Thursday, August 1, 2013

It Takes a Village...

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.


I know that I've posted about how much I love breastfeeding before, but in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week this week, I felt like it deserved another post.  Actually, it deserved a few more posts.  And a giveaway.  But I'll get to that later.

What I want to talk about today is how it takes so much more than just a mama and her baby to breastfeed.  It takes every single person in her life to help her!  Breastfeeding is the only activity I know of that is simultaneously such a personal, close bond between mama and baby while also involving so many other people.  In fact, I think the people that I know who have struggled with breastfeeding have done so mainly because they were lacking the community that they needed.  

I can't say enough good things about the community in my hospital - never once did they say that I needed to think about giving formula, never once did they so much as hint at it.  I didn't get pressure about my milk coming in or worries about my supply.  I got regular check ins to make sure we were offering often enough and to make sure my nipples weren't falling off due to issues like poor latch (which we never had, thank goodness).  I know mamas who were told that their baby needed formula, that they should give their baby formula and send them to the nursery and sleep more, and mamas who have been told they aren't making enough.  I know that those things are legitimate sometimes, but most of the time, I think formula just sounds like an easy fix for a tired mama.  And when you're exhausted, probably hurting, and hormonal, it would be so easy to give in.  I'm so grateful that I had such a good experience!

I also can't say enough about having a husband and a family that are supportive.  I know mamas who haven't even tried to breastfeed because it freaks their husbands out.  Dude.  Come on.  That's what the boobs are made for.  Thank the Lord PB was never like that. This is a guy who will talk about it with anyone, go up and talk to the old ladies in the gift shop about nursing bras, pack and organize your pumping bag, and never once encouraged me to pump bottles or give formula.  Even on the days when I was tired and mean.  He might have encouraged me to shut my mouth with the whining and the irritable meanness, but formula? Never!

It also helped me tremendously to have a lactation consultant for a mom.  When my milk came in, she froze diapers into ice packs for me, told me to lay in the recliner on a beach towel and just nurse as much as I could, and brought home a head of cabbage for my bra in case I needed a little relief from all the milk (and let me tell you, there was enough milk that the neighborhood cats were all hanging out in my front yard).  Honestly, I think you get a lot of your baby-feeding attitude from your mom.  I never once heard "Just give him a bottle," from her.  I know lots of girls whose moms used formula and therefore think it's just about the only way to feed a baby because it's what they know.  When that's the direction your mama is pushing you in, and you're exhausted and feel like you don't know at all what you're doing - that's when you want to just give up.  

And finally, it was so good to know that my best friend who'd had a baby a few months before I did had been through it.  The bleeding nipples, worry about supply and weight gain, and the up-all-night, no-rest-for-the-weary routine.  I knew that if she made it through, I could too.  And now, as I'm worrying myself to death about going back to work and pumping, it's nice to know that she's done that too and knows how it goes.  In an area where I feel like there aren't that many of us who are exclusively breastfeeding, it is so important to have somebody who's been there! 

If you are (or were) a breastfeeding mama - who helped you in the hard times?  Who made it possible for you?  Who made it challenging?

Check out some of the other posts by some awesome mamas about breastfeeding.  I can't wait to see what everybody else has to say!


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 1 with all the carnival links.)

  • If You're Worried About Your Kid Seeing Me Breastfeeding, You're Doing It Wrong — Dionna at Code Name: Mama is living the breastfeeding-as-a-cultural-norm dream. She has first-hand experience that kids, teens & adults who see breastfeeding accept breastfeeding.
  • Supporting Breastfeeding Online — Wendy at Breastfeeding Utah reaches out to birth and breastfeeding support professionals who are interested in knowing more about supporting their clients online.
  • Breast Friends — Mama Bree, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center, shares a baby's journey to blissful breastfeeding with a little help.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Online Breastfeeding Support — Other than buying and reading up on books, Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy finds that it is useful to read up on other mums’ breastfeeding experiences and how they deal with their obstacles.
  • It Takes a Village... — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am talks about the support she got from her family, especially from her own mom, who is a lactation consultant.
  • Community Support — Ashley at ModerationMama tells about her supportive community surrounding her breastfeeding journey, and she talks about the importance of the breastfeeding class she took while still pregnant.
  • Finding a Nanny to Be Part of My Village — Before returning to work, Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen, posting at Natural Parents Network, needed to find a trusted caregiver for her daughter. Someone who supported her parenting goals and was ready to become part of a family.
  • A Nursey Love Letter — When asked about her nursing support group, KassK of Get Born Tribe surprised herself with the answer: her husband!
  • We are mammals. — To be a mammal . . . what does that mean? Practicing Mammal educates us.
  • Building a Solid Foundation for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey — Tia at Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round shares how she built a strong support network to help her successfully breastfeed her newborn daughter.
  • Stubbornness and Support: My Breastfeeding Journey — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her breastfeeding journey, from unhelpful nurses to a gentle guide, and her sheer stubbornness.
  • Looking online for breastfeeding support — The author at "Just" A Mom has found many ways to use the internet to support her mothering and breastfeeding journey, and she has learned how to keep her online experiences positive.
  • The Village that didn't feed — Nona's Nipples at The Touch of Life explains how our communities influence our choices. She explains how she came to breastfeed and how it was taken away.
  • Nursing By Example — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births decided to nurse through a pregnancy and to try tandem nursing thanks to the support from her La Leche League leader and another mother in her community. Read about the resources that were helpful and the lessons she learned on her journey into tandem nursing.
  • A Burden Shared: How my IBCLC Lightened my Load — My IBCLC rocks!! smscott at In All Things...One Step at a Time's journey would not be possible without a huge contribution of time and energy from her IBCLC. Her difficult times were measured in weeks and months instead of moments.
  • Fathers Need Breastfeeding Support Too — Destany at They Are All of Me recalls that the biggest detriment to her breastfeeding success was her husband's strong disapproval.
  • Breastfeeding Support Over the Years — Valerie at Momma in Progress discusses the range of support she received over her seven-year breastfeeding journey.
  • Uncharted Territory: Breastfeeding — Michelle at Oh, The Simple Joys describes her change of heart regarding breastfeeding and the kind souls who helped along the way. From thinking formula was the norm to extended ecological breastfeeding, this is her story. Her story also includes breastfeeding after a hospital birth, dealing with inverted nipples, and the lactation consultant who helped to name her daughter.
  • Online Breastfeeding Support: Finding Success, Acceptance and Friendships — Author and CLEC Lara Audelo of Virtual Breastfeeding Culture shares how online breastfeeding support changed her entire life, and why so many mothers are drawn to it, rely upon it, and place such value on their virtual mother-to-mother connections.
  • Staying Connected---Online Breastfeeding Support for AD Military MomsBreastfeeding in Combat Boots shares how important online support is to the success of breastfeeding for mothers serving in the military.
  • Breastfeeding and Community — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work discusses ways in which community affects breastfeeding dyads and makes suggestions for accepting and supporting nursing as normal and necessary.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Community Support — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has been breastfeeding NON-STOP since 4th March 2009, the day her first child Benjamin was born. Jenny shares who has been in her community of breastfeeding supporters.
  • Oversupply as a Blessing in Disguise: Milk Sharing and Wet Nursing — Tooele Birth and Breastfeeding, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, tells how she ended up donating breastmilk and wet nursing several babies. She shares the benefits from both a recipient and a donor.

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