Breastfeeding hasn’t always been easy for me, but I’m so glad that I persevered and made breastfeeding work for me.
Because in being a breastfeeding mother and a student of lactation and advocacy, I have come to learn through fact and experiences that breastfeeding is amazing for families – not just nutritionally, but for nurture, learning, and connection.
Watch me lift my 16 month old youngest Silly Bear to my breast on demand, though, and you’d probably think, as others have commented,
“Wow, that seems so easy for you – he latches right on! I wish it were that easy when I tried!”
It Hasn’t Always Been Easy
I’ve been nursing for nearly four years now, and though it seems that nursing comes easy to me, believe me, I’ve seen my share of challenges. From getting Abbey back to the breast during a NICU stay when she was newly born, to judgement from a superior about breast exposure in my role as a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, to a demanding, difficult nursing dynamic from my older child when I was pregnant with our second Silly Bear, and everywhere in-between.
I’ve been told that I was starving my child by an ignorant M.D. I’ve been told that I was disgusting for nursing my babies past infancy. I’ve been told that I’ll spoil my babies by nursing them on demand. I’ve even been chastised for feeding my children at the breast in public (I have also been commended for this). But I know via fact and experience that this negativity is pure ignorance, and I wouldn’t ever change my decision to bless my children’s tummies, hearts, and little lives with my milk and my comfort. Despite the challenges I have faced, the decision to be dedicated to nursing my children is one that I am incredibly proud of.
Feeding Tummies, Hearts, and Minds
Holding my children at my breast feeds them with more than just ideal nutrition – it feeds their hearts to know love and comfort, and it feeds their minds to understand respect, compassion, and boundaries, too.
A breastfeeding relationship is more than a feeding implement. It’s a beautiful, challenging, and dynamic learning experience for mother and child, designed to nourish, teach, and nurture both mother and child.
- This is why I advocate for feeding children at the breast – because breastfeeding is important. It’s more than just awesome nutrition – it’s a formative experience for mother, child, and family – giving protection from illnesses, a soft place to run for comfort, and an education to love, patience, and nurture.
- This is why I breastfeed my children, and why I am not ashamed or embarrassed to do so. This is why I tell my friends about the enormous benefits to nursing. This is why I offer my help to anyone I meet with a little nursling or a baby on the way.
Because I would like to see every mother, child, and family blessed by the wonder that is nutrition, nourishment, and nurture at the breast. Against any and all societal ignorance, in the face of misinformation and greed, and through struggles and adverse conditions: I want to see every mother, child, and family blessed by the beauty that is breastfeeding.
Whatever I can do to make that dream closer to a reality, I will do for moms and their families. I’m blessed to have had experience working and learning as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor in Texas, excited to be studying and working toward volunteer breastfeeding support here in Maine, and looking forward to continuing my studies to qualify for the IBCLC Exam and turn helping families embrace and succeed at breastfeeding into a career.
What is your reaction to the knowledge that breastfeeding is more than just nutrition?