Parents of Daniel, 7 months
Regina is originally from Argentina, where it is common to breastfeed in public, and Ramy is Egyptian.
Together they settled in the city and started their family. The arrival of their first child, Daniel, brought them closer together than ever, despite the challenges.
Regina gives us a poignant account of this difficult but beautiful breastfeeding journey. And on the central role that Ramy played in the success of this experience.
« Our overall experience was very positive, but the challenge was there from the beginning. We learned a lot about ourselves and our baby, Daniel. Fortunately, I was very well surrounded and supported by my partner and my environment (midwives, lactation consultant, doula, etc.). »
« Daniel, our baby, was born with three ties in his mouth and a torticollis. Daniel could not suckle. At the hospital - where I had an emergency delivery (our plan was the birth center) - the professionals didn't even notice the problem. As a first-time mom, I thought it was my inexperience.
By the time we got home, it was summer, and Dani was already a little dehydrated. At the first visit, our midwife quickly realized the problem and we were sent to the lactation clinic at the Jewish General Hospital. We had to wait three weeks to see someone. It was the longest three weeks of my life.
In the meantime, we decided to pay for a lactation consultant out of our own pockets because breastfeeding was a choice made by us, the parents, to give our little guy the best. We came across our angel, Sonya, who taught us not only how to breastfeed, but also how to get to know Daniel who was giving us lots of signs that we didn't understand at first.
That being said, my heart was torn from seeing my boy not being able to latch on, from inserting a bottle here and there to get out of the house, to feeling like I had failed. The guilt, the tears, the long nights. I was lucky to have my boyfriend around to share all these feelings with him. One day we would see a little improvement, the next day it was a disaster. »
« Ramy, my boyfriend, was also suffering. In hindsight, I realize that he got through this in solitude. I had him. But him? He only had one or two friends with children, and a few colleagues at work. He questioned everyone. He went and read everything there was to read or learn.
He came across two colleagues with similar difficulties who told him that their children had latched on all of a sudden around two months. And he came home very optimistic that day... and I screamed to the heavens, "two months?!!!! I have to continue to be locked up to express my milk every 2-3 hours for two months??? And you think that's good?
Two months seemed like an eternity. But they went by so fast that I don't even remember all the things we went through: expressing milk in the car on the Montreal-Quebec City trip, then Montreal-Ottawa and then Montreal-Toronto, managing everything in hotels, lugging bottles, breast pumps, freezer bags, etc. I promised myself that this problem would not define my motherhood.
And I am very stubborn, I must admit. With each small victory, I dreamed of one day being able to go out with my child, like all the other moms, and breastfeed freely in a park or a café. I dreamed a lot. I am an atheist, but I also prayed for the first time in my life. I asked both of my grandmothers to help me, to send me strength to try one more day. »
« And I would hold Daniel against my chest, glued to me every night to sleep skin to skin, and I would ask him, before I closed my eyes, to never stop looking for my scent, that mommy would always be there for him. And I would fall asleep, to start a new day. When he had started to latch on, after a month and a half of trying, I got a nasty mastitis and he wouldn't latch on again. I learned that some babies don't like the taste.
I can't explain how my heart was broken into a million pieces. But Ramy was always there, with his optimism, patience, listening and unconditional love. And he always encouraged me to continue the exercises, the trials, Dani's chiro, always giving me the space to stop if my sanity demanded it.
And I continued... and a month later, one Sunday night "out of the blue", Daniel opened his eyes, looked at me with his magic eyes as if to say "OK mom, I'm ready", and without pushing him, without trying, I had him in my arms, chest out, and he took my breast. And since then, we haven't been apart. And I started going out more, going to the park to nurse my beautiful Daniel, and to coffee shops, by myself, just for the pleasure of nursing my baby with a big cup of tea. »
« It was the most intense experience of my life, probably my biggest challenge. I have lived in 17 different countries; I have never had to overcome such a difficult experience from a human point of view: to look for the strength and patience within yourself that you never think you have.
And I know that without Ramy as my co-pilot on this great adventure, I probably wouldn't have made it. Ramy taught me to take care of myself - he always reminds me of that - but to always continue with my dreams and desires. I now apply this in many aspects of my life.
This experience has brought us together in a unique way: we are truly more in love than ever. We feel very strong as a couple, able to overcome any challenge. Final note: yes, he was right in the end, it would take about two months. Since then, I listen more carefully to my lover "Ramy, the optimist". »