As we prepare for World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2014, I am reminded of my journey as a breastfeeding mother at the tender age of 25. It was May 21, 2007, when I would experience the beauty in using my body to nourish my little bundle of joy. I was already in awe of the miracle that had been bestowed upon me by my Creator, but the experience of nursing my daughter was breathtaking. This years slogan and theme for WBW 2014 is, BREASTFEEDING: A Winning Goal – For Life! WBW is held from August 1-7. I’m excited to support this movement and share my breastfeeding experience with you.
I’ve never played soccer, but I know a bit about baseball and the impact my decision to breastfeed her would have on her health. My decision was the equivalent of knocking the ball out the park. Yes, I was a little nervous after hearing some women talk about how things tend to ‘go South’ after nursing. After all, I was just 25 and still wanted to maintain my sexy, but I quickly learned everything about Motherhood is selfless. One hour after giving birth to Zari NaLynn, I was blessed to bond with her in a way that was indescribable. I was able to look my baby in her eyes and affirm to her that Mommy would give her the best healthy start possible. I had the best lactation consultant, who cared for not only my comfort, but my child’s well-being as well. She gave me great tips on recommended ‘holds’ (that’s ways to comfortably hold your child during nursing-there’s a variety) I found the football hold to be the most comfortable and it quickly became my favorite. It’s essentially where you envision yourself as the star running back, gear up to run the ball in for the last 2 yards of the play, get the 1st down, or in this case the touchdown! I held my daughter like this during nursing because it was the most comfy for she and I, we were able to snuggle while being a Mommy and multitasking; you know the juggling act all Mothers do (career, school, other children, life, home, etc.). I was having fun while doing it. Yes, there was some initial discomfort but I became BFF’s with frozen veggies (I put them on my breast when they began to hurt). Peas were my favorite-they stayed colder longer. If I don’t recommend anything else to you, I recommend frozen veggie. Hey, it’s something you’ve already got in the fridge. As Moms, we’ve got to be resourceful!
So I’m back home, no lactation consultant, no nurse to come save me from my sore nipples or engorged breast but baby and I are doing great. I’m finally getting the swing of this thing and we are two peas in a pod. I soon found out that I would need some help for those late night feedings. Motherhood is exhausting in itself, but I was dealing with some issues well beyond the scope of brining home a new baby. I learned to pump my breast milk with my Medela breast pump, which I hear these days insurance will cover. Check with your insurance company and see what pumps they cover and to what extent. It allowed me to store my milk when my family wanted to feed her and allow me some time to rest. Trust me, my village was my EVERYTHING; they’d become my ‘breastmilk’ lifeline. I caught some zzz’s while my baby still received the much needed nutrients she needed to grow healthy and strong. It was a win-win situation for us both. Don’t be afraid to use your village and the Lanolin (worked wonders for my dry, sore, and/or cracked nipples).
Because of breastfeeding, my daughter had less trips to the doctor’s office, maintained a healthy weight, and we share an inseparable bond. I wouldn’t trade the discomfort, wondering eyes of strangers (both for funky looks and some in support), or sacrificing my own comfort for the world. I gave my child what was crucial to the first 6 months of her life. I was able to kick start her wellness. She loved my breast milk so much that she dried up Mommy’s supply after 6 months (she ate more than the recommended amount. As a newbie, Zari, easily took on 4 ounces; I would’ve nursed longer. My advice to you is to breastfeed your child as long as he or she allows, or your body for that matter. Do not be discouraged by the initial slow production of milk (trust me, it’s just what your little one needs) or that you were able to do it for a short period. Know that some breast milk is better than none at all. Do your best!
Now to the wondering eyes… The next time you’re out and witness a Mom ‘popping it out,’ give her a round of applause, not a ‘tude, she’ll get plenty of that from the growing little one. We Moms work hard to nourish our little ones and trust me it’s not an easy feat; relax on the grief. Employers, that includes you too. Work with your Moms and do everything that you can to make her transition back to work and away from baby a smooth one. Support your Moms breastfeeding initiatives. You may even consider your wellness team throwing a decorating party for the designated nursing room at work (if you don’t have one, here’s your chance to make a lot of moms happy) to show your support for your nursing Moms. You could gather gently used rocking chairs, dividers, cd players, etc. from other Moms and/or Dads to make the room more breastfeeding friendly. You’ll thank me later for this tip.
Will you join the call of WBW to, “Protect, Promote and Support Breastfeeding: it is a vital Life-Saving Goal!?”
Here’s to Moms around the world, who elect to breastfeed their babies and see the countless benefits in doing so! You are absolutely Boobalicious!