Breastfeeding from leukemia to breast cancer: until the last drop (part 1 of 2)

Written by: Marianne Simard

At the moment my precious baby was born, that my hands helped her out, that I cuddled her, it was the most beautiful time of my life. At that moment, I knew what unconditional love was. My little bundle of joy, all she wanted was to open her eyes to meet who has been humming all those beautiful melodies to her. Helped with my finger, she slipped her little mouth to find my breast for the first time. After 21 hours of labor, I was exhausted but so happy to be with her; to be breastfeeding her for the first time.

This precious bounding, so natural and beautiful was for me a transcendent and irreplaceable moment. Me breastfeeding my daughter, my husband, my midwife and friend Julie by my side. I would have loved to stop time on November 21st, 2014.


For me, breastfeeding my daughter was a must. It was always part of my plan, but even though I had the need to do so, I almost gave up. At the beginning, there were too many challenges. My milk production came in a couple days later and my left breast had a really slow milk flow. Plus, my daughter was not gaining as much weight as she should have, so much that at some point I had to feed her with a syringe filled with a special solution. Thankfully, with the advice of my lactation consultant and my friend Julie mixed with all the natural plant remedy and a lot of courage my milk production finally came in. My left breast stayed unpredictable the whole time, but my daughter and I were always bounding more and more through the days.


The time stopped on March 30th, 2015.

My daughter was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. We were told we would spend the next 8 months at the hospital. Her chance of survival was very slim, a thin 10% of chances. It wasn’t much, but it was just enough for us to be positive and to hope for the best! The whole time she was hospitalized, I breastfeed her. It was tough and very challenging at times. Most of the time, I was exhausted and impatient. My milk production was super low, and it was still very tough to breastfeed her with my left breast which was always swollen. I tried every single breastfeeding trick that exists, but nothing seemed to help. Even though, I kept going.

During the storm, the only way I could help her with the leukemia was by breastfeeding her. I was convinced that I was making a difference, that my milk was helping her immune system which was at the lowest level it has ever been in her life. Unfortunately, affected by all the chemotherapy, she had to endure. I was sure my milk was protecting her, that I was giving her exactly what her system needed to make it through. And then in August of 2015, she survived the storm. She was now in remission. Normal life was around the corner, we couldn’t be happier.

But we had only won this fight. War was far from being over, this was just the beginning…

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