Thank you all for joining us for another amazing year of breastfeeding advocacy. Whether you joined us for the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival in July, or have read our posts throughout Breastfeeding Awareness Month this August, it is always an honor to walk this journey with you. (Links to all posts at the end of this interview.)
We close this month's advocacy with a very fitting voice. We teach [partner]-coached childbirth classes. Today's guest is Chris Ortiz, a Bradley™ Coach and Dad from our Fall 2013 class. He is sharing his perspective on breastfeeding with not only as a breastfeeding dad, but as part of the partnership in a black family.
When did you first become aware that breastfeeding might be something you
wanted to support Katherine in?
CO: We always felt that
breastfeeding would be an important experience to raising our child, but I
really think it was the Bradley™ classes and reading "The Womanly Art of
Breastfeeding," that helped solidify and validate our reasons and
introduce some new ones. We were attracted to breastfeeding from the start
because it's a natural part of having a baby and a free source of nourishment.
The Bradley Method® and various literature educated us in the long term health
benefits for our baby and the strong bond created between mother and child,
which we also felt was important.
Tell me about your breastfeeding journey - how
long have you been breastfeeding? Did you have any difficulties (getting
started, with teething, nursing strikes, etc.)? How did you support your wife
and daughter get past the learning curve?
CO: We feel very lucky that
Sedona was quick to pick up breastfeeding, and eight months later we're glad
she hasn't produced any teeth and is still eager and joyful to get milk from
the breast! For our occasional questions we attended La Leche League meetings, which
helped add perspective and clarity to our concerns. As a stay-at-home father,
many of the challenges have been my own (e.g., worries about over/under
feeding, milk supply, etc.). I found attending the La Leche meetings where
men/husbands were allowed to be extremely helpful. When I couldn't attend the
meetings, Kat would provide me with a detailed summary of what she learned.
SPB: Did you have any role models from the
black community that inspired you? If yes, who were they and how did they
affect your choice to support your wife and daughter in breastfeeding?
CO: We certainly faced a the
challenge of limited breastfeeding experience from our mothers and
breastfeeding role models in general. To close this gap we sought out mothers
we knew who had breastfeeding stories to share. And while I can't recall any specific
role model that made supporting Kat and Sedona easier, it felt good to hear and
read about celebrities who did support breastfeeding, no matter what their
Did you face any opposition about Katherine's choice to breastfeed? If
so, how did you handle the naysayers?
CO: It still surprises me
when we encounter people that are incredulous over the fact that we
choose not to use formula. I found myself explaining that we
have nothing against formula, but that our family simply prefers to breastfed.
If it goes further, I explain the extraordinary benefits of breastfeeding on
nutrition, bonding, and savings. That always seems to do the trick.
The biggest, or most consistent, opposition
I've encountered has been over our desire to breastfeed for at least 2 years.
At first it was a difficult position to defend, because I had my own concerns
about extended breastfeeding; specifically the challenge it could present for
my working wife who relies heavily on pumping and also because I found the evidence
on the benefits of breastfeeding after one year to be dubious. Ultimately, I
put my trust in Katherine's resolve and determination, and focus on the unique
bond that is being sustained by extended breastfeeding, which is very important
We also discovered that responding to
naysayers became a great way to educate the uninformed.
SPB: How has your experience affected you -
would you consider yourself an advocate or a resource for other families?
CO: Breastfeeding has been a
great experience. I love the bond between my wife and daughter. Sedona is
already a daddy's girl, but she and my wife covet their time together during
breastfeeding. We definitely feel as if we are advocates for breastfeeding, and
are proud that in our small circles, our friends consider us to be resources
for other families who want to breastfeed.
SPB: Tell me
about your goals going forward in regards to breastfeeding.
CO: We plan to continue
breastfeeding Sedona until she reaches 2 years.
SPB: What words
of advice would you offer to other fathers in the black community who want to
support the MotherBaby in breastfeeding?
CO: What should be an easy
and natural process for any family who has birthed a child, breastfeeding can quickly become an
arduous, complex, and stressful ordeal. And while every breastfeeding
experience is unique, some aspects, such as patience, pain, and practice seem
I would recommend that each parent seek out
support even before birth. La Leche League was instrumental in alleviating stress and
providing solutions--sometimes indirectly or through the questions/answers of
another mother or father.
As for the fathers, I would emphasize the
beauty and benefits of breastfeeding, and the patience, understanding, and
support that will be required daily.
How did the people around you support your choice to breastfeed?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and
Black Breastfeeding Week
Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival
Breastfeeding Awareness Month
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