Facebook page, Supply Line Breastfeeding Awareness Project, showcases mothers who are unable to breastfeed the traditional way because of low milk supply or other breastfeeding difficulties, and instead use a supplemental nursing device to feed their babies.
Bridget Burke-Purdy, a mum of four from Canada, was unable to nurse her third baby Rowan due to cancer treatments. So she ended up feeding him with the tube taped right to her finger.
The method, while relatively unknown, is not actually that rare: It’s called “finger feeding,” and it’s used when a newborn is having trouble latching onto the breast.
Traditional finger feeding, is usually only used for a day or two in order to transition a baby back to full breastfeeding.
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In Bridget’s case, she ended up finger feeding her son long-term.
Shortly before her third son, Rowan, was born that she was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Her cancer treatments meant that she would not be able to breastfeed baby Rowan, which broke her heart since breastfeeding had been such an important experience for her as a mother. She’d happily breastfed her previous babies successfully, and into their toddler years.
“Not being able to nurse Rowan was the only thing that cancer stole from me,” Bridget shares with Babble.
She told Babble, “With finger feeding we could cuddle up close with nothing between us, it was skin to skin; it made me feel like I was necessary to the equation. Because of this skin-to-skin contact, coupled with suckling action on my finger, it caused a release of oxytocin in my body that helped us bond since I hadn’t been able to care for him when he was first born.”
Bridget went on to feed Rowan for 2½ years this way (she was able to use her own pumped milk once her cancer treatments ended). And as Bridget shared in a more recent post on the Supply Line Breastfeeding Awareness Project page, Rowan never took to breastfeeding, even when it was safe for him to nurse directly from Bridget.
Bridget even tandem fed Rowan and her newborn baby, Everly. As Bridget explains, Everly was able to nurse directly at the breast because Bridget’s cancer treatments were long over.
Women truly are amazing and inspirational!
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