August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month
I work daily as a receptionist and I see and hear lots of things go on among people who sit a wait in the waiting room or mill around near me. One thing that I don’t see very often is a woman breastfeeding. We don’t have anywhere for moms to nurse privately and unless they want to sit in the kids play area on the floor, there isn’t anywhere discrete to do so.
BUT, the other day a mother with her 2 week old newborn were in the waiting room and she nursed openly. She wasn’t flashing the world but she wasn’t trying to conceal it either.
Two coworkers were standing at my desk and one turned to us and said,”Is that woman breastfeeding in the waiting area?!”
When I confirmed that yes, indeed she is, I got the incredulous stare, like “can you believe her?”
I said, “You mean like she should be? Like mothers are supposed to feed their babies?” I wanted to go on and say “Because we don’t have anywhere for her to do it privately even if she preferred to?” I always think of good stuff to say later.
Then, the backtracking started… “Yeah, ya know I hear it’s good for mom and baby…” Yeah.
The not so funny thing is that in the, maybe, 3 times I have seen it done in my 6 years of being a receptionist here, every single time, I get the same comments from both men and women. Every time it makes me want to go high five the mother who is feeding her baby in our waiting area.
A funny thing about this situation is that I am not a successful nurser and I REALLY don’t like doing it. I have had 3 children and I have nursed them as long as possible but it is never enough. I always try to hold out for the first month. That first long, terrible, Postpartum depression inflamed month. Then the doctor says, “Why don’t you supplement a few feedings?” Because my stress level is through the roof and my kids are losing weight. I have tried everything, but I really don’t like breastfeeding because I cannot disassociate the stress that it has caused me. However, I feel it is the very best thing I can do to start off my kids right, so I do it. I even made it a full 6 months with my youngest, even if it was only one or two feedings a day.
Why do I think this is what I should Breastfeed? 6 Reasons:
1. The nutrients and immunity that I pass along to my baby cannot be replicated. Our bodies are meant to feed our children. Mothers make the perfect food with all of the essentials for their babies body. The colostrum that precedes the actual milk is essential for a baby who has just entered the world. It is species specific, offers immunities that a baby needs born into the world sterile and encourages the passing of meconium, which allows the stomach to stretch and take in more milk that is essential for growth and development.
Did you know that when your baby is around sick people that s/he has no natural immunities built to protect them from getting sick? Your body does. When you feed your child, you pass along the immunity that you have built up in your body on to them.
Also, say your baby catches something that you do not have. When your baby latches on to you, your body recognizes that it needs to create an attack. Your body creates antibodies to what your child has and passes it on to the baby. Pretty amazing, right?
Breast Milk also has antibacterial properties that can treat things like pink eye, ear infections, cuts/scrapes. Totally weird but true.
2. It doesn’t cost anything! You can nurse for free. Formula is SUPER expensive.
3. It’s convenient. When you are breastfeeding, you don’t have to worry about where to keep it, how to carry it, where you are going to warm it up at or if it will go bad before you use it.
4. Nursing your child does add a little something to the bonding experience, especially that very first time they latch on. It’s like “Wow, this little one is here in my arms now and I am feeding them and being their Momma!” It doesn’t get old no matter how many you have.
5. There are studies that show that children who breastfeed for at least 6 months are set up for better life-long health.
6. If there were to be an apocalypse, your children will not starve. I know that the odds are stacked against you for other reasons, and laugh if you want, but this is a very real reason in my mind. I love The Walking Dead and between that and reading World War Z, the zombie apocalypse is literally on my mind daily. What are they feeding Judith? Anyone else wonder this???
Like I said before, I don’t enjoy nursing much. There are times when it works really well and I find satisfaction in it, but my anxiety and stress usually get it the way. I encourage it 100%, but I don’t look down on anyone who doesn’t do it. I get it. I don’t want anyone judging me because I don’t enjoy it or because I can’t Exclusively Breastfeed for the first year and beyond. The formula that we have these days is amazing and I am thankful for what it has given my children.
If you are interested, I have written a series on my breastfeeding journey over at Worthington Lower:
La Leche League International http://www.llli.org/
The Breastfeeding Resource Center http://www.breastfeedingresourcecenter.org/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/resources/guide.htm
Kelly Mom http://kellymom.com/
World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action http://www.waba.org.my/
International Breastfeeding Journal http://www.internationalbreastfeedingjournal.com/
United States Breastfeeding Committee http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/
Work and Pump http://www.workandpump.com/ Great Resource for Pumpin Mommas!!!
The Leaky Boob https://www.facebook.com/TheLeakyBoob A Facebook group
International Lactation Consultants http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3432
World Health Organization http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
Low Milk Supply http://www.lowmilksupply.org/
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine http://www.bfmed.org/
Please comment with any other useful information or resources!