My breastfeeding journey isn’t unlike that of many other women. I had some good days, some triumphs, disappointments and regrets. In retrospect, I realize I didn’t do my due diligence as an expecting mother. I knew I WANTED to breastfeed and that was it. I thought it was something that would come automatically. After all isn’t breastfeeding natural? Boy was I in for a surprise. Although I breastfed my son until he was about 9 months; I weaned after returning to work and starting nursing school; I was unable to produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed. Why you may ask? I didn’t understand supply and demand. What’s worse, women who for whatever reason, don’t breastfeed exclusively face an ever growing stigma. They feel like bad mothers.
This weekend during the premiere of BREASTMILK, we were introduced to women from various social economic backgrounds and cultures that faced a similar dilemma. Women that felt scrutinized and unsupported at work, at home, and in public. Think about it for a moment:
* If you were returning to work, would you be able to pump every 2-3 hours, in a stress free, clean room (cannot be a bathroom)?
* At the hospital, did your nurses encourage formula?
* Did you leave the hospital with a gift bag filled with formula?
* Do you give women who breastfeed in public strange looks?
* Do you have a support system?
Women in our society have so many options and we should support each other’s decisions. We don’t know what difficulties someone is facing until we walk in their shoes. My lactation instructor Gini Baker, would always say “You did the best you could, with what you knew”. This is a part of the reason I have chosen to work with pregnant women. To pass on the information I’ve learned on my own journey.
Breastmilk is BEST. Nothing manufactured can compare to it. I am an avid supporter of doing so exclusively. There are so many resources available to help you on your journey. Seek the help of a IBCLC or CLC. La Leche League has weekly free meetings. If you’re having difficulty, don’t quit and don’t face it alone. Find a group of supporters; after all, they don’t say it takes a “Village” for nothing!
Breasfeeding Week is August 1-7.
Momma of 1, RN and CLC (certified lactation counselor) and founder of The Village Maternity Services.
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