In Their Own Words: Chris Ortiz
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Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies

In Their Own Words: Chris Ortiz

Sweet Pea Births supports Black Breastfeeding Week August 25-31
Sweet Pea Births supports Black Breastfeeding Week August 25-31
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.
 
SPB: 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.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
 
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 race.
 
SPB:  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 to us.
 
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. 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
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 universal.  
 
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 posted. 

Black Breastfeeding Week

Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival

Breastfeeding Awareness Month

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®.

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