World Breastfeeding Week in the Special Needs World

Micah Pederson by Micah Pederson Additional Needs

Micah Pederson

Micah Pederson

I am a mom to two children biologically and many children through foster care. My husband and I have been married three years. Our foster home is a...

Breastfeeding. That word embraces a million different memories, hopes, fears, and joys for me.

As a foster parent, I have been a mom to many children in the last two and a half years.

Most of these children have been children who have special needs.

I currently have a beautiful, vibrant, wild home brimming with six children and sometimes one or two more.

Each child is unique—they all have different needs, different gifts, and came to us in different ways.

Some walk, some roll. Some speak, some do not.

Some eat by mouth, some eat by tummy tube, and one of them is currently breastfed.

While breastfeeding may come easy to some, it certainly did not come easily to me.

I have two biological children and with both babies, my body has had to work extremely hard to feed them.

When my body is in the midst of breastfeeding, I have to constantly think about what and how much I eat, drink, sleep, and exercise.

I have to take multiple supplements, visit a specialist, and be extremely diligent in order to make it possible for my body to make the milk my babies need.

I have been told time and time again that I should quit.

There is absolutely no shame in bottle-feeding and I believe that it is in fact what is best for many babies.

But for me personally, I wanted to breastfeed and it has been something worth doing anything to make happen.

I find that my decision to breastfeed is especially important to me as a mom to children with special needs.

My children with special/medical needs demand so much of my time and energy.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to care for them and learn from them.

However, sometimes I worry about my babies who don’t have a diagnosis—the ones who give up time with mom during every appointment, treatment, hospital stay, emergency, or just the daily grind of extra routines and care their siblings with special needs require.

For me, breastfeeding has been a gift I could give back to my biological children.

My youngest daughter just turned one and is still nursing a few times a day.

Oh, how I treasure these moments! Since the day of her birth, I have loved that several times a day, I needn’t do anything but sit, snuggle her close, and feed her the milk I worked hard to create.

Of course, life (especially the special needs life) isn’t always perfect or clean cut.

I have nursed with one hand while conducting feeding tube feedings, dressing changes, therapies, calming techniques, and cleaning up more bodily fluids than you would care to know about.

But more often than not, breastfeeding is the time that I give back to my little one and focus only on her as medical machines and meltdowns wail on in the background.

It is my way of letting her know she has me--all of me--if even for just a moment.

Even though it adds work, fatigue, and chaos to my circus, breastfeeding also adds a beauty, purpose, and unique connection my baby and I need.

As mom to such a special bunch, breastfeeding is a way that I fill my cup at the same time as I pour myself out for these little people.

I will treasure these moments in my heart for a lifetime.

Topics

Other Articles You Might Enjoy ...

No results found