17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

I remember when I was a kid, (I gave birth at 22, so before that, believe me, I was a kid), seeing photos of women breastfeeding and feeling extremely uncomfortable.

I can't explain why...just the image of that woman, her breasts and another human attached was a little freaky.

My mom breastfed my younger bro and sis (9 and 11 years younger than me), but I don't remember it so much. I am guessing she didn't do it for very long, what with 4 kids to take care of, and an older daughter (me) who could definitely handle administering a bottle. I remember the bottles for sure.

I had never really thought about it in the context of ME breastfeeding until I was pregnant. A lot of things about the pregnancy experience surprised me, the first of which was my desire to have a midwife and attempt the natural birth. As a child, all I knew or ever imagined was epidural and c-section. As I began researching childbirth, I was fascinated by the prospect of a natural delivery, so I went for it.

Breastfeeding was another surprise...once that little girl popped out, my boobs were all hers. I had no qualms, there was nothing gross, the latching on went beautifully and the rest is history. After she was weaned and the milk was gone, I sort of found breastfeeding to be gross again. I think there must be a hormone that is released in your mind when you produce milk, that and context made breastfeeding totally ok with me. Poopy came along and it was all roses again and breastfeeding was just part of the routine. We even became those women in the book with those boobs and that baby...and those are really meaningful keepsakes for me.

I actually loved breastfeeding the most for it's convenience. There is nothing like the ease of lifting up your shirt in the middle of the night and sleeping through a feeding. I loved not having to microwave my boobs...they were just READY to go. Even pumping (once I had a double electric) was a piece of cake...and oh so science experimeny-interesting.

I never got sick...just a little thrush with Poopy, and by the time it came we were about done, so we just ended our time together right then and there. Thrush be gone!

And btw, it's good for the baby and has a history of preventing all sorts of bad-for-you-stuff and builds immunity and yada yada yada...so....for those of you breastfeeding your babes right now...happy National Breastfeeding Awareness Month...I hope you are doing a lot of breastfeeding in public to spread the word...and those of you done or who chose not to....that's cool...just wanted to open up a discussion as a shout out to breastfeeding here:


  • I completely agree--there must be a hormone released that makes breastfeeding suddenly acceptable to new mothers. Before I delivered my babe I thought nursing would be like having an alien sucking on you...gross!

    I envy you Kage for having an easy time of it. The only reason I survived the cracked nipples, and bleeding blisters was the support group I attended once a week for the first two months.

    Ladies--not all nipples are created equal! If you have even slightly inverted ones nursing is going to be tough. Another tip, if you have one side that is larger than the other your baby will probably have a harder time latching on that side. Sigh. Just a few lovely things I learned about myself from those wonderous lactation consultants.

    If any of you are struggling, keep at it and seek help from friends and/or lactation consultants. Use Lansinoh like it is going out of style. Get a hand pump for days when it just hurts too bad. All those tips will help you awesome nursing mommies get through the tough times.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 8/22/2007 09:47:00 AM  

  • oh...I forgot. With Baby #1 I used LOTS OF LANSINOH cream....and btw the Lansinoh pads are more expensive and worth it...hold GALLONS.

    And baby #2 I blistered, but if you just leave them alone, they heal over and everything is ok again...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 8/22/2007 10:10:00 AM  

  • We have boobs on the brain :)

    I didn't even know it was National BF Awareness Month. I just guest posted on Compulsive Writer's blog about how Gwen Stefani and I are all about nursing older babies.

    I second those Lansinoh pads, they are awesome.
    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 8/22/2007 10:47:00 AM  

  • My first baby couldn't latch on and those first few days in the hospital were stressful. I had lactation experts in, giving all sorts of advice from dripping sugar water on my nipples to tickling his nose. Shortly before checking out, while I was thinking I would never get to breastfeed my baby, a nurse heard my dilemma and almost sneaked into my room. She brought with her a tool that made breastfeeding a pleasant experience for both my baby and me--the silicone nipple shield. You would have thought she was giving me something illegal the way she gave it to me and the way the other nurses responded once they found out, but I am so thankful she did. It was only slightly inconvenient (if he didn't drain the milk out, it leaked when I took it off) and I didn't suffer any of the common maladies I've heard about--sore nipples, blisters, etc. So when I hear a mom contemplating giving up due to the pain or latching problems, I recommend the shield. Oh, I weaned him off the shield at about 3 or 4 months and we continued breastfeeding until he quit at 8 months. My second baby had no problems latching on, but if he had, I would have totally used the nipple shield again.
    posted by Blogger colds1 at 8/22/2007 01:23:00 PM  

  • I think it's great that you could nurse fairly easily and have had an enjoyable time nursing. I have as well. My mother was a huge nursing proponent, and now myself and all my sisters are as well! We all have differing lengths of time we like to nurse our babies. (myself, it's about a year- my sisters, 2 years or so) But it's a good thing all around!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 8/22/2007 01:53:00 PM  

  • Baby #3 is 2 weeks old and breastfeeding is not all roses, mostly thrush and spit up, but I am so happy that I can do it. I am glad that it is back in good graces with the general populace.
    Last weekend I even had a hotel manager let me use a room, so I didn't have to nurse in front of a grand ball room full of wedding guests.

    Sometimes its rough, but so worth it in the long run.

    Thanks Kage for helping me remember the good things!
    posted by Blogger theabby at 8/22/2007 05:03:00 PM  

  • theabby - you are so right when you said, "sometimes it is rough, but worth it in the long run". That was my exact experience. I wish it went smoothly for me. It took about three months to get used to it and I battled thrush on and off for the next nine months after that!!!! It was a sacrifice to breastfeed for so long, but worth it. It was a major accomplishment. But it's not always easy.
    posted by Anonymous beth at 8/22/2007 08:40:00 PM  

  • Kage,
    Thank you so much for this post. It is especially important right now for me to hear positive breastfeeding stories, because my daughter is now 5 months and I was considering weaning her. I am not having any trouble, but she is kind of going through a period of only wanting to be held by me and has seperation anxiety to some degree, so anyhow, thanks for the post!
    posted by Blogger Gedde Adventures at 8/23/2007 06:48:00 AM  

  • I used to think it was weird to nurse too, until I become a mother myself at age 20. I nursed baby #1 for 6 months and then stopped because HE wanted to stop. I nursed baby #2 for only 6 weeks because HE wanted to stop and grew to love bottles. And now I'm STILL nursing baby #2 at age 10 1/2 months and she will not have anything to do with bottles. She still doesn't have teeth yet, either, so that makes it nice. I NEVER thought I would breastfeed a baby so long, but it turned out not to be so bad and I love the bonding experience I have with my baby girl. So I think it all depends on the baby's needs.

    I love the convenience of breastfeeding, the money it saves on can after can of formula, and the nutrition I feel like I'm giving my baby. However, I have a MIL who can't stand the fact that I breastfeed my babies. She has asked me more than once "When are you going to quit this?" with a disgusted look on her face. I tell her when the baby and I are ready with a smile on my face. She tells me she doesn't believe "all that crap that breastfeeding is better for your baby than formula." Anyway, she's a blunt lady and gets annoyed when I have to go in another room to nurse, but it's just not her way of doing things. There are people out there that can't stand the thought of breastfeeding. However, I think it should ultimately be the mother's decision.

    I personally am all for it with the nutrition and all. I think you posted some great advice for moms who want to breastfeed. My baby #3 has only been sick ONCE in ten months, so I believe it helps their immune system too. The other perk of course is feeling like I paid thousands of dollars for perfect boobs like a movie star. Then after I stop nursing, reality hits, and I am back to my small chested frame again. Sigh... :)
    posted by Blogger LJ at 8/23/2007 09:35:00 AM  

  • I live in New Zealand which is very baby friendly. I had a midwife who was fantastic, particularly her postnatal care. Breastfeeding is strongly encouraged here, so much so that health care professionals aren't allowed to talk about formula unless the mother specifically asks (and even then they encourage breastfeeding). One of the politicians here is introducing a bill to allow women to breastfeed anywhere (I think more of an encouragement to continue and not be worried about it in public).
    posted by Blogger Monique at 8/23/2007 01:48:00 PM  

  • actually, before kids i had no hesitation to breastfeed at all and I imagined i'd do it longer and more enthusiastically then I did.

    Much like pregnancy I was lucky to not have many troubles, but i also didn't like it. I believe in it for nutrition, immunity, frugality, and pure convenience, but my experince was not emotionally bonding or central to my image of motherhood after all.
    posted by Blogger cchrissyy at 8/23/2007 03:00:00 PM  

  • I should mention I'm on my third, who is 11 months and recently cut back nursing to just twice a day. My 1st went to 18 months and was purposefully weaned for a medical reason. And then #2 weaned unexpectedly long before I meant to stop, and that was a rough adjustment at first.
    posted by Anonymous cchrissyy at 8/23/2007 03:05:00 PM  

  • I'm with cchrissyy, I thought I would love breastfeeding far more than I actually have. I do it because I believe it's good for the baby and good on the budget - I have no other real emotional connection to it other than the claustrophobia I get from feeling so terribly needed all the time.

    I am, though, so happy at how much more accepted it has become in public. I shout a tiny hurrah! every time I see a woman breastfeeding at the park, at church (and not confined to the smelly mother's room) or at a restaurant.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 8/23/2007 04:56:00 PM  

  • 'not confined to the smelly mother's room'

    What I wouldn't give for a mother's room for the past year. We live in the tropics, and the church doesn't have air conditioning at all, just a few fans. The church has no mother's lounge, and there are no empty rooms, at all. In order to nurse my baby, I had to use a blanket for some sense of modesty, and my baby and I would be full on sweating 2 minutes into it. I'm all for nursing - I do it almost exclusively, and in lots of public places, but sometimes, a mothers lounge is just heavenly!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 8/24/2007 05:50:00 AM  

  • I'm a big fan of nursing in the pews at church or in the middle of Relief Society....I think it's where it's at.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 8/24/2007 06:12:00 AM  

  • I'm a big advocate of breastfeeding. But I do belive that there is a place for it, which is definitely not in sacrament meeting. I believe it to be a highly inappropriate place to nurse a baby. I also have a harder time wanting to nurse in public just because I have talked to lots of people who are made to feel really uncomfortable by it. I don't have a problem myself, I just feel bad because I know how uncomfortable it makes lots of other people.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 8/24/2007 01:27:00 PM  

  • Anon without the mother's room: You need a BebeAuLait nursing cover. It keeps baby much cooler than a blanket when nursing. www.bebeaulait.com

    I wish more women would nurse in Relief Society. Why not???? Then you would get a lesson at least. If more people did it it wouldn't be so uncomfortable.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 8/24/2007 01:47:00 PM  

  • anon, even if your baby is a quiet eater, you are pretty suave about it, sit near the sides and try to be a discreet as possible?

    Just wondering...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 8/26/2007 07:11:00 AM  

  • I knew I'd probably breastfeed before I even got pregnant. (Still waiting for baby #1, though.) But, Kage, it was your comment about wanting a natural birth once you were pregnant. I was the same way. Now, I want to do it natural. We'll see what happens. I'm such a baby.

    And my mom bought me a pouch sling that I plan on using in church so that I can breastfeed so I don't miss Relief Society - although I don't think I'd do it during the sacrament.
    posted by Blogger Erin Marie at 8/26/2007 07:13:00 PM  

  • i've never understood people who balk at feeding your baby during church. i always figured it was the one place it should be totally okay! we all have similar beliefs in there and so it's not a coincidence that my breasts fill with milk after i have a baby. i'm on baby three and this is the first of four wards i've had a nursling where people take issue with me feeding my baby. it's weird.

    i was also totally creeped out by breastfeeding before i had a baby, though i was committed to doing it. i was pleasantly surprised when i had my oldest and nothing felt more natural. it has taken a good six to eight weeks for me to get into the swing of things each time, but we ended up nursing without any formula for 17, 21, and we're now at six months. those first two months of misery while baby and i figured each other out were totally worth it!
    posted by Anonymous makakona at 8/26/2007 08:51:00 PM  

  • Interestingly, public BFing was never an issue for me until I had my baby. It's still not an "issue" really but it was more of an issue than I thought it would be, especially during the first weeks. I used to feel sorry for moms who left the room to nurse, as though they were ashamed or something. But then I had an overactive milk supply (hello, letdown spray!) and a noisy and active baby, and really didn't feel comfortable nursing in public until he was about 5 months old and could sit up on his own. (he's 7 mos now.)

    I think I could easily and discreetly nurse him during sacrament meeting, especially in a side pew, although I've gotten in the habit of using the mother's room. Our ward's is fabulous--like 8 comfy seats in there and NO stinky diaper pail. It's quite the social corner. Maybe I will try one of these times. I find that now that he sits up and latches on all by himself it is a piece of cake to nurse in public.

    One big thing for me is that I hate using blankets and I really think it's enough just to use my shirt, but I don't want to offend anyone. During a conversation about public BFing with my dad, he said, "I'd rather offend adults than offend a baby." By "offend a baby" he meant holding off on nursing--but my baby is quite offended by a blanket over his face.

    Any thoughts on nursing discreetly without a cover? I feel like these days my baby and I are pretty discreet. I scope out the room and turn away to latch on. But I wonder who I'm offending.
    posted by Blogger Eliza at 8/27/2007 07:09:00 PM  

  • Hey Eliza, you know I'm not offended! If I’m in the nursing lounge, I’m not covering up too much. I can nurse discretely without a cover and I’m not going to use one if I don’t need one. I figure it’s the women’s room, what’s the worst that can happen? Girls and YW seeing someone using their bodies in the way they were intended? Maybe it will plant a little seed of acceptability in their hearts.

    If I was to nurse in Relief Society, I’d try to use a cover or my sling. I haven’t tried to nurse yet in Relief Society; I think I need to practice more with my sling.
    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 8/28/2007 11:18:00 AM  

  • Eliza,

    I saw my niece (who is my age and a mother of 5) breastfeed her baby, uncovered yet discreet, while walking around Disneyland. I was so totally impressed. That girl has skeelz. I bet most people didn't even realize what she was doing.

    And I just figure people who will be offended by seeing a woman breastfeed her baby have the ability to turn away and not look. This is why I wouldn't breastfeed while teaching a RS lesson (which I have also witnessed and you don't really have a choice in that intance to not watch.)
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 8/28/2007 11:26:00 AM  

  • Kage,
    I would like to speak to you about a story for CNN.com about new parenting mistakes. Please contact me Georgiann.Caruso@turner.com
    thank you!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 8/31/2007 02:36:00 PM  

  • I just saw a lady today at the mall breastfeeding her child while just walking around and shopping. No cover .... nothing. I almost wanted to high-5 her or something. That took skills, and she obviously wasn't ashamed or embarassed which I thought was awesome!
    posted by Anonymous Beth Tait at 8/31/2007 10:07:00 PM  

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