All my life, when thinking of having babies, my thoughts turned to breastfeeding. I knew that's what I would do for my child(ren) and was undaunted by tales of latching problems, sore nipples, and pumping at work. I was ready to take it on! Well, infertility changed all of that. Just like I had to get over the realization that I would mostly likely never be pregnant, I also had to give up on my plans for breastfeeding. Or so I thought. Once we decided on adoption I was obsessed with adoptive breastfeeding. Most of the information I found said that women could induce lactation or use supplemental feeders. The supplemental nursing systems seemed a little complicated. For every feeding, a small plastic pouch needed to be filled with formula which is worn around the neck and then hooked up to a tube that is taped on the breast near the nipple. When the baby latches on it's able to get formula and help stimulate lactation for the mother. The other option involves taking birth control pills and some other drug (illegal in the U.S.) to simulate pregnancy hormones in addition to using a breast pump (every 2-3 hrs) to physically stimulate the breasts. I considered both options and decided against both. It was kind of depressing to think infertility had cost me another life experience. That is, until I learned of comfort nursing during one of our agency's mandatory workshops. I asked the nurse, who was moderating the workshop, what she thought about both options and she didn't care for either. She said that I could have the breastfeeding experience with comfort nursing. She put it in perspective when she said that babies don't expect milk from a pacifier so you can put a baby to the breast without it expecting milk. Talk about a revelation!
Once we were matched and Sammy was born, I probably waited about two weeks before I tried to comfort nurse him. I was a little apprehensive and didn't want to try it in front of Chris. I didn't want him to see me fail if I couldn't do it. My first chance came after I'd fed Sammy and he seemed to want to continue sucking. Instead of giving him the pacifier, I put him to my breast. Luckily he was small enough to maneuver and I was able to get him into position pretty easily. I had only read about getting a baby to latch on so I tried to remember what I'd read. It wasn't perfect but he was able to latch on and nursed for about five minutes. After that experience, I searched YouTube for breastfeeding videos and found lots of really helpful videos - specifically on positioning and latching on. I started comfort nursing Sammy instead of giving him a pacifier whenever he would get fussy or wanted to fall asleep. As he got bigger, it was harder to position him correctly so that he could latch on correctly but the videos helped me out. It's been about 1.5 months into our comfort nursing and we're really doing well. When he wants to nurse he sort of smacks his lips, opening and closing his mouth which is totally different from eating his fists when he's hungry. It's been a wonderful bonding experience and I can hardly believe that he's so attached to comfort nursing that if I'm holding him, he starts crying and rubbing on my shirt to nurse when he's sleepy. It's really the sweetest thing and makes me feel like I'm not missing out on the nursing experience.
Are any of you comfort nursing, considering it, or done it in the past?