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Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies

From Covered to Confident

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center 

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***


Breastfeeding was never a question in my mind.  Some of my earliest memories as a toddler are of my mother breastfeeding my younger sister, and as a teenager, I got to watch and learn as she breastfed my brothers.  Although I didn’t know anyone else who was breastfeeding, I knew it as a fact: it happened and worked.  I never had any other options in my mind.

Fast-forward several years and my husband and I are enrolled in a childbirth class.  We talk about breastfeeding, and as part of the coursework we attend a La Leche League meeting.  In addition, our instructor is still nursing, and she very matter-of-factly nurses her daughter when she needs to be nursed.

Once our daughter was born, I got advice in the hospital to help establish our breastfeeding relationship.  I had to use the lovely nipple shells to encourage my nipples to pop out and to protect them from the scratchy texture of the hospital gowns.  My husband had fun making fun of my “Madonna cones” as he called them.  I was too tired and too ecstatic from our birth experience to care.  Looking back, he is really lucky that I didn’t fall apart into a heaping, sobbing mess over that!

Other than the two La Leche League meetings I attended, I did not see too many other breastfeeding MotherBaby pairs when we were out and about, moving along with our lives as parents of a newborn.  Thankfully, the first time we tired to nurse in public, my girlfriend noticed another woman nursing and she helped me emulate the way she covered herself and her baby with a receiving blanket, and the way she sat and situated herself with her baby.  I still remember breaking out into a sweat, wondering if our daughter was going to scream or latch to my still very sore and engorged breast.  With my friend’s assistance, it all went well and I continued to nurse in public without incident.

                         (Image courtesy of one of our students)

My husband was also a great support when it came to nursing in public.  Our Bradley™ teacher shared a great tip that we used with great success.  Her suggestion was for the coach to form a circle of protection around the MotherBaby.  If a coach had his arm around his partner and child, it was less likely for people to complain about the mother nursing in public.  In addition, it was a nice way to reinforce the family bond and to offer comfort and confidence to the mother who was getting acclimated to breastfeeding itself, let alone under the occasional disdainful look from a passerby.

I feel like I am now paying it forward by teaching other families about the advantages and benefits of breastfeeding.  We also have the opportunity to introduce all the different forms of a breastfeeding relationships: breast to baby, pumping, supplementing with human milk, wet nursing…we get to show families that there are lots of options outside of formula supplementation.  In addition, now that we are Bradley™ instructors, I get to provide a comprehensive resource list to our students who need help along the breastfeeding journey and the development of the relationship that best fits for their family.

When our fourth child was born, we went right on teaching classes.  By this time, I had learned how to nurse without feeling like I needed to hide behind a nursing cover.  Inevitably, once our babies got more active, the first thing that graduated out of the diaper bag was the nursing cover.  Without intention, that was the one item that never made it back in the back after baby number three stopped using it.  We live in Arizona, so it is hot, uncomfortable and after I gained more confidence nursing in public, superfluous.  I found that I used it for other people’s comfort.  As it turns out, I draw less attention breastfeeding discreetly with no cover than I do with a baby that trying to cool off by flapping a huge piece of cloth around.


I asked my husband if he had any reservations about me nursing in front of our male students without a cover.  He had absolutely none, so we went resolutely forward with public nursing while in front of an audience.  After the fact, we got some positive feedback from the mamas who were students in the three classes that got to see this relaxed, confident, unapologetic breastfeeding.  To a person, all who commented felt that the casual approach demonstrated to their husbands that nursing in public did not have to be a big deal.  They saw our happy, sweet baby who was fed and kept skin-to-skin.  Those alumni are some of the most dedicated nursers, and babywearing-est friendly families we have taught.

The obstacle that persists in our goal to normalize breastfeeding continues to be two-fold in my view.  You have the mainstream view of breasts as marketing tools and sex toys.  You also have the “mommy-wars” that are quick to pit breastfeeding mothers versus formula feeders, as if there are no other options available. 

We must rise in the face of being called “angry boob floppers” and being told we are forcing psychological harm to our children.  One by one, we can show the benefits of breastmilk by continuing to go about our business of breastfeeding our children.  When the opportunity presents itself, we can educate onlookers and commenters about our choice to breastfeed.  There is no need to stoop to name-calling in reverse.  We know that our children are amazing, and beneficiaries of an unmistakable advantage.  Instead of being smug about it, let’s make it a point to normalize all the delivery systems of human milk. 

As a community, let’s commit to demonstrate what we want to be “normal”, and then take the time to educate and support all mothers in their feeding choices.  If they didn’t feed with human milk this time around, let’s open a window of insight to the possibilities available. With gentle words and loving support, maybe they will make an informed decision to walk through the door and down the path of a breastfeeding relationship next time.

What are your thoughts on nursing in public?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.
 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.





***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)

  • Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at NursingFreedom.org, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to's to handling the social stigma.
  • Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
  • In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.  
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
  • Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.  
  • Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
  • Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn't get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
  • Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
  • Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
  • Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
  • Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
  • Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
  • Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old's case of pink eye.  
  • Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
  • My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
  • My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think "A-B-C-D-E"Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby's arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as "A-B-C-D-E": Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
  • Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
  • Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
  • A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding - the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
  • From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding - what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
  • Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
  • How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.

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