Welcome to the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party! Bloggers around the world have gathered together to share posts which provide current or soon-to-be breastfeeding mothers with a wealth of well-researched information, personal stories, and statistics designed to help you have the most successful breastfeeding experience possible. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about this movement as well as to link to and read more informative breastfeeding support posts.
*******Penny was born in the water at our local birthing center, without complication or medication. It was a beautiful, joyous birth, one that I could not have hoped for in my wildest dreams. Her birth, however, was a week before my due date and I had prepared myself during my entire pregnancy for a late birth. Imagine my surprise going into labor at midnight, two hours away from our birth center!
8 hours and 40 minutes later, my sweet Penelope Helena was born and I had her in my arms. Within a few minutes of being transferred to the bed for rest, my midwife encouraged me to nurse her and between inexperience and a sleepy baby, it was a little bit of a rough start. Due to slightly flat nipples my midwife recommended we pick up a shield (just to get started) and she worked with me for the remainder of my stay and made plans to visit me within 48 hours to see our progress.
But like so many other things in life, as soon as I was away from the comfort of her supervision, it wasn't so easy. It was painful. I felt like I wasn't giving my baby enough. Within 48 hours, her weight had dropped dangerously close to 9% of her birth weight and although the midwife was not concerned, it had her attention. Penny didn't want to nurse every 2-3 hours like most newborns do. Looking back at my logs that I maniacally kept during the first (no joke) 3 months of her life, she typically nursed every 4-6 hours, even for such a small thing. This wasn't helpful for my incoming supply that needed to be released and it certainly didn't help for the impending mama guilt that maybe I wasn't made right for her.
Every other day for the next two weeks we went to the birth center and Penelope was weighed to see if her weight was going up. It was, of course, but a little too slowly. I alternated between seeing my attending midwife and another one and although it seemed like it would work while at the birth center, it just didn't at home. There was so much frustration from both of us. And the pain - which was later explained to me as my ligaments stretching and possible vasospasms. Eventually the secondary midwife suggested that I ditch the shield. Ditch the shield?! Isn't that what is getting Penny whatever milk she can get right now? I didn't feel comfortable letting go of what I thought was my land line and for a few more days I tried to use it, even though sometimes I would bleed.
Finally when Penelope was about 3 weeks old, as I sat in the office for another weigh in, the midwife (who is a certified LC) gave me a dose of very tough love. She said if I am not comfortable giving up the shield, perhaps I should seek the help of a different LC. At the time, I felt abandoned. But later I realized what her intent was. She gave me that final push to really get rid of that shield. That afternoon when we returned home, I gave it a shot. And she latched on, without hesistation.
I'm not going to lie, it still wasn't smooth sailing from there. I was still getting over the learning curve and I think that her small mouth made it really difficult to make a good deep latch, which made it still pretty painful to nurse. It wasn't until she was about 9 weeks old where one day it just didn't hurt anymore. Shocked, I looked down at my daughter and actually felt at ease, relaxed and comfortable. This is what breastfeeding mothers are talking about. Total bliss.
My story may not have the same level of hardship that many other new mothers face. I didn't have trouble with supply, I got the (bare minimum) amount of sleep I needed, eventually my child and I adapted to each other and at almost 13 months old, our nursing relationship is still going strong. But it's our story - and hopefully serves as a support for other moms who had a difficult time at the beginning and felt like they just weren't biologically made to do it. To those moms, I say - push though! It was 9 weeks of hard work, but at almost a year later it's all forgotten.
You can also find my somewhat humorous tale of nursing while on our first vacation with 2 month old Penelope at A Little Bit of All of It.
This gathering of breastfeeding support comes in response to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s (WAPF) continued stance on breastfeeding, which we all have a great concern with. While the WAPF does support breastfeeding as the best option for feeding babies, it does so with a caveat. Breastfeeding mothers must follow the strict tenants of the WAPF diet and mothers who are not following their nutrient dense diet recommendations would be better off feeding their babies homemade formula (based on the WAPF recipe). In addition, they are outspoken against using donor milk.
The bloggers sharing posts today are concerned with the confusion this may cause breastfeeding mothers. Not only does research support the myriad of health benefits of breast milk for babies regardless of the mother’s diet, it also outlines additional benefits of breastfeeding such as better bonding, deeper trust, and a long list of other emotional benefits. Let’s not forget the health benefits for moms!
We will have a complete list of all the blog posts published today (as part of this Blog Party) in a separate post on Sunday, March 31st. We welcome you to join this blog party by linking up your own new and previously published posts which focus on any positive aspect of breastfeeding and breast milk. Please enter using the Linky Tool which can be found at Hybrid Rasta Mama, Cooking Traditional Foods, Whole New Mom, Alternative Parenting, or African Babies Don’t Cry. (All links will be subject to moderation. Any link not following the spirit of the Blog Party will be removed.