Did you know this week is World Breastfeeding Week with the theme being mother’s support. I think breastfeeding has come a long way, but we can all do our part to support breastfeeding mothers.
I’ve experienced all kinds of breastfeeding issues and prejudice if you will.
When I had my first son, I was so adamant that I and I alone would only nurse him that I did not purchase any bottles before having him. My body had other plans. When my baby was two days old, I came down with the most painful malady ever, even more so than the childbirth which was still fresh in my mind — mastitis. I reluctantly allowed hubby to give my precious baby a bottle (he had to run to the store in the middle of the night) and went off to take a long shower, followed by a long nap. I tried to nurse through it, but the pain was just too great and I was so sick that I soon stopped breastfeeding all together. It is a decision that I cried a lot over and still kind of haunts me, but now looking back I know it was the right one at the time. Those first couple of weeks of breast milk obviously worked their magic as my oldest son is now a smart, intelligent , athletic, healthy 12 year old young man.
Pregnant with my second son, I knew I wanted to breastfeed again, but I had no grand illusions of how easy it would be. The rose colored specs were off! I purchased bottles and formula to have on hand just in case, but they weren’t necessary at all. Cam nursed like a champ! No mastitis this time around although I did decide to supplement him with a bottle of pumped breastmilk when I was out in public. Sadly, Cameron self weaned at about 7 months old refusing to take the breast. My middle son was my sickly child. While a very easy baby, he had chronic ear infections, numerous allergies and infant asthma. Thankfully, he has outgrown much of these and now only suffers a few allergies. He is a strong, highly intelligent boy.
When I had my last baby, Logan, I knew that I would breastfeed again. Breast is best after all! And, breastfeed I did — for almost 20 months! He refused to take a bottle so I fed him anytime, any place, anywhere! It’s been a month or so since he’s been completely weaned and as ready as I was to stop that last bedtime feed, I’ll admit that I do miss it. He was not the best eater of solid foods, hence why I nursed him for so long. I’ve found that he is getting a little more adventurous and curious about food these days. He, just like his brothers, is a strong, smart and very strong willed little boy.
I’ve found that you get looks whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding in public. I should know because I’ve done both. Unless you know the situation, don’t judge but simply try and offer support when you see a mother feeding her baby. La Leche has a list of helpful suggestions for mothers, fathers, employers and just about everyone to help support breastfeeding mothers:
- give a mother the phone number of an LLL Leader.
- tell a first-time breastfeeding mother she is doing just fine.
- bring the new mother a nutritious snack and a big glass of water.
- as an employer, accommodate a mother’s need to pump with a private comfortable space.
- as the baby’s father, intercede with family and friends so that mother and baby can feel confident
- write to legislators to support the enactment of laws supporting paid maternity leave and mother-friendly workplaces.
- contact an emergency relief organization and request training to help in emergency situations, especially in breastfeeding support.
- take care of your health and nutritional needs during pregnancy and lactation.
- set up or join a network of lactation experts in your community.
- provide transportation to a mother to attend an LLL meeting or visit a lactation consultant.
- advocate for legislation that enacts the provisions of the WHO/UNICEF Code of Marketing.
- ask for support and offer support to others.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week!
FYI: the boobs title is a shameless plug for hit to my blog!