remember how, after my Son fell ill with Salmonella poisoning at thirteen months old, I was able to still breastfeed him. I’m beyond grateful that I could because my Son didn’t want anything else but his, “mum-mum”. That goes for just about every other time my Son was sick or, wanted comfort from an injury.

 

Before I had my Son, I considered myself a strong, calm person in a crisis. After the birth of my Son? When something happens to my Son that is Major, it's out of my personal knowlege to heal? I feel like a caged lioness, pacing in confinment, keening and low growling for my cub. I know better than to shake down anyone on the medical staff for answers, (though sometimes it's HARD not to) so, I do what I can and sometimes that has only been breastfeeding. My milk has been medicine. My arms a place to rest and relax and heal. Touch, heartbeat, smell, sound...there can be a hurricane around us and, thanks to breastfeeding, we've always been in the eye of the storm. It's still scary but, a whole lot less scarier.

(Right before being hospitalized for Salmonella Poisioning. No, I have no idea how he got it. Yes, that bothers me. I have learned to let it go, to a point...)

 

(Mom's still good for nursies for colds.)

 

GYMNURSTICS:

 http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Gymnurstics

-and-

http://thelaotiancommotion.com/2012/11/08/breastfeeding-toddler-positions-the-cliffhanger/

 

Giggles at the breast, they only get better with age.

 

Watching your child grow, feeling your heart stretch with joy and ache and pride and then the sweetness of your child running to your arms and snuggling into you for milk.

(Like the first time your child figures out how to get out of the stroller and then runs off while you're looking at inexpensive summer footwear in CVS. At least I knew exactly where he was headed, The Cars, of course. He nursed when we got home.)

 

I look back on this journey my Son and I have made and I’m so grateful that I was able to breastfeed my Son without complication. As many times as I have wanted to wean, I’m glad that I have not because there has always seemed to be a reason when it was the only thing I could offer when we were both aching and scared. 

 

 

That’s really it, isn’t it? Breastfeeding is so much more than milk from a breast and the health benefits a Mother and child receive. Breastfeeding is a time and place for your child to curl up and rest. Breastfeeding is play and joy. Breastfeeding is work and challenge and, sometimes, pain. Breastfeeding is learning, discovery, amazement, joy, comfort, pain and, most of all? Love.

 

I don’t know one breastfeeding Mother who has ever said, “I wish I hadn’t breastfed”.

 

And to the UK Mom? Thank you for being such a wonderful, loving Mom. You have really wonderful children and I'm so glad that you and your daughters know what is happy and best for your family. I'm sorry I judged you.

 

post #3 of 32
Tandem nursing was probably one of my greastest accidental choices I have ever made. I didn't intend to tandem nurse, nor did I intend to not. I ended up with a first child who LOVED her milk and nursed her throughout my pregnancy with my second child.

One of my sweetest memories is the morning after my son was born. We brought him home from the birthing center to meet his big sister just 8 hours after he was born. Within thirty minutes, we were all snuggled up nursing together, her hand on this tiny head.

I feared she would be jealous of having to share her time with me and our time nursing, but it was never an issue. In fact, I got a lot more lying -down time in because they would both nurse together and we would often all fall asleep together.

My milk came in within 24 hours of the birth the second time around. Big sis knew how to prime the pump! That meant my newborn slept longer stretches, faster.

It wasn't all sunshine and roses. Its exhausting making all of that milk and I felt a huge weight lift when it was over, but it worked for us, especially in the beginning.

Now 4 and 6 years old they have an amazing, close relationship, have fun together, still sleep together and take care of each other in new situations. I can only wonder how much of that beautiful relationship was forged at the breast.
post #4 of 32

When I was pregnant with my daughter I KNEW I was going to breastfeed her.  It wasn't a thought or question in my mind.  We had a wonderful nursing relationship until just shy of her 1st birthday.  She totally was an on the go baby and just slowing stopped nursing and I was a little sad that she didn't officially get the 1 year mark.  I got pregnant shortly after that with my son.  My goal was 1 year.....well in 11 short days will will be going on 2 years of breastfeeding and its amazing!  Nursing a toddler is so different and so rewarding.  I can say proudly that the only milk he has had is mine.  I have nursed him everywhere, from local stores to amusement parks and even on some rides! 

I found some amazing local and far away mommas because of my nursing relationship with my children and they have become very good friends that I would not have had if not for this bond. 

post #5 of 32
post #6 of 32

http://summerplayshouse.com/2013/08/01/a-breastfeeding-story/

 

Here is my breastfeeding blog post! Thanks for a fantastic opportunity! 

post #7 of 32

Lactancia (Julio 3, 2011)

Hace un par de días Paula cumplió 25 meses. Dos años y un mes se fueron en un parpadeo. Y no, al mismo tiempo. Esa velocidad y lentitud del tiempo es un misterio que nos envuelve a Juan José y a mí (y al resto de las familias) todos los días. Y en ese ir y venir de los días me he hecho tantas veces el propósito de escribir la historia de nuestra lactancia. Tantas veces. Y, sin embargo, como con tantas otras cosas, lo he dejado pasar, convencida de tener tanto futuro, tantas otras oportunidades para escribirla... Y sin embargo, como siempre, la vida toma su curso sin miramientos a nuestras expectativas. Y así, hace tan sólo un segundo, es decir, hace un poco más de tres días, sin aviso alguno, sin explicación, sin rituales ni despedidas, Paula dejó de pedir y de aceptar el pecho. Así que aquí estoy sentada escribiendo en este momento incierto, mientras nuestra relación de lactancia está en el aire. Tengo sólo este momento. No hay futuro. Si voy a contar la historia de nuestra lactancia, si voy a intentar conservar, transmitir y explicar los retos, las emociones, los aprendizajes de estos días y noches, tengo sólo este segundo. Las memorias ya empiezan a diluirse en el tiempo. Y por allá lejos, separada de mi regazo y de mi pecho, juega una bebé ya convertida en niña que tal vez no mirará para atrás...

 

Empezaré diciendo que nuestra historia de lactancia ha sido, sin duda, uno de los viajes más enriquecedores, una experiencia de autoconocimiento, de reconciliación (con lo que es, con lo que no pudo ser, con lo que no fue, con el pasado). Nuestra historia de lactancia ha sido sanadora, aleccionadora, iluminadora. Pero sobre todo, quiero tratar de describir lo indescriptible: nuestra historia de lactancia ha estado llena de infinitos momentos de intimidad y amor absoluto entre Paula y yo. Cada vez más íntimos y más amorosos con el paso del tiempo...

 

Paula nació el 1 de Junio de 2009 por cesárea de emergencia casi a las 8 de la noche, muchas muchas horas de angustia y miedo después de un embarazo incierto, una inducción fallida y una anestesia mal colocada. Los problemas empezaron inmediatamente. En el ambiente hostil de un hospital de enseñanza con protocolos inflexibles e irreflexivos una enfermera me puso a Paula en los brazos en la sala de recuperación con un ultimatum de 5 minutos. O Paula se agarraba del pecho ahí mismo en su vista, o se la llevaba para darle biberón, argumentando necesidad médica en una interpretación irreflexiva de las reglas y el protocolo. Después de tan terrible declaración, en la soledad de ese cuarto de recuperación, mi corazón y mi cuerpo adoloridos, anestesiados y todavía tan atemorizados fallaron en el intento. A ese momento le siguieron días y noches de complicaciones por la cesárea y la anestesia que me postraron en la cama, de falta de apoyo de los profesionales médicos y de malos consejos de una consultora de lactancia que asistía a su trabajo más burócrata que humana, combinados con mi inseguridad creciente y mi resignación de que, aunque lejos del pecho, tenía finalmente a mi hija viva y sana en mis brazos. Así que en aquellos primeros días Paula tomaba botellas de fórmula mientras yo decifraba desde mi cama de hospital pezoneras, tiraleches, y posiciones para cargarla con la esperanza de regresarla a mí, de traerla al pecho, de sentirla cerca.

 

Y esos días se convirtieron rápido en largas— interminables— semanas de llanto de Paula y mío. Y la mayor parte del tiempo se me iba enchufada a un tiraleche eléctrico mientras Juan José o mi mamá cargaban y consolaban a Paula. Y la angustia de no tener suficiente leche. Y las mamilas, qué lata las mamilas. Y tan triste y desesperante que Paula llorara más en mis brazos con el olor de la leche que yo no sabía cómo ofrecerle. Y los bien y mal intencionados consejos de que ya lo dejara por la paz, de que no todas las mujeres están hechas para amamantar a sus bebés, de que yo sería mejor madre si dejara de sufrir y me concentrara en Paula...Dejé casi de cargarla. Le tenía miedo de alguna forma. Le tenía miedo a nuestra relación, al hueco que se había abierto entre nosotras. Esos primeros días me sentía invisible, reemplazable, completamente prescindible. Algunas veces era mi fracaso. Pero otras tantas veces también era casi coraje hacia Paula porque en su llanto yo interpretaba rechazo. Pero seguía ahí esa convicción, esa necesidad. No había nada más importante ni grande ni esencial en el mundo que traerla a mí. Que tomar mi lugar. Que aprender a disfrutar de la experiencia de ser madre de mi hermosa hija, tan pequeña, tan fuerte, tan grande, tan vulnerable. Y me agarré de ahí—de la nece(si)dad— y me embarqué de corazón y fui cambiando y ajustando mis expectativas y mis metas. Primero, sustituir la fórmula por mi leche. Después darle de mi leche por lo menos tres meses y ya entrados en eso, mejor seis. Pero pocas esperanzas me quedaban de llevar a Paula al pecho. Los intentos siempre terminaban mal y en mucho dolor. A veces pasaba una semana completa entre cada intento. Pero el dolor físico no era más grande que la tristeza de sentirme tan lejos de ella.

 

Finalmente, tres meses y medio, cuatro consultoras de lactancia y miles de horas de videos, libros educativos y toda clase de información en el internet después, me decidí a tirar las mamilas y a ponerme a Paula en el pecho a cada oportunidad como una cuestión de vida o muerte. Y tuve suerte y Paula se embarcó conmigo y sobrevivimos. Sobrevivimos el dolor, los malos hábitos, las dudas, las huelgas al pecho, la dentición, los desvelos y todo lo demás. Y llegamos a los seis meses y luego al año y ya todo aquello era un recuerdo. Y nos llenamos de momentos idílicos de conocernos y re-conocernos. Y yo me llené de orgullo y satisfacción. Y encontré por fin mi lugar en nuestra relación y (con perdón de las feministas y de mi propia fibra feminista) también encontré mi lugar en este mundo. Y descubrí la belleza de la lactancia extendida cuando nuestra relación de lactancia floreció en el segundo año. Y me sentí infinitamente agradecida y afortunada.

 

Cada momento en el pecho ha sido un momento precioso. De juegos, susurros, canciones, complicidad. Manos regordetas que exploran. Miradas. Los ritmos de nuestras respiraciones que se sincronizan. Los momentos en el pecho durante ese segundo año fueron rejuvenecedores, tranquilos, pacíficos. Y lo mejor: la risa y la sonrisa de Paula en el pecho. Hay pocas cosas tan hermosas, simples y verdaderas. En el segundo año de lactancia aprendimos también a dormirnos juntas. Y después también aprendí yo a escabullirme del abrazo en los momentos en los que el trabajo era inaplazable. Y así como en los primeros tres meses cargué (y usé) el tiraleches por todas partes, incluidos baños de aeropuertos y casas ajenas, en los meses que les siguieron Paula y yo hemos amamantado en todas partes. Ella y yo y Juan José a nuestro lado y ha habido pocas otras cosas que necesitáramos. Nunca antes me sentí tan completa, tan independiente y tan poderosa. Por supuesto que en estos dos años también hubo muchos momentos de frustración, de duda y de cansancio. Me enfrenté varias veces con el temor de que la lactancia se extendiera infinitamente. Me resigné a estar disponible todo el tiempo, todos los días y noches. La mayoría de los días lo acepté gustosa pero hubo otros tantos que desee tanto delegar, tomar un descanso, irme lejos, por un día aunque sea. Pero justo hace un par de semanas despareció por completo el conflicto en mi corazón y me alegré y me emocioné mirando hacia adelante. Y en esa plenitud me dejé ir. Cerré los ojos y proyecté en mi mente finales idílicos. Deseando que nuestra lactancia se extendiera aún más. Me ilusionó la posibilidad de descubrir qué caminos tomaría nuestra relación de lactancia en el tercer año. Me ilusionó sobre todo escuchar a Paula hablando de nuestros momentos juntas y saber que iba a poder recordar estos años conmigo. Me tranquilizó saber que gradualmente las dos ibamos a buscar menos esa cercanía y encontraríamos poco a poco tantas otras maneras de estar juntas.

 

Y, sin embargo, en un giro de esos que tiene la vida, hace unas cuantas noches Paula se fue a dormir como siempre lo hacía, en el pecho, con su cuerpo acurrucado al mío, con su piel y su olor de bebé, su cabello fino y sus largas pestañas. Y se despertó otra. Niña hermosa. Con tanta determinación en su mirada. Y sin miramientos, en un segundo, Paula hizo a un lado nuestros momentos juntas y se entregó al juego, a la exploración, a la conversación, al mundo. Y aquí he estado desde entonces, tratando de ajustar el paso. Dudando entre permanecer y esperarla por si cambia de opinión o yo también despertar otra y buscar mi nuevo lugar. Y otra vez como en esos primeros días me siento perdida, invisible, reemplazable y tan tan lejos de mi niña hermosa. Pero también en el fondo de mi corazón está la convicción, la certeza, de que sobreviviremos a esto juntas. De que habrá más momentos idílicos, íntimos, de complicidad. No sé si Paula recordará algo de nuestra relación de lactancia. Pero yo sí que lo haré. Está para siempre tatuada en mí, como la más dulce de las cicatrices. Y habré también de buscar y encontrar otra vez mi lugar en nuestra relación y mi lugar en el mundo. Múltiples veces, me imagino.

 

Esto es sólo el principio, pero también sólo hay aquí y ahora, este abrazo, esta conversación, este segundo en el tiempo.

post #8 of 32

I write this on the first day of the rainy august month , which also marks the start of the breastfeeding week this year. Its rainy yet sunny today in Hyderabad, and hence the spirits have lifted up.

 

This story will be part factual and part experiential and may be a useful read for new mums, and a trip down the memory lane for experienced mums.

 

Today morning , I see this nestle advert in the TOI with a smiling baby and a tagline “ Superbaby”: when breastfed, it shows. What it does for me is, take me down the memory lane to 25th December’2012. While people were getting merrier, celebrating the spirit of Christmas, I was taking my then 7 days old daughter to the hospital, due to severe dehydration.

 

Don’t stop reading if you feel this is a sad account of what happened then, because its not. This was just a trigger for me to start expressing my experience with breastfeeding my darling, who is now 7.5 months old. We are still going strong, yet the journey has had its own share of pricks and needles.

 

Lack of proper lactation counseling, and my ignorance ( absolutely no reading on breastfeeding) led my daughter to a case of extreme dehydration within one week of birth. She was in the hospital for a week, within which I read up all I could, and was counseled by all who could.

 

I learnt to express, to feed in 7 different positions due to my baby’s illhealth, and most importantly I learnt the positive impact of a rested emotional state on our physiology.

While I struggled with a low milk supply , and a dehydrated baby who was being top fed to restore her back to health, one thing which kept me going was my resolution to breastfeed my baby.

 

While there were many around me loosing hope that I will ever be able to breastfeed, especially after this debacle, there were the godsend nurses , and my hubby who kept me going and pushed me to keep expressing. The saying” boond boond se heen sagar banta hain” was so apt in my case, and this resolve helped me to keep pushing all mental/emotional/physical barriers and continue with my efforts to express.

 

I am proud to share that now ar 7.5 months old, my baby is completely breastfed along with her solids intake ( barring an occasional top feed, when we step out for longer hours). The joy of seeing a satiated smile on your baby’s face, after she is fed, is priceless, and makes my resolve to continue BF becomes stronger and stronger.

 

I work from home, and hence she does take BM expressed in a bottle 2-3 times a day, when I need to step into virtual meetings for work.

 

My closing thoughts :

 

  • Most of the limits/boundaries we lay are self made, and if we push them the sky is just limitless, so don’t loose hope and keep trying.
  • Its essential to have a GOAL, so that one can always remind oneself on that, if faltering ( in my case my GOAL was to breastfeed my baby)

 

A year back on the same day and date, if someone would ask me “ what is satisfaction to me”, I would probably have had the classic troll and say work life balance, good family, good health etc etc. But now, in real and deep terms, SATISFACTION to me is “ When I see my doll well fed, healthy, with her toothless grin, thanking me with her eyes for a stomach fully fed, and a job well done  !!

post #9 of 32

From the moment my husband and I decided to try to conceive, I was adamant that I would try to breastfeed my child.  In the 9 months leading up to finally meeting my daughter, I heard all sorts of horror stories about how painful breastfeeding is, how the engorgement is awful, how the baby was so hungry all the time and basically, how futile it would be.  I tried not to let it get me down, I was still pretty adamant about at least trying.

 

I wasn't fully prepared to find how difficult it was at first.  The doula at the birthing class had mentioned that babies need to be taught how to latch, but I'm a more 'hands on' learner, so I asked almost every single nurse in the L&D unit and the postpartum unit for tips and pointers.  I kind of just tried everything.

 

It was also an awful feeling for the first few days when my baby was only getting the colostrum.  I thought she was starving, she was crying all the time and nursing pretty much nonstop.  My nipples hurt and I was beyond exhausted.

 

Then my milk came in...  holy engorgement.  We finally achieved a good latch, but now I was constantly worried about leaking.  I had to wear nursing pads because I had no indication when it would happen, but sometimes they weren't enough.  I remember visiting a friend who had a baby two weeks before me, she pointed out that I had leaked THROUGH the pad and was quickly soaking my shirt.  Talk about embarrassing, but she was very understanding.  Thankfully that leveled off by time my maternity leave ended.

 

Then, my pumping adventures began.  

 

I had pumped occasionally while on maternity leave, finding it helpful with morning engorgement and to build up a little stash for when she started daycare and any dates with the hubby.  That did not prepared me at all for pumping at work.  I am lucky enough that my work place supports pumping, but it wasn't an easy process.  I had to figure out a pumping schedule (otherwise I was prone to putting it off for too long), I lugged my pump to and fro work for a few weeks before buying the parts for the ones provided at work, I had to figure out storage and transporting the milk.

 

I ended up pumping 3 times a day, but still agonized over every little thing because my daughter ended up consuming more at daycare than I was pumping.  We quickly demolished my stash in the freezer.  I took Mother's Milk herbal supplements, drank the teas, cut out all potential foods that could affect my milk production and tried so hard not to stress myself out over it.  Sadly, by 4 months, it wasn't enough to help her gain weight.  I struggled with whether to supplement with formula or start solids earlier that I had wanted. After agonizing for 3 weeks, I made the hard decision to start her on solids.  I still wonder if that was the right choice, but she's happy and gaining, so I can't beat myself up too much over it.

 

From the start, I told myself that I would only breastfeed for the first 6 months, but here I am at nearly 8 months still going strong.  I have dropped a pumping session at work, but she stills nurses like a champ at home.  She loves her solids, but she loves her mommy time too.  I feel blessed that breastfeeding worked for me.  I know it's not always the case.  

 

I have a lot of coworkers and friends that are expecting.  I try to give them some realistic advice about breastfeeding:  It's not all rainbows and unicorns at first.  It's frustrating, hard, and often times quite painful.  Sometimes it doesn't work out, and that is ok too.  We shouldn't shame mother's for trying and not succeeding.  All that should matter is that their baby is happy and healthy.

post #10 of 32

here is a link to my post about breastfeeding my adopted daughter with special needs  http://prettypinkpeonies.blogspot.com/2013/08/adoptive-breastfeeding.html

 

 

Adoptive Breastfeeding

 
I have decided to share my story in honor of World Breastfeeding Week ( stick with me it will be long)

Adoptive breastfeeding is such a beautiful, bonding, heart healing experience for babies and mama's. It surprises me how many people don't know that its possible and by how many people still feel it's taboo or weird. So here is my confession. Scratch that declaration. I am proud and not ashamed I BREASTFEED MY ADOPTED BABY. 

It has been a journey that has required patience, love, creativity, and support (seriously without the people who have cheered me on we may not have succeeded).

If this is the first entry you have read on my blog here is a recap for you. My husband and I adopted our daughter from an orphanage in Eastern Europe and got home April of 2013. She was 9 months old and she has Down Syndrome. I knew there was a chance that breastfeeding may not happen for us. being 9 months old and used to formula and used to a bottle with a large hole. Plus having Down syndrome presented some unique what if's. Down Syndrome causes low muscle tone and larger tongues. We didn't know if her tongue would be strong enough so suck efficiently and transfer milk. Also having spent her life thus far in an orphanage and not having much human interaction, we didn't know if she would reject breastfeeding since it is an intimate act of trust and love. Neither of which she had known. My one advantage was that i was and still am breastfeeding my biological babe who is 2 months older than my adopted daughter. That meant i only had to increase my milk supply instead of having to induce lactation. (mama's who induce lactation are my hero's. Such hard work, though so worth it!)

So i started to do my research. There was some literature on adoptive breastfeeding and some very helpful online support groups bit it is unbelievably hard to find literature out there on breastfeeding babies with Down Syndrome. And impossible to find anything about breastfeeding an adopted child with Down Syndrome. I was lucky enough to find a group that is very small and confidential  full of mama's adopting or who had already adopted kids with special needs and breastfeeding. They were a God send. I also found a local IBCLC to help me out. We met before i left to get my daughter. We talked about the lack of info that matched my situation to use as precedent or for guidance and the potential challenges. She was so encouraging though and cheered me on and told me she believed in me and that even if breastfeeding didn't happen for us pumping was a great back up plan. So she helped me with pumping tips to increase my supply and during the months of paperwork i filled 3/4 of my chest freezer with my milk. I was confident in my supply i knew i could make enough to breastfeed my daughter too. the rest would depend on whether or not she could suck and transfer milk efficiently.

In the weeks i spent visiting my daughter at the orphanage bonding became my number one goal. I knew that she would need to feel close to me, safe with me, and loved by me for us to have any hope at breastfeeding. ( i thought it may be months home before she would latch and i was prepared for that but hoping it would happen sooner). During my visits i would give her massages, sing lullabies to her, wear her in my Ergo, and repeat mantra's to her ex: kind hands, soft touch, mama loves you, you are safe etc. when i would wear her i would wear a tank top that could be pushed down so that her face was against my bare skin so she could get used to the feel, smell, sound etc of me. When they let me feed her her bottle i would hold her in as close to a breastfeeding position as i could. I worked on eye contact and touch. Neither of which she was used to.

When gotcha day arrived i took her back to the apartment we were staying in and thought well here goes might as well try. I started by taking a warm bath with her. I washed her head to toe and cooed at her and sang to her and held her skin to skin. afterward I massaged her with lotion and then brought her to my breast.

To my amazement she latched on! She didn't stay on for more than a few seconds, but she had latched and suckled! We stayed like that for awhile and i let her try a few more times. Even though she didn't stay on long enough to make my milk flow, she had tried. It was a huge moment for us. If you have ever had a baby and can remember that hormone rush , that over the moon in love, mam bear protectiveness you feel when you first put your babe to your breast. Well it was exactly the same the first time my daughter latched on. It was amazing and so encouraging. I knew then that we definitely had a shot at making this work.

I pumped bottles for her and started out by alternating. One feeding of formula next feeding breast milk. She was starving and malnourished and i worried about re-feeding syndrome or making her belly hurt. After three days of that she refused the formula and would only take breast milk. By the 5th day i had her she had finally nursed long enough to make my milk let down and had emptied my breast. I couldn't believe it. she only breastfed the whole way home (36 hours of traveling and flying).

Once we got home it became a different story. She was getting frustrated at the breast and would cry and give up before the milk started to flow. Now that her tummy was filled and she wasn't worried about whether she would get another meal she was wanting instant gratification. So i started to use my freezer stash of pumped milk and bottle feed it to her. This went on for about 2 weeks . She had pretty much stopped nursing. i would try to nurse her but she would usually refuse.It was tough to keep trying and be rejected over and over. But I wasn't ready to give up yet. I called our IBCLC and got some advice from her and some encouragement. We decided to try an SNS (supplemental nursing system) like this http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/51/supplemental-nursing-system-sns . I hoped that i could put an ounce or two in it to give her the instant flow she wanted until my milk let down. Unfortunately she refused to latch on with SNS in place. Some children with Down Syndrome are more likely to have sensory issues or issues with textures in their mouth. My daughter hated the feel of that teeny tiny tube against her tongue. So we continued with bottle feedings.

At this point I decided to try breastfeeding her first thing in the morning when my breasts were over full and I decided getting her to tandem nurse with her brother was a top priority. He could do the work to get milk flowing for her if they nursed together plus while nursing two my milk would let down faster.I had tried to tandem nurse the two of them before and she wouldn't have it, it totally freaked her out. I'm guessing it had to do with trauma from the orphanage. I think she thought she would have to compete with him for food. I started by trying to work on their bond as brother and sister. I let him cuddle her and he would bring her little toys to show her. She had been afraid of the bath so I always bathed with her, now I brought Levi in too. I rigged up pillows and such so I could bottle fed her while nursing Levi so she could see they could eat at the same time and didn't have to compete. The morning nursing session went great. She would nurse when my breasts were over full so we had at least one feeding a day guaranteed to be at the breast.

After a few days she decided that tandem nursing was okay. Victory!! This did not totally solve our dilemma though because Levi also eats solid food and does not Breastfeed as often as she does. But we now had quite a few feedings a day at the breast. Next light bulb idea for me was hey why don't i just use my pump for the other feedings, just to get milk flowing and then latch her on. Genius. I don't know why i hadn't done this earlier. It worked like charm. I would use my double pump at first and latch her once flow had started. then I started pumping one breast while she nursed at the other breast in hopes she would learn that flow took a little time. Eventually she started to breast feed again without the pump and even when not tandem nursing with brother.

We are now almost 4 months home and have been bottle free since June 1st!! Every once in awhile i still have to get out the pump to help her. If she slept longer than usual so is very hungry, or if she has just finished therapy and is tired, or when we are in public she sometimes gets nervous etc She will still need a little help. But i am totally ok with that. And i am so proud that we worked through all that we did together as a team. Our bond is deep and she knew i was mommy very quickly. I feel i can credit a lot of that to our breastfeeding relationship. when we brought Stef home she was malnourished and underweight and had a gray color to her skin along with excema and terrible constipation. She has put on 5 pounds and is is glowing pink. Excema is completely gone. And she no longer has hard painful bowel movements. I know that those are all a credit to my breast milk.

There were moments i was ready to throw in the towel and just bottle feed. There was frustration and tears. But i am so glad we stuck it out and didn't give up. Breastfeeding was the right decision for us and is a special bond we share.

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post #11 of 32

It Hurts, It’s Hard, It Hurts........and Did I Mention it’s Incredible?

 

Okay, disclaimer! I’m neither a writer or a blogger. I am however a Mama and a darn proud one at that. There are very few instances in life where I feel compelled to write something that others will read. Breastfeeding is at the top of that short list. 

 

I’m a natural, vegan “health is my life” gal that could not have been more excited to nurse and experience the beautiful connection that my little ‘life bubble’ promoted so vigorously. I am a Huge supporter of breastfeeding. I’m also a pragmatic, sensible- control freak who usually does thorough research on any subject that interests me. Well, I guess I was busy checking all the safety ratings of car seats to do much homework on breastfeeding...woops!

 

Here’s the thing....almost every book and website begins with something along the lines of “breastfeeding doesn’t and shouldn’t hurt”.  Well, for some women it does. Period. AND the worst part is when it does hurt and you read literature and websites that claim it doesn’t or that you’re just doing it wrong. I realize that, in trying to support and promote a community of nursing mothers, we don’t want to scare people away with any “horror stories”. 

 

However, I say give Women the credit we deserve. We are smart and dynamic creatures capable of Everything. We deserve the information and full story so that we can educate ourselves and prepare for any possible challenges. I know that I would have been less stressed had I not been so ignorant about potential nursing complications and realities. I had already made the decision to nurse and wouldn’t have changed it no matter what I heard. I think there are a lot of women in this camp with me as well. 

 

So here it is...Breastfeeding HURTS! It didn’t just hurt the first day, first week, first month or first pumping session, first pinch, first case of mastitis, first plugged duct, first engorgement and so on. It hurt for A While. Both baby and mama needed to figure out how to latch, how long to nurse, when to nurse, and when to call the lactation consultant because we’re sobbing for the eleventh time that day. 

 

In our house we had a steady rotation of ice packs always ready at the go and various nipple creams hidden in any area where I might be nursing. I was topless so often that my husband thought perhaps I was auditioning for “Girls Gone Wild”. I would have to excuse, ahem... isolate myself...and babe when guests came to visit so that I could be topless in a perfectly situated chair to work out our ‘two-handed-squeeze my breast like a sandwich-wiggle fest’. In the 5 minutes of each hour that I wasn’t either nursing or pumping or washing said pumping equipment, I was crying in the shower and massaging my breasts and cracked nipples because 1). They were sore. and 2). I thought I was the Worst mom Ever for not being perfect at nursing. We were at the Doc and LC every other day to be weighed. Folks, this is a brief snapshot of our reality for the first 4 months. 

I would also say that NOT ONCE did I think about giving up or giving in and I’m not a strong self-disciplined person at all! I didn’t quit because it wasn’t about me. I was nursing for my little boy and his health and well-being. It was easy Not to quit frankly. I had already made the easy decision to nurse. What wasn’t easy was our reality of breastfeeding. 

 

What I wish I would have done: I would talk to other nursing mothers in depth about their experiences with breastfeeding and any complications therein. Pre-delivery I would establish a network of mamas to support each other. I would have a lactation consultant ready at the on-set that I could turn to and whose advice I could trust and rely on. One person and one track of trusted advice=sanity (I found the most incredible one ever and she saved our lives!). I would read my breastfeeding books before I gave birth (you don’t get a lot of time to read afterwards!). I would educate myself on complications and possible hiccups in nursing. I probably wouldn’t have been so traumatized and freaked out the first time I had issues! 

 

So here’s the good part. It was the best thing I have ever done. Even when it hurt-it was awesome. Even when he fell asleep on my breast for the 15th time that day-it was awesome. Even when I was sobbing from stress, fear and pain-it was awesome. It.was.just.awesome. I can’t put into words how amazing it was to watch my boy grow at my breast. How amazing it was to know that he needed me and my body for his survival, comfort, and care. How amazing it was to acknowledge that my body had a different purpose in life other than making me sad about not fitting in those pants that I love. How amazing it was to have spent so much time with my baby focused only on him. How amazing it was to have him blow bubbles on my breast and reach out for them when he was happy, scared, nervous, or tired. How simply amazing. 

 

post #12 of 32

Although my breastfeeding days are long gone (unless I become a grandma...who knows?) I'll always appreciate the support and inspiration Mothering Magazine gave me to tandem nurse my 2 youngest...it created an atmosphere of such love and togetherness that no sibling rivalry ever erupted. Thanks Mothering! These pics are from 1988.

 

which prevented any sibling rivalry from ever erupting

post #13 of 32

I breastfed my daughter until I was 3 months pregnant with my son, and have now started breastfeeding him. I've been fortunate in that it's come easily. My almost-2-year-old wants to be able to nurse newborn baby brother too. I told her she doesn't have "nursies" so she pulled up her shirt to show me she did... still convincing her that her's don't work yet. :)

post #14 of 32

I'm taking part in Mothering's "Blog about Breastfeeding" by writing about "Mama's Milk"

 

Nursing a toddler – it is something that, as a new mom, seems so far removed when you are struggling with latch issues, milk supply, and waking all night with a sweet little one who wants to cluster feed.  Many people in our society have only minimally experienced an infant nursing – let alone a nursing toddler.  However, there are so many benefits to nursing a toddler; in fact, the WHO recommends nursing for a minimum of 2 years. [1]

 

I have four boys – 8, 6, 4, and a new 2 month-old.  All three older boys of them nursed into toddler-hood, and my third son nursed until 3.  I’ve learned so much about toddler nursing and it has become something that I will always cherish.  My first and second sons self-weaned around 23 months each, when I was pregnant with their sibling.  My third nursed strong until 3 years.  It was my second and third sons that really taught me about nursing a toddler.  Both boys and I quickly realized that nursing is a relationship – it takes two people to do it, and especially with a toddler, it takes two people working together for it to succeed.  My second son loved to nurse – and, like a typical toddler, wanted to nurse when he wanted, how he wanted.  He was an acrobatic nurser, who liked to twist and turn, smile and talk to his big brother, and style my hair, all while he was latched on and nursing.  This was definitely not the same as nursing a snuggly little infant!  Throughout all of that, when we were snuggling up together in the evening, I would look down and see his sweet face, still a baby but moving towards a big boy, and remember why it was worth it.  Nursing has helped me mother and comfort my sons through surgeries and illnesses.  It was the one constant after surgery that both my second and third sons immediately needed, and in fact helped to keep my second son off of an IV because it kept him hydrated when he couldn’t tolerate anything else. 

Nursing a toddler is about so much - it continues to provide for them nutritionally, but equally important, it helps nurture their social and emotional development.  With my sons, it would help settle their emotions when they were upset; it helped to soothe their wildly fluctuating emotions of frustration, stress, and uncertainty in learning how the world works; it gave them a shot of energy through their active play; it helped them navigate the confusion and changes as they moved towards childhood.  It also continues to have nutritional benefits:   In the second year (12-23 months), 16 oz. of breast milk provides 29% of energy requirements, 43% of protein, 36% of calcium, 75% of vitamin A, 76% of folate, 94% of vitamin B12, and 60% of vitamin C requirements.[2]  I feel like I have gained so much by being able to provide “mama milk” for my boys as they have navigated the rocky waters of being a toddler boy.  Not only did it provide numerous benefits to them, but I got such joy in my life from being able to provide and make the world a gentler place for them for just a little longer.



[2] Dewey KG. Nutrition, Growth, and Complementary Feeding of the Breastfed Infant. Pediatric Clinics of North American. February 2001;48(1)

post #15 of 32

I recently saw an article on kellymom about low milk production and ways to still breastfeed. I myself did not have low milk that I know of, but my preemie had an inefficient latch that caused her to need to nurse nearly constantly, 24/7. It was exhausting, and looking back, I'm so happy that I DID choose to breastfeed my baby, despite the extreme challenge. We are both better for it. I nursed her until she was 5 years old (her choice) and am nursing baby #2 now almost 2 years. It's the best thing I've ever done in my whole life, and I've done alot and am a successful woman by traditional standards and my own standards. What a gift!

post #16 of 32

My breastfeeding journey began five years ago with my oldest son.  He breastfed for over 2.5 years and quit about 2 weeks before my second child was born.  My second son breastfed for about 19 months and quit during my third pregnancy.  My youngest is currently 11 months old and is brestfeeding with no signs of stopping.  This has given me so many bonding opportunities with each of my children.  I am so glad I chose to do this with each child.  There have been times I needed to increase supply or found myself needing to express with no pump or baby around.  This experieince has helepd strengthen my confidence in my parenting choices as well and my problem solving abilities.   

post #17 of 32

Sorry this is SOOO long.  I have IGT and have tongue tied babies and we've been through the ringer every time.  BUT I consider them nursing to 26, 18, and 24 months SUCCESS!  :)

 

DS was born by c-section on June 2006.  I was induced at 41w6d and labeled ‘failure to progress’ by an inpatient midwife.  I truly believe that at this point the cesarean was unnecessary.  I did get to nurse fairly quickly in the recovery room, maybe 45 min after giving birth. Basically my midwife held my breast and shoved him onto it.  Not quite what I had imagined of my first nursing experience. He latched on fine and nursing got off to a good start.  He weighed 8 lb. 13 oz. at birth.  When we left the hospital he was 7 lb. 14 oz. and dehydrated.  I remember his tongue feeling like sandpaper. That was 3 days post partum. I have no idea when my milk came in but on day 5 he was pooping more so some time around then. But I just knew something wasn't right. We went to a lactation consultant and from weighing him before and after a feeding discovered he only received 1.2 oz. from me. 1.1 oz from my left breast and .1 from my right.  She asked if I had breast changes during pregnancy and I did but only slightly and mostly on the side that was my better producer. She gave us some herbs and suggested giving him an ounce of formula after each feeding. I was pretty anti-bottle at this point so I did it with a medicine dropper. He started gaining again but I didn’t want to supplement so I did everything I could think of to increase my supply. We tried fenugreek, blessed thistle, brewer's yeast, reglan, pumping after each feeding, and domperidone.  I would pump after feedings 4 or 5 times a day and at the end of the day I would be thrilled if I had collected a whole ounce.  I had so much hope with the domperidone but I didn’t see much change. I chose to use an SNS to supplement so atleast he would get the formula at the breast.  At one of my postpartum check-ups the midwife said that maybe my breasts just can’t product enough milk.  After doing research on my own I came across the terms Insufficient Glandular Tissue and Hypoplasia and realized that my breasts and my situation fit into those categories.  After having an unwanted cesarean and not being able to exclusively nurse I was pretty devastated.  We continued to nurse with the SNS until DS was about 4 months when I switched to supplementing with bottles for the sake of my sanity.  He loved to nurse, would nurse all night long, and comfort nursed throughout the day.  We had a long and satisfying nursing relationship despite the supplementation.  DS gently weaned at 26 months when I was 3 or 4 months pregnant.

 

DD1’s breastfeeding story starts about halfway through my pregnancy.  Knowing now that my low supply had to do with my own breasts I did a ton of research on ways to increase breast tissue during pregnancy.  At the beginning of my third trimester I started taking alfalfa, red clover, dandelion, and nettle.  I also used progesterone cream on my breasts as well as taking oral progesterone.  This was about when Diana West’s book Making More Milk came out in which she recommends the use of progesterone.  I added goat’s rue in about week 36.  I started pumping once a day at 38 weeks as well.  I was 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant when my water broke at 8pm on Friday night.  I had a few strong contractions while pumping that night (which I believe caused my water to break).  Labor didn’t start so the following morning we induced naturally with castor oil. Labor was start and stop for the next 24 hours when I consented to pit.  Finally 44 hours after PROM DD1 was born.  I held and nursed her for an hour.  Nursing got off to a good start this time as well.  It was wonderful to have my slimy newborn baby put immediately on my chest.  I continued taking the cocktail of herbs I had been taking (minus the progesterone) and my milk came in full force around day 3.  I actually got engorged enough to get mastitis.  Everything with DD went great until 4 or 6 weeks when we started having all the symptoms of oversupply.  After more research I decided to try block feeding.  My big mistake.  My fragile supply tanked.  I had pumped a lot in the days immediately after birth so I had milk to supplement with this time at least.  But then her crazy mucous poop started.  So now what I thought was oversupply looked more like allergies.  I went on the Dr. Sears total elimination turkey/rice/sweet potato/pear/zucchini diet and we started supplementing with Neocate since my frozen milk wasn’t allergy free.  When doing test weights during a feeding DD did take 2 oz so I was making more milk this time but I was still devastated that I couldn’t fully breastfeed.  We discovered she had a tongue tie as well which may have impacted my supply drop.  Her tongue was clipped at about 3 months.  We had to continue supplementing as once again nothing was helping my supply go back up.  She nursed until 18 months which was when I got pregnant with DD2.


My pregnancy with DD2 was a bit of a surprise and I honestly wasn’t happy or ready to be pregnant yet.  Consequently I didn’t start my herbal regime until later in this pregnancy, about 35 weeks. When I was almost 42 weeks I talked to my midwife on Sunday morning to see what my options were (after castor oil didn’t work).  Option #1 was to go to their office and she would break my water.  Option #2 was to go to the hospital on Monday for a fluid check.  The problem with that was that if my fluid was low they would recommend a repeat cesarean.  We decided to just have the MW break my water hoping that that would be enough to get labor going.  But labor didn’t start.  The next day we got up and headed to the hospital and got the pitocin started.  After a few hours of pitocin DD2 was born.  Nursing once again started off really well.  My milk came in about day 3 and this time I was prepared with a digital baby scale to make sure she was gaining well.  And she was.  Until 3 weeks postpartum when her weight gain just stopped.  I called Diana West for a consult because I did not want to go through this again.  It turned out DD2 had a posterior tongue tie even though our family doctor said her tongue was fine.  We took DD2 to have her tongue clipped and I started pumping and giving her the little bit that I could, trying to up her weight gain.  A week post-clipping Diana stopped by again to peek at her tongue and saw it hadn’t been clipped enough.  So we went back for a second clipping.  I kept nursing, pumping, and supplementing with the SNS.  At about 10 days after the second clipping Diana came again and DD2’s tongue was now fully functioning but she only took about ¾ oz from each breast.  I started More Milk Plus and Goat’s Rue as well as upping DD2’s supplement with donor milk since I wasn’t pumping enough to meet her demand.  This time I was determined not to use formula.  If it couldn’t be all my milk, it could at least be breast milk.  When we got up to supplementing 9oz a day she was finally gaining what she should (about ½ to 1oz a day).  The tinctures did not increase my supply nor did domperidone.  I even tried moringa which also did not help.  Even Diana who is an expert on low supply has no other ideas and doesn’t know why this happened.  Unless it was solely from the lack of stimulation due to the tongue tie.  Although very interestingly she looked at DS and DD1’s tongues and said that both are tongue tied.  DS’s went undiagnosed and DD1’s wasn’t clipped enough.  DD2 nursed until I gently weaned her at 24 months because I am pregnant again.

post #18 of 32

I had a great breastfeeding experience yesterday, and I think I can say I'm the only person to have done this, ever! Which is cool.

Since my son stopped quite happily at 18 months, I didn't think my daughter would be any different. Without the experience of my first born, and all the support I had pretty much instantly from an online community, I may not have even tried breastfeeding a second time, but I did, and almost four years later we're still going!
My advice to new mothers would be to find that community, now, before you have the baby! Then, if you have difficulties:

try not to panic, even if the baby's crying.

Drip some milk into their mouths to calm them;

be in a darkened room (but so you can still see!) and take some deep breaths.

Then squeeze your breast gently, making your nipple and all around it into a biscuit shape! To fit their teeny mouth.

Your nipple needs to aim to the top of their head, the crown of their head - where the back and top meet!

Then, wait for the mouth to open (tickle near their nose with your nipple, if not open) then quickly put as much in as you can! The nipple is not for feeding, the whole area is.

Always have a large drink of water nearby in those early days.

And, finally, everything changes. Once you've got the hang of it, the baby will start feeding more frequently; something will happen to the poo; they'll want to change position; so many things. It's all a phase, they're growing.

 

Oh, and my story - yesterday, I breastfed my almost four year old in the back of a '59 Chevy while being driven on a freeway. late at night, she wanted mama, she told me it was night time and she was tired, perfect logic, so I said yes. She was already lying in my lap. It felt great, lovely to be able to comfort her and help her go to sleep.

(Old cars are not required to have seatbelts in my country, and while we would always use them elsewhere, this felt comfortable and right. I also then carried her from the car to bed without disturbing her. She slept really well last night. )

post #19 of 32

I am nearing 18 months breastfeeding my daughter. I never thought we'd get to this day. Breastfeeding my son was an incredible struggle. From day one (and with a mouth injury sustained in the hospital), my son never latched properly. I pumped, but my supply couldn't keep up. We made it to four months and I quit.

With my daughter, I knew in utero that it would be different! On one of our ultrasounds, I saw her practicing swallowing, and I knew she'd be able to breastfeed. Sure enough, when she was born, she got it right away. As she approaches 1 1/2, I am amazed and thrilled to be here. I am glad that I can offer her such a comfort, and in a way that makes me happy as well. I love my baby (now toddler) cuddle time.

post #20 of 32
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