Excuse me if it seems like I’m pointing out the obvious here, but being “baby friendly” sure sounds a lot like “Attachment Parenting” to me… and a recommendation to adopt those practices coming from DOCTORS, not just other “crunchy” parents. It also highlights one of the lesser acknowledged post-birth obstacles that can occur in hospitals, as well as the gaps in support, information sharing and most of all, empowerment.
Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.― Ina May Gaskin, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Learn more via their short video here:
I have struggled with body issues along with every other female that has made it through her teenage years. I have felt fat, but mostly been too skinny most of my life. (Kids in Jr. High called me “Skeletor” and sometimes “Daddy Long Legs” when they were feeling nicer.) My point is that everyone has struggled in some way with body issues and felt “too ____”. No one is exempt. We are fed images by peers and media of what we and our births are “supposed” to be like, which leads to feeling disappointment and then shame when those unattainable standards remain out of reach and it reflects directly on how we view ourselves & our capabilities.
My very first post was written while I was pregnant and fueled by a passion for women knowing their power to birth, followed by this one and this one, too. It is critical that we change the conversation and information out there from perpetuating the myth that women aren’t equipped to birth & breastfeed their children. We are undeniably able to produce children- no amount of money can trick us out of that. But the miracle doesn’t stop with pregnancy.
To know our bodies are capable of completely creating a perfectly assembled human body– and somehow think it could not know how to get it out and provide nutrition for it- is one of the nonsensical, misleading & dangerous mindsets clouding the vision of women today.
In fact, the body is so prepared to continue nourishing the body it has worked so hard and long to create, that choosing not to breastfeed can confuse the body into thinking the baby has died; which obviously, can lead do even deeper feelings of guilt and depression. It seems as if the entire set-up of hospital birthing is to convenience the staff while setting up mothers for immense challenges. (I hesitate to say failure, as I my point is that SO many people unwittingly fall into these “boob-y traps” set by a framework they’re taught to trust & rely on. Anyone doing the best with what they can, when they can should be commended, not pigeonholed & judged. My goal is to encourage, not discourage!)
Birth and breastfeeding are what female bodies are made for. In fact, men only have nipples because in earlier times, if the mother died, the father could still breastfeed and the baby and it wouldn’t follow suit. Mother Nature (or God, if that suits you better) is smarter and better equipped than doctors, formula companies and well meaning friends & family. So are our bodies. We should learn to trust them both.
Making my breastfeeding goal, as well as having trusted my body through four natural births, makes me PROUD, amazed and confident in my body and the healthy baby boy it has produced and sustained. (With a little help from my SO 😉 I hope that me accomplishing my goals can help shine a light for others to see that they can do they same.
There is one way to do anything in this world: DON’T STOP. It’s how to finish marathons, save money or develop any new skill. I’m not superhuman, I’m a super human- and so are you.; I’ve endured sleepless nights, cried in frustration, had sore nipples, thrush and plenty of other hang ups along my breastfeeding journey- but I didn’t stop. I got help from a lactation consultant. I kept nursing, kept trying, confident that I have been doing what is best for my son; no amount of advertising, free formula, well-meaning relatives or ill-educated strangers are going to convince me otherwise. In fact, I hope by continuing to breastfeed (and post photos and blog about it) with confidence, I hope to do just the opposite and do some education myself. 🙂 *I recognize that breasts that produce adequate milk is a privilege I enjoy and that some mothers are unable -despite massive effort- to breastfeed and that it’s not as simple as troubleshooting and persistence for some, but both of those things still help in any given situation, from finding a local milk bank or deciding which formula is healthiest and most affordable.
We’ve made it six months! I didn’t give him food today and I don’t have a plan for when I will. (Except that I’ll be making it and posting the tutorials and recipes! 😉 If I’ve learned anything in my experiences in life and as a parent, it’s to have faith in myself and take everything one step at a time. If you are breastfeeding, you are not alone and there is always support! I encourage you to contact La Leche League right away if you are having problems, or find a supportive community (like Boobfood!) to connect and find support with other mothers. I created Boobfood and this blog to facilitate communication, information and support for not only myself, but those who want to, well, progress, with me.
I appreciate all of the support I’ve been given & hope to give it right back to you! Thank you so much for participating- it truly takes a village to raise a child & I appreciate you being in mine. ♥