A RETURN TO CONFIDENCE as a Breast Feeding Mom
by J. Cowan, RN, IBCLC

I am a lactation consultant at a large university based hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. The hospital has three nurseries. One is for normal term newborns, one for those infants who require some additional medical care and one for infants that may be premature, severely ill or who have some physical abnormalities that require intensive care (NICU).

The mothers of these infants in NICU may be pumping their breasts for many long months so that they can provide nature's best food for their babies. One such mom, who I'll call Mary, gave birth to a boy at 24 weeks (6 months) gestation. When I met her, her son was 32 weeks old. Mary had religiously been pumping her breasts for 8 long weeks. She was tired of doing this day and night, every 3 hours for 20 minutes a time. Mary hated the pump. She wanted her baby at the breast, not this machine and mass of tubes.

She arrived at the clinic door, breasts full and aching, with a potential case of mastitis (breast infection) caused by the backup of milk in the breast tissue. Mary had just come off the pump in the NICU. After 8 weeks of pumping, she was used to getting 6 to 8 ounces at each pumping session.

This time she got only a few drops, not even enough to save for the baby. Fortunately I had just completed level 2 of Therapeutic Touch and thought it might be useful for Mary. We spoke of the psychological aspects of milk letdown and how her perception of the pump might interfere with the milk flow and impact her supply. I introduced her to the idea of TT and she was eager to try it. As Mary relaxed, I started TT and continued as she applied the pumping equipment. I asked her not to watch the milk flow, just to breathe evenly and deeply. The results were dramatic. Within 10 minutes, we had to change the containers, having completely filled them. A few more moments made for a much more comfortable mom and a milk supply returned to normal. Mary felt much more confident and credited TT for her return to once more being a "breastfeeding mom".

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