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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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

What’s the big deal?

Welcome, Breastfeeding Blog Hop readers! Here is my contribution to this week’s hop, hosted by the Slacker Mom (see links to everyone’s submissions at the bottom of hers), The Gnome’s Mom, and Happiness Redefined. The topic this week is a free-for-all.

After a four-year hiatus from my 1-day foray into blogging, I am coming out of early retirement to share this breaking news:

My 1-year-old just doesn’t get what the big deal is! Why are people (the tall sort – you know, over 36 inches or so) all in a tizzy about breastfeeding in public or in uniform or on a magazine cover or whatever?

Baby-boo, as he’s sometimes known around here, climbed into my lap this morning. His eyes curiously roved the laptop in front of me. His finger pointed at the child nursing from Jamie Lynne Grumet’s breast on the cover of Time, and he exclaimed, “Baby!” A big smile spread across his face.

“Baby! Baby!”

He was delighted to recognize one of his own.

I was amazed. I clarified, “Is that a baby or a big boy?” I figured he’s fascinated with his two big brothers – ages 5 and 8 – and everything that goes with their territory, from Legos to doing “stand-up” pee-pee. He ought to recognize a big boy. Continue reading

Breastfeeding in Public – Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

No doubt you’ve noticed recent images of women breastfeeding on the newsstands or on your computer. Time magazine’s May 12, 2012, cover of a woman breastfeeding her preschooler and the more recent pictures of two women in military uniforms breastfeeding their babies have triggered a loud discussion.

Whatever your stance on breastfeeding, child-led weaning, breastfeeding in uniform/on the job, breastfeeding as depicted by the media and ad campaigns, etc., there is one thing no one can argue: we’re seeing mothers breastfeeding their young and we’re discussing it. Heck, we’re even seeing a mother breastfeeding twins! Breastfeeding is on the public map and that is a very good thing. The more opportunities we have to discuss nature’s design for human survival and how to facilitate that, the better off we’ll be as a species.

Here are a few of my favorites items on the recent news flurry over breastfeeding: Continue reading