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Weathering the storms of breastfeeding

Support for a breastfeeding mom is most needed when things are going poorly. No storm lasts forever.
Support for a breastfeeding mom is most needed when things are going poorly. No storm lasts forever.
Ken Johnson

In Fresno, the skies have been dark and gloomy for days, with great downpours of rain filling the streets. Travel was sometimes challenging, as the drainage gutters failed to keep up with the huge volumes of water being sent their direction. Then this morning, it became immediately clear that the storms, for now, have passed. The sun is shining brightly in a gorgeous blue sky. The air is visibly cleaner. Shadows are crisp, and the earth appears refreshed. Even the streets, which a day ago were burdened by the storm, now have the gleam of a child's freshly-washed face.

So it is with breastfeeding sometimes. The beginning may seem like a storm, with both mother and baby struggling to learn this new dance called latch-on. The first days may send intermittent rainfall in the form of  issues such as nipple pain, engorgement, or sleepless nights. Sometimes it feels like a downpour. It is at these moments that some mothers back away, afraid that this breastfeeding thing may just not be for them. What they cannot see, is that with a bit of help, guidance, and gentle hands-on care, they will overcome the issues and can see it through until the sun shines. What these mothers need is the support of a lactation consultant, who can provide them the tools and strength they need to weather the storm. In Fresno, the help is there if it is needed and wanted. The Resource List on this page can lead mothers directly to the lactation help they need, some even being offered in the comfort of their own home.

Just as rainy weather often turns to sunshine in a gradual fashion, success in breastfeeding often comes over time. First one feeding, then more, until soon both mother and baby are nursing gracefully, without effort or pain. When it happens, it feels as if the sun is shining everywhere, because the conveniences and rewards of breastfeeding are profound. The truth that must be recognized is that no storm lasts forever. The sun eventually will break through, and things will become easier. The challenge, then, is helping mothers to remain strong and focused until that day comes, and in Fresno, getting good lactation help is the key.