Breastfeeding a Baby with Special Needs

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I gave birth to two children, and I have two very different stories to tell about breastfeeding. Both of my kids have Down syndrome, but their diagnosis doesn’t make them the same. In fact, since the day they were born, they have demonstrated to me just how different they are from each other, despite their fraternal bonds and their shared genetic condition.

One of the most common concerns parents of newborns diagnosed with special needs have is about their ability to nurse. We all know the benefits of breastfeeding, and how important it is. For parents faced with the distress of learning of their child’s disability, breastfeeding should never a forced emotional obligation. Instead, it should be an invitation to embrace motherhood. And, in the case of kids with disabilities, nursing can be our first encounter with challenges that may turn into powerful lessons that provide us with faith and encouragement to lean in to motherhood.

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