Let’s face it, breastfeeding can be a rough road sometimes – whether it’s something moms do in public or in private. “Breastfeeding is hard for the average woman, and you add disability on top of that…” shares Nicky who recalls her experience in breastfeeding her son Jacob. Nicky is a mom with a disability, and she shares the ups and downs she’s experienced with breastfeeding.
When Nicky learned she was pregnant, she took the initiative to learn to breastfeed before her son was born. She contacted WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) who assisted her with things like different nursing positions and trying out a variety of nursing pillows. By the time Jacob was born, she was ready – and confident – to give breastfeeding a try. But the nurses at the hospital were not supportive of her breastfeeding choice. They would give Jacob bottle after bottle rather than honoring Nicky’s wishes.
She says she felt “discouraged from breastfeeding because of her disability.”
After Nicky and Jacob were home, Nicky again went to WIC where they offered additional support. They helped teach her how to get Jacob to latch on. Soon, Nicky became a pro at breastfeeding – something she was able to continue for the first year of Jacob’s life.
Nicky often breastfed Jacob in public, and she shares, “Being disabled you get stared at anyway, so what’s a little more?” She decided against using a cover in public since “it was too hard to use … when I was already holding the baby and the nursing pillow. I’ve always cared what other people think; I still do. But not when it comes to Jacob.”
The support Nicky got from WIC was a crucial factor in her successful breastfeeding journey. For Nicky, breastfeeding was “calming, a time just for me and Jacob.” And she hopes that other moms with disabilities can experience this too.
“Be an advocate. Don’t let anyone stand in the way. It’s YOUR baby."
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