Magical Memories of Breastfeeding

Every mother who has ever breastfed her baby has a few memories that really stand out from the ocean of her nursing experience. Hopefully for you those moments were truly breastfeeding-friendly. As you may know, I was motivated to start this site as a resource for others who might have had an UNfriendly breastfeeding experience, as I did, and ultimately as an aid in creating a more breastfeeding-friendly world. I’m happy to share that while that experience was a formative one for me as a breastfeeding advocate, it is the opposite of the beautiful memory that I will share here. For me, a middle of the night nursing session just this past weekend snuck up and surprised me as what I’m betting will go down as one of my favorite breastfeeding memories of all time.

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My Bittersweet World Breastfeeding Week 2012

It’s so exciting to feel the incredible sisterhood of breastfeeding supporters celebrating our natural means of caring for our little ones during World Breastfeeding Week. Had I never experienced breastfeeding mistreatment firsthand, I would probably not be as tickled by all the hoopla of breastfeeding advocacy that makes early August so fun. If I had the time, I could have spent long hours the last two days immersed in the sea of pro-breastfeeding messages, youtube videos, blog posts, GE’s Olympics commercial, and more floating around the Internet.

So, when asked how I was celebrating World Breastfeeding Week (by the Breastfeeding Blog Hop), I convinced baby we should pause the 10th replay of this sweet video long enough to compose a couple thoughts:

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Permission to Eat Please

This week’s Breastfeeding Blog Hop question is “Should you (or would you) ask permission to nurse in public?”

If you’ve read about my experience nursing my newborn at a Pottery Barn store, you know that I didn’t ask permission from the store manager before quieting my fussy baby by discreetly meeting his needs. Minutes later, the manager proceeded to ask me to nurse in their bathroom because there were “children in the store.” Yes, including my very hungry baby who I was quietly nursing until she interrupted us.

It never made sense to me to request permission to nurse in public and I never have. That is not to say I haven’t chosen private or semi-private places over public at various points in my breastfeeding years. I have, but usually to better meet the needs of my baby. For example, if baby was in an easily-distracted stage, I generally chose the calmest setting in which to nurse him.

Discussions about nursing in public tend to focus on the breastfeeding mother. Naturally so, since she is the one making the decision whether or not to breastfeed her baby in a setting where others might be. But what about the perspective of the baby? After all, the reason a woman breastfeeds her baby is because the baby needs to eat to thrive. So, I’m turning this question baby-ward and reframing it as:

“Should you (or would you) ask permission to eat in public, little one?”

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Breastfeeding Bliss: A Photo Celebration

This week Breastfeeding Blog Hoppers are discussing how they are doing in terms of their breastfeeding goals. This post is part of the weekly Breastfeeding Blog Hop, hosted by The Slacker Mom, and co-hosted by The Gnome’s Mom and Happiness Redefined. Please visit The Slacker Mom to see the linky list and read everyone’s entries, as WordPress.com can’t show it here.

I am blessed with a dreamy breastfeeding situation right now. I’m at the point where we’re on cruise control. Baby is nearly two years old and nurses a few times a day and generally not at night. Breastfeeding bliss!

This is my third and, as far as I know, final baby, so I am enjoying my reality, finding meditative moments in our quiet nursing sessions, aware that the breastfeeding chapter of my life is nearing its end. So my personal breastfeeding goal is to continue meeting my baby’s nursing needs and enjoy every moment left! Here are some of my favorite pictures of my babies breastfeeding that capture some of our breastfeeding bliss over the years.

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Birth of a ​Breastfeeding Advocate

This post is part of the weekly breastfeeding blog hop, hosted by The Slacker Mom, and co-hosted by The Gnome’s Mom and Happiness Redefined. This week’s topic is “What Breastfeeding Advocacy Means to Us.” Please visit The Slacker Mom to see the linky list and read everyone’s entries, as WordPress.com can’t show it here.

This week’s topic is dear to my heart. I was lucky to find help and recover from a rocky start to breastfeeding (see this post) and graduate from sweating-like-crazy nervousness while nursing in public to blissful comfort and ease. Then, I had an experience that shook my breastfeeding world and launched me into breastfeeding advocacy. This is my story. (The following is excerpted and slightly adapted from the About page at Breastfeeding Friendly.)

On a cold March evening, I paused to nurse my hungry baby while shopping at a Pottery Barn store. The store manager approached and asked me to stop breastfeeding my seven-week-old baby. I was shocked and deeply disturbed that such ignorance could interrupt a baby’s basic human need being met. Such mistreatment could even upset a woman to the point that she limits or stops breastfeeding her baby altogether, increasing health risks to her and her baby.

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A Breastfeeding-Friendly Approach to Pediatric Care Raises Breastfeeding Rates

Rates of breastfeeding are deeply affected by the support a breastfeeding mother receives – starting with her husband or other adults closely involved in the baby’s care. A key part of a woman’s breastfeeding village is her baby’s pediatric office. In the United States, new parents typically visit pediatric offices five times for well-child visits in the baby’s first six months, compared to one or two postpartum checkups with the woman’s prenatal care-giver.

So how important is the role of the pediatric office in encouraging breastfeeding of its patients? According to a study conducted by a doctoral student at the University of Virginia’s School of Nursing, very important. Sharon Corriveau applied a clinical protocol developed by the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine to a pediatric office. The office trained staff to support breastfeeding, hired a board-certified lactation nurse, eliminated  formula promotions, encouraged mothers to breastfeed, and improved insurance coverage of breastfeeding-related services for their patients.

The findings were impressive. Continue reading

Learning to Let Go (and the Benefit of a Good Let Down)

This post is part of the weekly breastfeeding blog hop, hosted by The Slacker Mom, and co-hosted by The Gnome’s Mom and Happiness Redefined. This week’s topic is “How Often Do You Nurse?” Please visit The Slacker Mom to see the linky list and read everyone’s entries, as WordPress.com can’t show it here.

How often do you nurse sounds like a simple question. For me, I learned the hard way how important it is to respond to baby’s needs. If you simply want the frequency, skip to the bottom. If you want to go along for a ride with me down memory lane, welcome:

The day after my first baby was born, I was high on life, jazzed from birthing him and meeting the new love of my life. The effects of the crazy-long (68 hour), super-exhausting labor had not fully kicked in, and the flood of post-partum mothering hormones were working wonders on me. To top it off, I was a natural at breastfeeding. Or so I thought.

Little one was actually not so little. He weighed in at 9 pounds, 12 ounces. Being such a big guy meant he was really hungry and wanted to nurse a lot. But I was clueless about the specifics of breastfeeding and did my best to stave off the formula-pushing nurses in the postpartum unit, who were decades behind the angels in labor and delivery. So I simply nursed baby every couple of hours for 20 minutes on each side, as instructed. After all, I had spent the first thirty years of my life as a good Type-A personality and thrived off doing things by the book.

But baby wanted more than that. Much more. My sore nipples didn’t think he could want to nurse that much. So his daddy patiently wore a path in the hospital room floor. Continue reading