A Big Day for Baby, Birth & Breastfeeding

Today is the 4th of June, which means my littlest man is 6 months old!This is significant to me for a few reasons. First, because the first 6 months are a bit like running a gauntlet, where you just have to love your baby who does nothing but poo, coo and cry as you battle sleep deprivation, hormones and a newly changed lives getting hurdled your direction. More importantly, this 6 month milestone is near and dear to my heart because, despite struggling with weight issues leftover from 9 months of Hyperemesis, PPD from losing my father a little over a year ago, a nursing strike and tons of well-meaning friends, family & strangers encouraging me to “Give that baby some FOOD!”…
Patrick and I have made it 6 months exclusively breastfeeding!
Not the best latch pic ever, but whatever.
He’s happy about it!
This is especially important because according a recent study, even though The World Health Organization AND the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend it, only 16% of breastfeeding mothers BF exclusively to 6 months– less than half even continue after they leave the hospital!
In 180-degree news from my own, today HuffPo also released an article on Why Breastfeeding Mothers Fall Short of Their Goals, which states,
“It’s alarming that 40 percent of healthy babies whose mothers wanted to exclusively breastfeed were nevertheless given formula in the hospital — and it underscores the low quality of care that’s provided in maternity hospitals in the U.S.,” said Dr. Alison Stuebe, an OB-GYN and assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina. Stuebe was not associated with the research.
While researchers found that formula supplementation was the only statistically significant factor influencing whether moms met their goals, Stuebe said it’s also important for moms to follow other “baby-friendly” policies, like maintaining skin-to-skin contact and staying with their baby 24 hours a day. She said these things can help establish milk supply, making supplementation unnecessary.”

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.

 should be in every L&D room!

In related, aptly timed, breaking news today; Ina May Gaskin, author and renown midwife, also announced her Kickstarter Campaign for Birth Story, a movie with a similar message,

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. ♥

 

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6 thoughts on “A Big Day for Baby, Birth & Breastfeeding

  1. I'm coming up to a year with my son. We had some problems at the beginning and my milk didn't come in properly until he was 4 weeks old. I am so grateful to my friends for feeding him and for supplying me with expressed breastmilk while I switch-fed, pumped and took every herbal, dietary and homoeopathic treatment going to increase my milk supply. It wasn't until a couple of months ago that I realised that funny bit of skin on his upper gum was a lip-tie. I also suspect he has some degree of tongue-tie. No one, midwife, doula, maternity nurse, lactation consultant even considered it a possible reason I didn't have enough milk/he wasn't bringing my milk in. Thank goodness I persevered. I wrote my story here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/robin-n-k%C5%8Dpi/our-breastfeeding-journey/10150658267298132All the best x

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  2. I will hit 6 months on Thursday!!! I had originally planned 3 months before having him. Then I had him (c-section, dammit) and we had latching issues and the stupid nurses decided to give him formula for his very 1st feeding. I took that as a challenge! I nursed him every meal after that for the next 3 months that I was home from work. Then went back to work and learned I could pump and keep him supplied at daycare! He has had formula 2 other times in his life, once when husband forgot to take the milk to daycare and ds got hungry before I could bring the milk during my break and once when daycare decided it was too much of a hassle to thaw out the frozen emergency bag she had-and has since been told NEVER to do again! I will hit the 6 month mark and now plan on passing it, mostly because of wonderful blogs like yours, Kellymom.com, my local LLL and Parenting. Illustrated with Crappy Pictures!! You all are wonderful! My family (husband and parents) have also been SUPER supportive so that has definitely been a bonus. Thanks for sharing your stories with us and keep it up!

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  3. Great post!! I didn't intend to raise my son with AP. It happened because we did what felt right and came naturally to us. It just so happens to align with many AP practices. Keep posting and sharing your experiences! The only way to normalize breastfeeding is to talk about it! Congratulations on six months!

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