This Viral Photo Shows A Lesser-Known Breast-Feeding Method

Breast-feeding has numerous benefits for both mother and baby, but it doesn't always come as naturally as we might assume. And, as one viral photo shows, there's more than one way to breast-feed.

After giving birth, Rebecca McKeever found that her sleepy newborn, Andromeda, was having trouble latching onto her breast to feed.

“A lactation consultant came to our hospital room to ask if we needed help,” McKeever told Huffington Post. “She saw that I was expressing colostrum but that Andromeda wasn’t latching, so she brought in little cups and syringes so we could get some food in her. I expressed some colostrum into a cup, then put it into the syringe and fed her little drops at a time.”
The photo, posted two weeks ago by doula services group Carriage House Birth, shows McKeever feeding her baby via a syringe. When a baby is finding it difficult to breast-feed, as McKeever's newborn did, syringe feeding is an alternate method to make sure that the baby gets colostrum, the concentrated milk that is produced in a mother's mammary glands during pregnancy and is expressed in the earliest days of breast-feeding.

Colostrum is often termed "super" or "high-octane" milk because, in addition to carbohydrates and protein, it contains important antibodies that can protect the newborn from bacteria and viruses.

As McKeever mentions, she expressed her milk (squeezing it out of the breast, whether by hand or by pump) to store and to feed Andromeda via syringe.

“She smiled and melted with each drop,” McKeever told Huffington Post. “Then, a few minutes after getting that nourishment, she woke up a bit more and actually tried the breast! We had to do a mix of syringe feeding and breastfeeding for the first week.”

Since being shared on Instagram, the photo of McKeever and Andromeda has gotten over 2,000 likes, with other Instagram users chiming in to share their own experiences with alternate breast-feeding methods.

"I did the same with my ten pound newborn," one user commented. "Too sleepy and content to nurse. Love."

"Thank you for sharing," wrote another. "It is so amazing to see all the different ways that parents feed their babes."

The photo, as well as McKeever's experience, shows that not only is breast-feeding not always easy, there's also more than one way of doing it. As McKeever told Huffington Post, "things might not always go as planned in a perfect picture" when it comes to breast-feeding — and parenthood in general.

“It’s amazing how much we all need help and reminding, even when we know things,” she said. “Support is key.”

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