Joe turned 2 this past Saturday. I feel like this picture says “Here’s looking at YOU, mom! I’m two and I love my milkies!”
Last Thursday, bloggers from around the world came together in a show of support for breastfeeding mothers. New mothers have enough challenges without having to feel guilty for how they feed their baby, especially when they are choosing the most natural of means – breastfeeding.
Over the last few days there has been a lot of heated debates, controversial posts, and social media outcry against the position that the Weston A. Price Foundation takes on breastfeeding. While they do present sound information on the ideal diet for a human adult, they do so in a manner that brings about guilt, fear, and confusion for mothers.
The bloggers who participated in the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party are not trying to create a divide between mothers. We simply want to offer support, in the form of blog posts, as to why breastfeeding should always be the first choice both for baby and mama.
We hope you take some time to read the posts that were written as part of the Blog Party. There are also over 140 posts linked up as part of this. Take some time to check them out here or link up your own breastfeeding support post!
Dionna at Code Name: Mama has come up with 40 ways that family, friends, coworkers and employers can support mothers who pump breastmilk, along with a ton of resources for you and the pumping mom in your life. There are also some fun graphics you can print and pass out, with 70% of all proceeds going to buy pumps for moms in domestic violence shelters!
Angela at EarthMamas World discusses a few of the most common problems that a mama may encounter while breastfeeding. Angela also shares natural remedies for each of these breastfeeding problems!
Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares ways breastfeeding and breastmilk are unique and special in a way only they can be.
Amy W. at Natural Parents Network shares 5 scientific reasons that mother’s milk is an unequaled form of nutrition and nurture: so awesome, and so unique!
Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares the questions (and answers) about breastfeeding she wished she had a friend to answer for her before becoming a mama.
Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter choose to breastfeed her children in part because it’s easier than bottle feeding, not to mention that it is the best nutrition for babies, that it has health benefits for both mother and child, that it encourages bonding, and of course that it’s free! Basically breastmilk is the ultimate convenience food.
When we feed our children human milk, we are feeding them an unequaled form of nutrition and nurture that helps them develop physically, emotionally, and socially. But in addition, we are equipping our children with an army immunological protectors to keep their busy systems as healthy as possible. Breastmilk is so awesome, and so unique! Nothing can compare to the biological, immunological, and digestive advantages of the perfect infant food coursing through a child’s body.
Come read about five (of the many) reasons breastmilk is the unequaled standard of infant nutrition in my post today at Natural Parents Network: Human Milk – So Awesome, So Unique!
This week has been rather crazy, with two illnesses (Abbey’s quite swift, and Joseph’s quite startling and sad), news that daddy is headed home from his boat with a broken foot (from playing street hockey with the guys from the boat), and me getting sick, too! In between all the craziness we had some fun play dates and dinners with our friends from the neighborhood, so all in all it was a good week.
I could have done without the sickness, though.
Oh, and I could have done without the snowstorm. I’m done with snow.
Abbey and Joe making faces and giggling incessantly while I worked on papers for my college classes.
Abbey making a funny face at our lunch date after Mass on Sunday. She and Joe love to make their own salads. Maybe her face is saying “Don’t steal my carrots!” LOL
Silly Joe and his friend Larry hiding with their juice cups
Our whole neighborhood gang of ruffigans showing off their table manners
Silly Kiddos dancing Dance Central on the X-Box at a friend’s house.
they were having so much fun!
I should have known we were destined for a sick-day when Joe was yawning like this at 8:10 AM.
Catching some comfort at mamas breast
(for the next 24 hours, he refused to nurse because it caused him too much pain to suck. Poor guy!)
He’s nursing again now
Toddler falls asleep at 9:00 AM. Theeeeeere’s your sign that he’s not feeling well.
Poor feverish boy
Abbey playing a Sophia the First game on my iPad while Joseph napped
(subsequent days of the illness, he did NOT nap. . . )
All wrapped up in three blankets after a warm comforting bath
Playing and starting to feel better.
That was our week! How was YOURS?!
We are taking (at least) a photo a day to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!
This weekend, I was published at Natural Parents Network, as a part of my authorship with the site. My article, Mothering in the Newborn Period, is a short list of reminders for the mom of a 0-3 month old to smooth over the transition of having a new little one, and it applies to all moms. Check it out!
I LOVE Natural Parents Network as a comprehensive, supportive place for current, honest, and authentic natural parenting advice and discussion.
If you haven’t checked out Natural Parents Network yet, please do! All moms, dads and other caregivers will be able to find something browsing through the site that will strike up interest and enhance a caregiving role.
I hope you and yours have had a WONDERFUL weekend!
Jamie at I am not the Babysitter is looking for adults who were breastfed as children (over 1 year of age, etc) to write about their experiences for the Extended Breastfeeding Project – designed to showcase the normalcy of nursing into toddlerhood and childhood and to demystify the results of extended breastfeeding.
If you would like to participate, you can read more about the project by following the link above and submit your information to the wonderful advocates who are putting this project together.
I as breastfed slightly into toddlerhood, about 14 months, and I’ll be writing about my experience, growing up just knowing that breastfeeding was the way moms fed their babies. . . if you were breastfed as a child, please consider contributing your voice!
Here is a frequent comment that I get when the conversation turns to breastfeeding and my experience with advocacy for nursing freedom (and the right of every mother and baby to nurse in public at will):
“Why is it such a big deal for mothers to do what mothers have done for their children for hundreds of thousands of years?”
I do an inner happy-dance when I hear that kind of response, because it indicates that the person speaking respects breastfeeding as a normal occurrence. YESSSSSSS! *happy dance*
I always respond with “I’m so glad that you see nursing as normal! Unfortunately, many others in our society misunderstand the normalcy of nursing and think that it is in some way inappropriate. Would you like to hear of some ways that you can help to re-educate people to understand that nursing is normal?”
So, what about YOU? Are you interested in some ways to educate to the normalcy of nursing and it’s importance for our culture’s public health? Here are a couple things you can do RIGHT NOW:
- Please take a few moments and sign the petition to develop and line of postage stamps that normalize breastfeeding!
- And while you’re at it, take just one more minute of your time and join with the United States Breastfeed Committee in welcoming a new session of Congress and reminding Congress that “breastfeeding saves dollars and makes sense!”
Thanks for your support! Normalizing nursing is so important to our culture’s public health and to our little ones and families. I hate hearing of even one mother looked down upon, given false information, or harassed because of their gift of nursing their baby. Let’s make a world where we don’t have to hear those stories anymore!!!!!
I have been writing some heavy and deep breastfeeding posts lately, and I thought I’d shake it up a bit and post a funny (but true) one!
I think #7 is my personal favorite. Comes in handy every day!
We were just talking at La Leche League the other day about how helpful and lovely it is for a baby/toddler/child to home HOME to mommy’s breast for comfort.
Doesn’t matter what the frustration is, HOME at mommy’s breast always satisfies and comforts!
Take a look and tell me what YOUR favorite “shallow” reason for breastfeeding is!
There is more breast exposed on the advertisements for Hollister clothing (and the promotional cards handed out for their sister-companies, A&F and Gilly Hicks) than the amount that a mother breastfeeding her child shows when nursing uncovered.
I mean, really. . .
|Nursing an Infant||Nursing an Older Infant||Nursing a Toddler|
I find it insanely ironic that Hollister Co. staunchly declined to issue an apology to the nursing mom that one of their managers harassed – even after hundreds of moms staged a nationwide nurse-in to educate and encourage them to do so- when their own advertising displays breasts in a much more inappropriate way than when a mother nurses her child.
Many people make statements about breastfeeding in public being OK “if the mom is being discreet” or “if mom is using a cover” – but discussion about nursing with or without a cover is actually totally immaterial, ethically AND legally.
A mother has a biological and social responsibility to feed her child/children.
If a mother nurses her child, she is fulfilling this responsibility, utilizing the primary purpose of the female breast: lactation.
Law has been written to protect the human right of a child to nurse (and a mother to nurse her child) – in many states, a mother is entitled to breastfeed her child wherever she is authorized to be.
Laws say nothing about covering. . .
it’s not a mother’s ethical responsibility to cover. . .
nursing is normal. . .
. . . so where does this “It’s fine if you nurse in public, but make sure you cover up” idea COME from?
Sexualization of the Breast and Objectification of Women
The continual discussion of nursing in public comes down to one central issue: the fact that our culture sees the female breast as inherently and primarily sexual. The notion that feeding a child openly the way that God intends for us to feed children should be covered “out of respect” for others is one that has a firm base in the objectification of the female body and sexualization of the breast. It is a notion that I find to be incredibly disrespectful of women and of children.
No one would ask a bottle feeding mother to cover up- the only difference besides nutritional value and every other benefit is that nursing involves a woman’s breast. The issue is not with the woman, and it is not her responsibility to cover “out of respect” for others. The issue is with our culture and the fact that we have sexualized the breast to the point at which our culture places shame on women for doing what is best for their children and nursing them, covered or not.
Why It’s Hard for Our Culture
Our culture is socialized to view sexuality in television, movies, advertisements, and other media – sexuality and the objectification of men and women’s bodies is a cultural norm and a huge source of hypocrisy in our society. We walk past giant Victoria’s Secret posters in the mall without blinking an eye, but make negative, unsupportive, and sometimes just vulgar and inappropriate comments to nursing mothers because they are feeding their child from their breast. When we’re at the hair salon, we can discuss the need to go buy a push up bra so our cleavage will look good in our new shirt, but it’s taboo to talk about human milk.
The objection to nursing openly, without hiding the act of breastfeeding, is a societal issue, not an issue with the woman who breast feeds. We’re used to seeing breasts as sexual objects. It makes lots of people uncomfortable to see a woman nurse if they are uneducated or misinformed about lactation. But she does not ethically have any such responsibility to cover her nursling or her breast while nursing. Rather, our society has a responsibility to become educated about the PRIMARY function of the breast and correct the harmful stigma surrounding Breastfeeding, which begins with a disrespectful and patriarchal sexual view of the breast.
Covering: A Mother’s Choice, not a Mandate
When I participated in the Houston Galleria Hollister Nurse-In two weeks ago, I talked to quite a few women who said that they nursed their children and that nursing is good, but were adamant that a mother “has to use a cover.” One of the women tried vehemently to convince Aleta and I that a mother has a responsibility to cover in order to protect “children who might see.”
Obviously, Aleta and I were not convinced. We both have older children that see us nurse all the time, and we know that nursing is normal, and that it’s actually good for our public health for children TO see breastfeeding. But we had to allow the woman to leave the conversation without being able to gently convince her that this is so. So many people hold onto the belief that nursing should be covered, but since there is nothing wrong about nursing. . . there’s absolutely no reason to cover, unless it makes a mother feel more comfortable. Covering while nursing is a choice, not a mandate.
If a woman wants to cover because of her own comfort level, that is her choice. If a woman is comfortable nursing her child without a cover, that is also her choice, and should never be vilified nor shamed. A women ethically should not be expected to “cover up out of respect” Or “be discreet” Nursing is normal. That’s just the way it is!
How Educated are YOU about Nursing in Public?
Do you know your state’s breastfeeding law? If not, please take a moment to do your civic duty and find out!
What can YOU do to help normalize breastfeeding?
Can you think of some ways to help re-educate our culture on the true primary purpose of breasts?
How can YOU stand up for the rights of women and children?