Posts Tagged ‘national breastfeeding awareness month’

Dear Mama

August 27, 2010

[Image description: A screenshot of a tweet from user @Matervan that says, “Totally inappropriate some lady #Breastfeeding her kid at #Starkbucks. I called her out and embarrassed her. This needs to stop!”]

I don’t know who you are. 

I don’t know if you’re black, or gay, or trans, or have a disability, or are poor. I don’t know if you breastfeed your child because you would feel guilty* if you didn’t, or because you like to do it, or because you can’t afford not to do it (or all three!). I don’t know if the nursing relationship that you share with your child came easily or if you had to struggle to achieve it. I don’t know if your friends and family have given you the support that you need in order to maintain that relationship.

I don’t know if your decision to nurse in public was made with trepidation. I don’t know if you only did it because your baby was hungry and you felt you had no other choice. I don’t know if you do it all the time because you already know that there’s nothing shameful in it.

And I don’t know what this asshole said to you to embarrass you. But whatever it was, I wish I could tell you in person that he is wrong. Breastfeeding your child in a Starbucks is not inappropriate. Breastfeeding your child in public does not need to stop. Your relationship with your child is sacred and should be respected as such. You do not need to hide your breasts, your milk, or your nursing relationship for anyone.

It’s breastfeeding awareness month. Thank you for nursing in public. I’m sorry that it has cost you to do so.

*I really hope that guilt is not the reason. Making women feel guilty over the decisions they make with their bodies is such a popular method of controlling them, even in so-called progressive and women-friendly movements like lactivism.

Hat-tip to Elita of Blacktating for bringing this tweet to my attention.

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Why

August 5, 2010

Today my little family participated in a walk for World Breastfeeding Week. I was delighted to find out that it was the first, because that meant that 5, 15, 25 years from now, when I’m an IBCLC, I’ll be able to say, “I remember the very first year that we did this walk. It rained and the heat index was 105! But it was the start of something beautiful.”

It was awesome to be surrounded by so many people who are passionate about breastfeeding. I did get the impression that some of them were of the “Let’s convince women to breastfeed because it’s awesome!” camp, which I actually am not a part of at all, although I understand where the urge to evangelize comes from even if I don’t agree with it. My particular brand of lactivism doesn’t focus on telling women what to do; I prefer to put the pressure on politicians, on businesses, on hospitals and care providers, and on insurance companies to support the women who have chosen to nurse their children. More women will nurse once nursing becomes a more [socially] affordable and less stigmatized option.

Anyway, I’m on a natural high after spending a couple of hours surrounded by lactation consultants, peer counsellors, breastfeeding coalition members, and babies. It’s got me thinking about why I chose to nurse and have chosen to continue my nursing relationship with Eve.

I breastfeed because:

  • Human milk has evolved to be the absolute best source of nutrition for human babies. Cow’s milk evolved to be the best source of nutrition for cow babies; for me personally, it makes little sense to give cow’s milk in place of human milk.
  • It’s sustainable. Think about all of the cows, the processing, the plastics, and the oil spent in getting formula from a cow’s udder to a child’s bottle. Nursing is much friendlier to the planet, especially for those lucky parents who don’t need to pump and store their milk.
  • It’s much less expensive than formula.
  • The anti-capitalist part of me loves the fact that I am providing food for my child without paying for some rich dude’s Ferrari.
  • It feels good. I especially like the tinglyness I feel when letting down.
  • Eve is heartbreakingly adorable when she falls asleep at my breast (which happens at least once a day).
  • Squirting Marcus in the face with milk is hilarious.
  • Squirting Eve in the face with milk is likewise hilarious!
  • Watching Eve grab my breast and accidentally squirt herself in the face is the most hilarious!
  • It’s convenient to not have to prepare a bottle in the middle of the night.
  • It’s convenient to not have to carry bottles around when we leave the house.
  • Breastmilk makes a fine substitute for cooking with when we’ve run out of cow’s milk or almond milk.
  • The antibodies in my milk protected Eve from contracting the swine flu when I caught it.
  • It’s an excuse to stop, slow down, and snuggle.

Those are just a few off the top of my head. Nursing has been a vital and beloved component of the relationship that I share with my daughter, and I am so, so grateful to have had this experience. There are plenty of parents out there who have wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t, due to financial, medical, or social reasons, and I hope that they realize that this month and week honors them too. This is for everyone who supports breastfeeding, regardless of whether or not they did it themselves (by choice or circumstance):

Thank you.

Link Love: Breastfeeding Awareness

August 3, 2010

August, in addition to being an important time for my family, is also the US National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and this first week (August 1-7) is World Breastfeeding Week. Naturally, as an aspiring IBCLC, I’m stoked! I’ll be posting about breastfeeding throughout the month. To kick off, here is some link love for, by, and about breastfeeding parents and babies:

Kellymom has been an incredible resource for me throughout my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. There is a treasure of information regarding breastfeeding and how to maintain a healthy nursing relationship with your child. Every concern I ever had about nursing was answered in some way on Kellymom.com.

Ameda is holding a video contest for breastfeeding moms. Each video entry earns a donation of $5 to the Human Milk Banking Association of America and an entry to win a $2500 nursery makeover. Each tweet or comment entry earns a donation of $1. You can apparently enter once every day for the length of the contest, which runs until September 15th.

Get involved! Check to see if there are any Breastfeeding Awareness events going on in your state.