Why I Advocate for Breastfeeding

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?

 

Have you experienced the power of breastfeeding in your family?

Comments

  1. I love it when you say “feeding tummies, hearts, and minds”, I seriously teared up reading that. Breastfeeding is so near and dear to my heart <3 Breastfeeding has been and is so much more than nutrition in our family. It has been such a source of comfort. I will never forget when our second child was teeny weeny and crying my son, then 3 yrs old, pulled up his shirt to feed her so that she would feel comforted. Thank you for this post and thank you for reminding me !

    • Aw, Thanks for the kind words, Angela! Breastfeeding meets all the vital needs of a small child. . . it’s an awesome, awesome power! :) That is SO sweet what your son did! Abbey (4) nurses her stuffed animals, and Joseph (19 months) has been asking me to nurse his “babies” too. It’s wonderful that our children will inherently know the power of breastfeeding when they grow up!

  2. So sweet, Amy. I didn’t realize you were working toward your IBCLC credential. You will be absolutely amazing in that role!

    I love your mention of how breastfeeding relationships help children to understand respect and boundaries, too. That aspect is not often discussed, but it’s so important. There’s no better opportunity for children to learn to respect and understand the body boundaries of others. Absolutely loved reading this :)

    • Thanks for the sweet words, Melissa! Yep, among the other things I’m busy with, IBCLC certification has been my longstanding goal since I was a WIC Breastfeeding Counselor in TX. I just LOVE working with moms and babies and helping families to see the power and peace that comes with meeting baby’s needs through breastfeeding. I’ve always wanted to do something meaningful, and now, I have a concrete goal to work toward! <3

      Only when I started nursing my toddlers and not just my babies in infancy did I really understand the benefit of a full term breastfeeding relationship on the establishment of boundaries and bodily integrity. It’s engrained in the nursing relationship – it’s really neat!

  3. Awesome post, Amy. Breastfeeding was SO hard for me in the beginning with my son. I was also told by a medical professional that I was starving him. It may be the most heartbroken I have ever felt as a mother so far. Breastfeeding takes a lot of effort, but luckily, it’s completely worth all of the work and I feel so lucky to now have spent two years breastfeeding my children.

    • It’s completely and totally heartbreaking when someone (especially someone wearing an important white coat!) tells you that you are starving your baby. It was a great relief when I realized that his judgement was based on misconceptions. Now, I want to do everything that I can to educate health professionals and the general public and encourage moms to be comfortable with talking about and sharing information about nursing!

  4. This is so lovely, breastfeeding rocks! – Jesse will be two this month and I still nurse on demand :)

Join the conversation! I blog to connect with YOU