I haven’t used my blog as a platform for shouting my beliefs from the rooftops. I do feel strongly about some things, and while all those things combined do define me, I haven’t made it my mission on the internet to spread my beliefs. Yes, I am a “babywearer”, believe in an organic lifestyle, and breast fed both of my children for nearly a year each. I feel strongly about those things. I also believe that every parent and mother in particular has her choice of how she wants to raise her children. If breastfeeding isn’t on that list for whatever reason, that’s OK. Of all the things involved in parenting these days (and granted, how you nourish your child is a big one), a mother shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about her decision to breastfeed or formula feed her babies. There is even a small percentage of mothers who physically can not nurse.
I really struggled with breastfeeding Jack initially. The pain was excruciating for the first few weeks, and combined with total sleep deprivation and stress surrounding his intake, I was a complete mess. Fortunately for me, there was a fantastic (free) new mom’s group at the hospital where I delivered. Lead by a lactation consultant and attended by some of my best friends to this day, I accredit that program with rescuing me in some of my darkest moments. The one main piece of advice that I always give new moms is to join a support group of some sort. Surrounding yourself with people in the same situation as you, especially new parenthood, is one of the best things you can do in my opinion. Breastfeeding is hard, but if you are able and willing to put in the effort, it is incredibly rewarding. More information, in this case especially, helps exponentially.
I attended a charity event last night sponsored by Fit Pregnancy and Big City Moms, as well as (and benefiting) the Best for Babes Foundation, whose mission is to break down the barriers that keep moms from meeting their personal breastfeeding goals. The event, called “Benefit to Beat the Booby Traps” was held at the Deva Spa in SoHo, and helpful information to new and expecting mothers about breastfeeding. There were several board certified lactation consultants speaking about how to overcome obstacles presented early on in the process of nursing a new baby. I couldn’t help but think about my own experiences, including the “Nurse Nazi” story about the RN that tried to help me nurse Jack in the hospital. Not only was she pushing to use sugar water as incentive, she also recommended supplementing. On day one of his birth. I had written a birth plan, and as convinced as I am that they threw it out the window, I still expected the nurses to at least take note about my insistence against formula. This is one example of the “Booby Traps” that Best for Babes works hard to overcome. Registered Nurses generally have zero formal breastfeeding classes or instruction, yet they are there helping new moms nurse their new baby in the hospital. Most hospitals do not even have Board Certified Lactation Consultants.
Learning to breastfeed was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It tested my strength as a person and a mother, and I’m proud for what I accomplished with both of my children. It definitley reached my breaking point, but I never considered it an option to quit. I had great support though, and I’m so grateful to hospital and KellyMom.com for keeping me informed. I’m more than happy to support any foundation that helps new moms, especially when it comes to breastfeeding.