Not Step related: Breast feeding rights

doodlebooDecember 1, 2008

I was just on the La Leche League website reading up on breast feeding. I intend to breastfeed Layla for the first year so I'm trying to get oriented with the in's and out's of the process.

I have to admit that I was pretty torn about whether or not to breast feed. Of course I know all the medicla and emotional benefits for mother and child however the women in my family have all had bad experiences with it. Plus I would be lying if I said the thought of a baby sucking on my boob didn't creep me out a little. I know I know I know. It's not sexual and it's totally natural but still....I have heard so many stories about (IMHO) weirdo's breast feeding their 8 year olds and it just stuck.

The girls were breast fed and they have a really strange fscination with boobies which creeps me out as well since, if you remember, they were constantly feeling me up and trying to latch on to me! This futhers my underlying creepy feelings about breast feeding. I don't want Layla to be 5 and trying to suck on other womens Ta-Ta's. EEW.

I must also say I am one of those people who get weirded out when a woman plops herself out in a resteraunt and latches a baby on on front of god and everybody. I deffinatly feel you should wither cover yourself or find a private place to feed. I am NOT into nipple flashing in public at all.

I really want to do this because I understand it is what is best for Layla, It's cheaper and as an added bonus it will also help my body return to normal post partum. I'm just trying to get myself mentally prepared so I don't "chicken out". I am trying really hard to get past the ridiculous prejudices I have...aside from the whole nipple flashing thing. I will NEVER dangle my uncovered bosoms in public HAHAHAHA. Strippers do that but they get PAID. To me that's just a bit

Any encouraging words or experiences you ladies could share would be appreciated.

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i can only give my experience with breast feeding. it was more common back in the 50's, but i did not feed my baby in public and i did not see any mothers that did. there was nothing weird to me about nursing a baby, i just could not feed my baby in front of friends much less in public. i'll bet our grandmothers did not just pull it out in front of every one, maybe their female family members. i put my babies on whole milk at 4 months with the doc's blessings.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 10:38AM
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I'm another one who valued privacy when breast-feeding, so I never breast-fed in public. Even at home, I'd retire to the bedroom because I simply wasn't comfortable and relaxed in our open floorplan two-story 'Hi Everybody!' living room. ;-) And since I'm being brutally honest here, I'll admit that I got the same warm cozy maternal feeling from bottle-feeding my baby breast-milk as I did from breast-feeding. But you will find what works best for you and Layla and your life --

Since you're a fair-skinned blond, you may find that your nipples are rather delicate, and that you need to nurse for very short periods of time at first to avoid pain. This is something to ask your nursing counselor about *pro-actively* so you can avoid it rather than when/if it becomes a problem. There are also lanolin-based nipple creams (baby-safe, of course) that can help. Normally, breast-feeding won't hurt, and many womes seem to really enjoy it, but you may need to let your nipples 'toughen up' a bit.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 10:50AM
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I am in support of breastfeeing up to reasonable age of course. not when they walk and talk lol

every child was breast fed in our family, and no one has any fixations about anything. i have never heard of such fixations. and I have never heard of any children grabbing anyone's breasts or trying to touch it. it does seem a bit out of line but i don't think it comes from breastfeeding but possibly from something else (seeing adults touching? see too much on TV? hearing adults talk about it?)

as about privacy, yes i would do it in private. of course not in front of others.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 11:07AM
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It seems you all have the same sentiments as me as far as the public breastfeeding goes. I am all for breastfeeding but I just don't think it is something that should be done in front of a mall,resteraunt,church, park full of people etc.

On the LLLI site I was really surprised to see there are so many people who believe you should be able to fully expose your breast in public without any kindof modesty or cover up. I just was having a hard time understanding how if a woman plops her breast out in public she could be charged with indicent exposure but if she plops that same boob out with a baby stuck on the end it's OK.

I am obviously not as hard core of an advocate as some people out there...hahaha. I won't be shaking my nipples at passerby's to make any kindof point that's for sure:)


I have no clue as to why the girls had this fascination with boobs but I know it steamed from breastfeeding because they would always talk about "booby milk" when the behavior started. It wasn't a sexual grop but they would want to pretend to be babies and grop me whinning about booby milk adn even made a go for my nipple through my clothing once or twice. It was very strange and uncomfortable for me. jonathan had to start getting onto them for it because it was really creeping me out. Maybe it had something to do with their mommy issues. Maybe it was some kindof attachment thing with her. All she ever really did for them WAS the breastfeeding for six months so maybe they have heard those stories from her and (no pun intended) latched on to the experience more than normal children would. Maybe it was even an attempt to initiate me into a motherly role. Who knows? All I can say is I was super glad when they grew out of it but I am worried Layla being breastfed will trigger it again.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 11:36AM
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I had trouble breast feeding at first, but I'm glad I did it. I don't want to get into my son's specific medical condition, but he wasn't diagnosed with it until age 7 (but it was present at birth). I believe the breastfeeding I did greatly reduced the symptoms of his particular developmental disorder.

I was very private about breastfeeding. If I was in public, I would find a ladies' room that had a private seating area to breastfeed....or return to my car to do it. They also sell very discreet shirts that are made to cover-up breastfeeding.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 12:28PM
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GIRL--I was so right where you are.

When I was pregnant with my DD, I was GROSSED OUT by BFing. I really, truly got the heebie-jeebies about it and did NOT think I could do it. I knew it was best for her, but I just didn't think I could overcome my being weirded-out about it.

When I gave birth, I was pretty sure I WASN'T going to do it. I even gave her a bottle of forumula right after birth.

The next day, the pediatrician came through on rounds and just casually said to me--why don't you give it a try?

For some reason, his casual attitude about it made me want to give it a shot. So I did. She had a hard time latching on the first few days and I called the nurse to help me several times. But we got the hang of it, and I ended up BFing for 10 months! I am SO GLAD I did.

My goal with our next baby is to make it to a year.

So--your feelings might change once Layla is actually here and the concept doesn't seem so foreign to me.

I did BF in public, but I would put a blanket over my shoulder and it would cover DD. No one ever really seemed to look or notice.

Best of luck to you!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 1:56PM
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I had a good chuckle reading your post.And I agree with you that if a child is old enough to chew steak,then they are too old for the breast.

However,I didnt breast feed because my mom filled my head with,"I didnt breast feed any of you and you all are fine"
Now I wish I had at least for a few weeks or a few months so my child could get those nutrients.

You may want to try to alternate breast with bottle.That way if it does become too painful or you decide to quit,your baby will be used to the bottle.And so dad can feed once in a while and give you a break.(even if you fill the bottle with breast milk)
I have known some women who try to switch and their babies freaked out and only wanted the boob.
Out in public I would be like you.I'd feel strange just whipping it out.I think modestly covering up with a receiving blanket or something is ok though.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 2:10PM
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Doodle, I think breastfeeding is the best if you're able to do it. Even if you can only do it for a little while the health benefits for your daughter are proven. I did for 8 months and while it was painful sometimes, inconvenient sometimes and downright embarassing sometimes, I'd do it again.

I'd suggest buying cloth "nipple protectors" for your bra. They're softer than the disposable ones and are reuseable, and they will protect both nipples from chafing and bras from staining.

I had nursing bras, wore button down shirts with undershirts and had a "mommy bib" and "cover up clips" which went over my head and made a really large cover for my chest area. I'm not affiliated with this company, but you can go to this website and see what I mean. I breastfed modestly in public if it wasn't convenient to go elsewhere. You don't need to have very much of your breast "out" in order for the baby to latch on. Then their face covers the rest, and the whole shebang is covered by a blanket or cover.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cover up clips

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 2:30PM
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Thanks for all the support and suggestions. I am ready for the sore nipples that crack and bleed. My sister had a really hard time with it. It hurt her so badly she threw in the towel and switched to formula. She claimed she also had really bad cramps in her uterus every time she tried to BF.

My mom had a terrible experience with a clogged duct and had to have multiple procedures to clear it up. I remember her having gauze crammed in an incesion in her left breast. They left the end of the gauze dangling out like a sick candle wick of sorts so they could pull it out and change it untill the infection had cleared.....scary! I very clearly remember her picking a scab off of it once and having LITERALLY a gallon of puss come pouring out of it. It was off putting to say the least. HAHAHA

Hopefully I won't have any of these issues. (Fingers crossed) We aren't spending any money on a real expensive pump untill we know I ma going to be able to BF. Once I have been successful for a month we'll invest in a real nice double electric so I can pump at work and send the milk with Layla to my moms.


The clips are an awesome idea. I will need them when I return to work for sure. My office is private and I already have it worked out so I can inform the receptionist when I am pumping so she can hold calls and ring me before sending visitors back:) The clips will make me feel a whole lot more secure though.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 3:23PM
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Doodleboob....I mean Boobledoo.....I mean Doodleboo....Sorry about that, I just couldn't resist. I knew a woman at church that had 10 ( or was it 11? )children. She breast feed at church, although very covered up. I'm sure that she did it for financial reasons as well as the benefits to the children. I was never creeped out by it but I couldn't understand doing that myself.

I had trouble with the pain. It didn't work as well for me as I would have liked. I gave it my best shot with both kids but wasn't willing to pump in a factory when I went back to work so I knew it would be very limited.

Give it your best shot and do what you feel you can. IMHO that will be what is best for you and baby.

Do they still have wet nurses ladies? I know that some woman can be rather sharing about this type of thing.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 3:28PM
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I was one of those who didn't like breastfeeding for the fact that it just plain annoyed me. I really didn't enjoy breastfeeding until the end. Probably because i got use to it but never breastfed in public. Privacy to me was highly valued.
I breast fed for 6 months and then after a painful bite from my son who was booted off the booby! lol...
I think if you are not comfortable in breastfeeding that is your perogative and do not let nurses push you into it. I was very muched pushed into it. Do what is comfortable for yourself.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 4:03PM
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"Doodleboob....I mean Boobledoo.....I mean Doodleboo...."


    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 6:25PM
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My mom had a terrible experience with a clogged duct and had to have multiple procedures to clear it up. I remember her having gauze crammed in an incesion in her left breast. They left the end of the gauze dangling out like a sick candle wick of sorts so they could pull it out and change it untill the infection had cleared.....scary! I very clearly remember her picking a scab off of it once and having LITERALLY a gallon of puss come pouring out of it. It was off putting to say the least.

Doodledoo, when I was taking childbirth classes the instructor was excellent, and really knew what she was doing. At the end of our last class she told us this, "Breastfeeding does not hurt if it's done properly. If the nurses tell you it hurts, make sure you see the lactation consultant because it should not hurt."

But when I had my baby it hurt like he!! to say the least. The lactation consultant was on vacation, but her fill-in told me, "Honey, it just hurts some people". Every nurse, every visitor, every doctor told me the same thing - sometimes it just hurts.

So I just assumed the childbirth instructor was wrong, until one nurse came in toward the end of my stay (I had some problems and stayed longer than some moms). She told me it hurt her really bad, too, but the regular lactation consultant helped her, and it doesn't hurt if it's done correctly. This nurse couldn't tell me how to do it (it had been awhile), but when she was on duty she'd come in while I nursed and hold my hand and cry with me (yes, it hurt that bad).

At the end of my third week, I couldn't stand it any longer. I called the hospital crying and got the regular lactation consultant. She told me to come in, and I packed the baby up (even though I wasn't supposed to drive yet) and went in.

It was an amazing experience. Everyone else (except the one nurse) acted like I was a whiny baby. But the lactation consultant didn't even ask to see my chest. She stuck her finger in my baby's mouth, her eyes teared up, and she said with the deepest compassion I've ever heard, "Honey, I know you hurt, I know you hurt. Let me see your chest."

By this time my nipples were cracked, bleeding, scabbed and infected. Just the weight of a light summer shirt hurt. I had to bite my knuckles and hands to keep from screaming when I nursed. The lactation consultant leaned over, took my wrist in her hands and pressed it gently. She said, "That's what it should feel like when you nurse. Let me show you." As she positioned my baby, I flinched and prepared to bite myself to keep from screaming. She positioned the baby at my breast and held his tongue and jaw in place, and it felt like a butterfly landing on my arm. Absolutely no pain. It turned out my son had a problem with the way he sucked.

I gave up breastfeeding anyway. I was going to have to have a helper every time I breastfed - one who would learn how to position the baby's tongue and jaw and hold it in place. My family didn't have any more vacation time, so I quit. I don't regret quitting - I was exhausted and needed to get well more than my son needed to breastfeed.

Anyway, when I had my second child, I knew better. I had her at a different hospital, and she hurt me, too. Again, the nurses and the lactation consultant said, "Honey, it just hurts, you just have to toughen those nipples." I smiled sweetly and said okay, and had my husband make me an appointment with a private lactation consulting firm. As soon as I checked out of the hospital we headed straight for the private consultant. They didn't have the absolute amazing genius of the one who helped me with my son, but they gave me a lot of help. I nursed her through her first year and started weaning her at 13 months. My nipples never got very sore, never bled, never cracked, never got infected. My daughter had a problem with her palate that caused the problem, but no one at the hospital even checked.

Here are my suggestions if you want to breast feed:

First, the vast majority of doctors don't know beans about the comfort issues of breastfeeding. They are great about illnesses, diseases, etc., but not breastfeeding.

Second, if you use nipple shields (I did with my 2nd child), just be aware that you can get mastitis more easily that way. The lactation consultant I had with my second child told me after I finished breastfeeding to make a circle out of my hands and encircle my breast with both my hands at the very top (like way up under my arm). Starting at the top is very important. Then slide the circle of your hands down your breast, squeezing gently. I can't remember exactly why, but I think you're massaging the milk out of your ducts.

Also, another thing you can do is this: before you start to nurse, do the above-mentioned massage. This should get the milk massaged down so you will let down faster. I don't know if I'd do that right away, but after the first week I would. This shortens your nursing time a little, because the milk lets down earlier.

I'm glad I breastfed my daughter. Our budget was tight and it's lots cheaper. It was also way easier in the long run (I was a SAHM). A few diapers and wipes and we were ready to go, no bottles, no formula. Breastfeeding is also an enforced rest time for the mom - I would have been up cleaning and doing laundry while everybody else bottle fed the baby. If I had had more children, I would have breastfed them even if I worked, because I enjoyed it. I never thought I would - I always thought it was a little icky, but I enjoyed it after the first 3 months. It is pretty icky to me at first - all the leaking, etc. till your body gets used to it is just unpleasant (to me).

I am a firm believer that every mom should do what she thinks works best for her situation and her family's. If you ever decide you don't want to breastfeed, then don't. My oldest is just fine and he was bottle fed after the first 3 weeks.

But please don't put yourself through the he!! I went through and your mom went through because people tell you it just hurts sometimes. If that nurse could put my son on my breast without hurting, then I know breast feeding doesn't have to hurt.

I will say that my breastfed daughter has a much better immune system than my bottle fed son. That may just be coincidence. Anyway, I still don't regret quitting breastfeeding him. That was just too much pain to endure when there are bottles and formula.

I tried not to write a book here, but my heart just goes out to any woman who might hurt so badly while breastfeeding, and if I can spare somebody a part of the agony I went through, I want to do that.

I wish you a safe childbirth and a healthy, happy baby.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 8:31PM
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With my oldest (now 21), I didn't have the opportunity to nurse, since he was born 15 weeks premature and spent his first 4 months in the NICU. I did pump, and he was lucky to be able to get breast milk via a feeding tube for many months.

With youngest DD (now 5), I was hopeful that she would be full term, and that I could nurse her. I guess maybe because I didn't get the chance to with DS, and because I know it's best.

I was lucky with both. She was born at 38 weeks, weighing in at 8 lbs...a far cry from her big brother's whopping 1 lb & 9 oz. And she was a natural born breast-feeder. She nursed well from the outset. Initially, my "plan" was to nurse for 1 year. However, one year came and went, and when she was 20 months I went to Mexico with the girls, and 5 days out of the country was the end of it.

Some helpful hints: Try to toughen up your nipples before your baby arrives (but not if you're having any preterm labor). Go braless, etc. Nurse in short 5 minute bursts. If you are sore, pump and let dad bottle feed. This will give your boobs a break without affecting the "supply & demand" of breast milk.

Just remember, it's natural. The more relaxed you are, the better your outcome will be. And it's something that only you can do for your baby...nobody else!

Oh and BTW...I nursed in public ALL the time...and nobody ever knew it or got a free show! Nothing a little receiving blanket can't take care of.

Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 10:06PM
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...of breast feeding to get women talking:) I guess there is a huge range of experiences and I appreciated hearing them all.

Boobledoo....HAHAHAHAHA! Boobs are taking over my brain.

Organic and Beliver-Thanks for the support. For the record privacy will be one of my main issues as well Organic.

Daisy- I promise that if it is terribly painful I won't put myself through it. I don't want my poor nipples falling off. My sister had a very similar experience to yours which is why I'm a little worried that I may notbe able to hang. Thanks for all the pointers. I'll be keeping a very close eye out for infection thanks to my mom as well.


Did I read that right? Your son was 1lb 9 oz's?! Oh my god he was a teeny tiny little thing! To think they keep saying Layla is small at 4 pounds. Jeez louise! As far as the toughing of the nipples go...I've been wearing fuzzy sweaters around the house braless to try and prepare my poor gals for the long road ahead...hahaha.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 9:01AM
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I once went to church with a woman who adopted a 6-year-old child whose former life had been chaotic to say the least.

One of the things he did, that his therapist encouraged, was "regression".

He wanted to be a baby, to be held, to be fed from a bottle, etc.

His mom, bless her & all her tribe, rocked him, held him, diapered him, fed him a bottle.

& he got through it & grew up healthy & secure.

Maybe the girls are doing their own version of "regression".

You can re-direct it so that they get what they need & you aren't creeped out-
talk baby talk to them, give them blankies, etc.

I my own self always like to see a woman nursing her baby, it's so good for the baby, & those mothers need & deserve all the support & approval they can get.
If I'm close enough or happen to make eye contact, I give her a thumbs up & a smile.

I my own self would use a shawl or blanket or cover-up of some sort.

Feed that baby what she needs!

(& when she gets big enough to bite, follow the lead of every other mammal in the world, & wean her!)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 11:47AM
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Doodle, read it right. He was born at 25 weeks, and came home just after his due date, weighing just under 5 4 mos. old! It was a rough start and a long first year. So much so, that I waited another 15 years to have #2!

Someone else mentioned biting. Interestingly, DD nursed for 20 months, and never bit me once, even when she had lots of teeth!

I wish you much success in your breastfeeding endeavors. I wouldn't trade that time for anything!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 12:59PM
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One of my main problems was not drinking enough water. No one told me water helps milk production. And that caffeine dries it up. So my main advice is DRINK LOTS OF WATER! It really helps!

I never got my milk to come in fully, but I finally got it regulated to one feeding a day. That was the night-time feeding. Those are my fondest memories. I felt so close to my sweet little son in those wee hours. It was by far the easiest because I could just lay on my side and tuck him in next to me. I loved how it was just me and him. That's not creepy, is it? The rest of the time he was on formula. After he weaned himself, I noticed that his growth slowed. Not bad or anything, but he was growing as fast as he was. It definitely helps.

Oh, and one more piece of advice.....caffeine is passed through your milk and chocolate has caffeine in it. take it from someone who's baby was so hopped up on caffeine that he didn't sleep for 3 days.....if you eat a bunch of chocolate or drink caffeine (usually around holidays), express your milk and toss it. You do not want to have to deal with a baby that is tired but can't sleep!

Oh, and I'm all for the privacy thing. I have a friend that would just go to her car and nurse if we were out somewhere.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 6:33PM
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Hey Doodle....I remember being told to drink a large glass of water each time I breast feed the babes. I also would put warm wash clothes across the top of my chest to help the milk let down.

You are getting some really good advice here. How wonderful to have so many woman to resource.

I am so excited for you to have this little girl in your arms. What a blessing.

My daughter would follow me around the room with her eyes when she was getting hungry. It was so cute. I would tell her..."Mama gots the groceries baby!"

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 9:42PM
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You ARE getting some good advice here. I'm not one of those "hard core" breast feed only moms (because there are tons of very healthy formula babies out there), but I was successful at it, and for a good long time (by US standards, anyways!). The best suggestion I got from one of the nurses in the hospital was this: If you want your milk to really come in fully, DO NOT supplement with formula. Breast milk production is all supply and demand. So, even if your milk isn't in, put your baby to breast frequently. Your body will "sense" the demand, and thus increase your prolactin level and produce more milk. I suppose another way to accomplish this would be to pump (if you decide to supplement). Your baby wont be hungry 2 hours after formula, so you'll have to pump. I'd also recommend in renting or buying a VERY GOOD breast pump. Medela makes the grade, turbo pumps. I could pump 8 ounces in 10 minutes, no problem.

If I remember of any more "pearls of wisdom", I'll be back to share them.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 11:08PM
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Wow. Thanks so much for all the insight! Drinking tons of water isn't something you'd associate immediatly with breast feeding.
Thanks for the insight Ashley.

Also if I am successful at BF'ing we intend on buying a really good pump when it's time for me to go back to work. Right now I just have a little rinky-dink single pump, bought at the drugstore kindof setup:) I hear from everyone that Medela is the best.

i hope it works out for us! I'm excited to see how it goes. I'm getting impatient in my final month:)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 1:29PM
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Another thing...

I was on maternity leave for about 10 weeks. By the time DD was about 2 weeks old, nursing was no problem. We had it down to a science. I started pumping once or twice a day, in between feedings and freezing it. By the time I went back to work, we had a good supply frozen. I was also able to pump once or twice during the work day, when I went back. Her sitter was perfectly comfortable with thawing & feeding her breast milk. So it worked out well. It also allowed me to be able to leave the house without baby in tow, and Dad could feed her. I could shop, have lunch with the girls, etc...and not have to worry about getting back to feed her if she got hungry. It (pumping between feeds) was also GREAT for boosting milk production.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 9:24PM
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