Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Yes. I’m Still Breastfeeding. And Also, I’m Still Snarky.

I seriously cannot even tell you how many times I have been asked recently, “You’re still breastfeeding?” Yes. I’m still breastfeeding. I don’t intend to stop anytime soon, either. In fact, I’m willing to let T nurse until this time next year. Yep. He’ll be 18 months old then. If you keep saying it like that then I might let him go longer.

It’s not the question that bothers me.

If someone asked me, “Are you still breastfeeding?” I would excitedly tell them that, yes, I am still nursing… It’s going great… T has transitioned back and forth from breast to bottle to sippy cup flawlessly. He’s sleeping through the night most of the time (Hallelujah! I never thought I’d say that!). We’ve started solids. He’s really enjoying trying new foods.

If someone asked me, “Are you still breastfeeding?” I would go on and on about how wonderful the experience of exclusively breastfeeding T for the first six months of his life was, even though it was truly exhausting at times, and then I would go on and on about how wonderful the experience of continuing to breastfeed T is. It really is a wonderful and rewarding experience. I love nursing him when I get home from work and he is so happy to see me… he snuggles in my lap and nurses and pulls at my face. Lately he tries to get my glasses off and giggles when he succeeds… which makes for a milky mess, but it’s pretty funny so I usually let it slide with just a little “no, no… be gentle,” for posterity’s sake.

But people don’t usually ask that question. Instead, they make a statement using the inflection of a question. They also tend to make this statement with a tone of voice that I don’t care for. “You’re still breastfeeding?” or worse, “You’re still breastfeeding?” Yep. I sure am.

If you were in second grade and you used that tone of voice with me, I’d take away your recess.

I’m not sure why the standard weaning age of the spectators of my life is 6 months… it seems to me that by 6 months breastfeeding is super-easy. At least in our case. If I ever thought of giving up, it would have been in those first three months when exhaustion and sleep-deprivation reigned supreme. Now this whole “main source of nourishment” gig is pretty sweet. It gives me an excuse to eat pie. I like pie. Plus, if I gave up breastfeeding now, I’d still have to buy formula for the next 6 months. That would cut my savings in half.

I understand that it is logical for some people to wean around 6 months– between work and family obligations, you’re usually away from your baby more by this time, so it makes sense that formula would be the more convenient option.

What I don’t understand is why everyone seems to think a baby older than 6 months doesn’t have any need for breast milk. I mean, if you fed your baby formula, you would continue to do so until she turned one. Then you’d introduce cow’s milk. Why is breast milk any different?

Who decided that all babies should be weaned at 6 months of age? Does nursing my baby past 6 months or past a year mean I’m too attached to my baby? Or that he’ll never learn to be comforted or cope without me? Or that I’m a psycho mom?

(Side-note: I am a psycho mom… but not because I’m still nursing my 6-month old. I am a psycho mom because I wholeheartedly believe that T will honor my request that he not date. Until I’m dead.)

So, to answer your question… Yes. I’m still breastfeeding.

Bye Bye, Bottles!

As T approaches the 6-month-mark, we thought it would be fun to let him try out a training sippy cup. John & Aunt Jessi have taught him to hold his own bottle recently. It’s amazing to me that he went from hating–and I do mean hating– bottles to actually enjoying them pretty quickly. Of course, he went from getting one bottle a week (maybe) to getting two or three a day. I guess that’ll make you adjust! He definitely still prefers the boob, though, which is fine by me.

Anyways, I figured if he could hold a bottle, then he could definitely hold a sippy cup. I like the idea of the sippy cup more, anyway. Fewer parts to wash.

I will say, I was hesitant to put breast milk in a sippy cup because, hello, it’s liquid gold. What if he hates the sippy cup and I wind up throwing away precious ounces of milk?!?! Then I looked in the freezer and I said to myself,

“Lauren, you have over 300 oz in this freezer. It will not kill you if you wind up throwing away 6 of them.”

So I put about 6 ounces (which didn’t really even dip into my freezer stash anyway, since I had pumped 6 ounces more than T took while at work on Thursday) into a sippy cup and handed it to him. He loved it! He was a little confused, since it was cold, but he had so much fun holding the cup and tipping it back. He’s still working on the finer points of actually consuming much from the cup, but we’re getting there. Of the 6 ounces, he only actually took about 1. But, since it was fresh and not frozen… I just stuck it back into the fridge for later. It’s turning out to be a fun snack! He loves holding it and trying to tip it up and drink from it. It’s adorable!

It’s making me excited to be starting solids over the next few weeks… We had our first Oatmeal Cereal experience this week… but that’s a story for another post! 🙂

Working hard!

He’s having so much fun with it!

Practicing with Uncle Clay… They were having a good time.

Why Yes, I AM THE QUEEN!

…The Dairy Queen, that is!

True confession: I have fabulous friends. Friends who read my blog. And get me DQ shirts!!!! I’m seriously in love with this Tshirt. I want to wear it everywhere! It makes me giggle every time I put it on. I’m giggling now just looking at the picture.

Big thanks to Ms. Carolyn for the awesome shirt… I would never have thought to go find a Dairy Queen shirt! Wheee!

Pump It Up!

 

For the past five months, I’ve been so nervous about going back to work for a bunch of reasons. Once I came to terms (as much as can be expected) with being separated from my baby, I became extremely nervous about pumping enough milk while at work. My goal from before T’s birth was to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, then to continue to breastfeed for at least a year. The thought of going back to work and not producing enough milk seriously upsets me. I know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal… but I’m pretty stubborn (shocker), and once I set a goal, you can bet I will be devastated if I don’t meet or exceed it.

So, naturally, I spent all summer pumping and storing over 200 ounces of milk in our freezer. I figured that would get me through a month or two of “daycare bottles” if pumping didn’t go well and I wasn’t able to meet T’s milk demands. Am I crazy? Absolutely. Did it work? You betcha.

Now that I’ve been back at work for two weeks, I’m pleased to report that not only have I pumped enough milk to feed T when I’m away, I actually have a surplus. T takes two 4 oz bottles every day while I’m gone (once school starts and my days are a little longer, he will probably need 3 bottles). I have pumped no less than 10 oz every day. I’ve never pumped less than 5 oz in a session. Sometimes (like just now) I pump 6 oz in one session.

I’m so pleased with this that I’ve started thinking about what advice I would give to a new mom returning to work and hoping to pump. I actually have a coworker who will be in this very situation later this school year, so I’ve really been thinking of advice for her. She’s my inspiration for this post.  So, in honor of Sweet Nika, I give you:

Pearls of Pumping Wisdom!

  1. Start pumping before you go back to work. This will increase your overall daily output, and what you pump can be frozen and saved for “emergencies.” Frozen milk lasts 6 months in the freezer.
  2. Don’t stress out if you don’t pump much at first. Babies are inherently more efficient than any pump. It may take your body some time to get used to producing for a cold plastic pump. If you follow rule #1, then rule #2 will be a breeze.
  3. Spend the first 2-3 weeks of your baby’s life nursing as much as possible. This is smart because it’s a good way to boost your supply without having to pump (have I mentioned how much I hate my breast pump? Or any breast pump for that matter?).  Don’t focus too much on pumping the first two weeks. Enjoy your baby and get rest… adequate rest is good for your supply. Only pump when you feel engorged at first. You can “schedule” pumping sessions later!
  4. Eat, Drink, and be Merry! Seriously, increase your water intake as much as possible. Pack snacks so you can eat every few hours. I’m eating almonds right now and slurping my way through giant bottle numero tres of ice water.
  5. Make time to pump during the workday. There’s no way around it, ladies. You have to pump if you want your supply to stay intact. You have to take time out of your day for this. It’s not easy. Believe me, I’m an elementary school teacher. Finding time to sneak off to pump when you have a classroom full of noisy, nosy, and active children is difficult. FIND THE TIME. It’s important.

Good luck, Mamas! With just a little effort, you too can be a dairy cow! 😉

 

In Search of Nursing Style…

Okay, Okay, what on EARTH do I know about style? I know you’re all thinking it, so I figured I’d just go ahead and say it for you!

The majority of clothes in my closet fall into one of the following categories: clearance rack chic, conservative teacher clothes, easy mom clothes, didn’t have time to iron ensembles, and hand me down couture. I know so little about fashion, that I had to spell-check “couture!” I don’t think I’ve ever purchased anything over $100. Not even my wedding dress. It was $99. So, why am I writing a post about “fashion?”

Well, I’m glad you asked. When you become a mom, your wardrobe choices change. When you’re breastfeeding, those choices are even more drastically different. See, all you’re thinking when you get dressed in the morning is, “What can I wear that I can feed my baby in without exposing everything God gave me? And won’t show any possible spit up stains?” Seriously, what to wear when we left the house plagued my thoughts and mind for the first three months of T’s life. So, here are my fashion rules of breastfeeding, in convenient bullet form. With pictures. Enjoy!

  • Wear Layers. Simple enough. If you wear a tank top that you can pull down below your boob, and a shirt you can pull up over your boob, you won’t risk flashing. The top of your breast is covered by your shirt, and your belly is covered by your tank top. Target has some great nursing tanks that I wear under everything. Especially in the early days of breastfeeding, nursing tanks are pretty helpful! Since they have shelf bra built in, you can forget wearing a nursing bra and just put nursing pads inside of the shelf bra. They’re $16.99, which isn’t terrible for nursing tanks. But, I’ve also found (now that we’re a little better a the whole breastfeeding thing) that the $8 camisoles from Old Navy really work just as well. You just have to wear a bra under them. This is the easiest “nursing style” I have discovered. And, it allows you to wear ALMOST ANYTHING in your closet. As long as the shirt you choose can be lifted up, you’re good to go!
    As my fashionista friend Caitlyn would say… “remember to accessorize!” See the cute necklace and T-strap sandals? That’s for her! I almost never remember to put on accessories. Something about not having enough time? You can layer a tank under a cute pullover sweater, like the one pictured, or you can put it under a regular Tshirt, a silky blouse, a cowl-neck shirt… the possibilities are endless!
  • Utilize Buttons. I’m not just a huge fan of button down shirts. I wear them a lot though, because they’re another easy way to breastfeed discreetly. If you only have to unbutton a few buttons, you won’t be showing much when you feed your baby. Look for a more structured, fitted style, and tuck it into a belted pencil skirt or find a looser, menswear-y shirt and wear it with untucked over jeans. My favorite are loose, short sleeved henleys. What’s a henley, you ask? I didn’t know either, I had to google search “tshirts with a few buttons at the top” to find that word. As it turns out, I have five or six henleys in my closet. They are my favorite thing to wear! I wear them with jeans, shorts, and tuck them into my skirts. Since they have a few buttons at the top, they make breastfeeding a breeze. I’m sure you see where this is going… it’s all about the boob access. I have buttons in every form… traditional button downs, henleys, dresses that button down the front… They’re quite handy, these buttons!  How cute would that red blouse look with a pair of skinny jeans and some black flats? I know, right!
  • Rock a Scarf. Not only are scarves cute and stylish… they are pretty handy for covering up when nursing! Now, here in Southeast Louisiana, it’s waaaaaaaay too hot to wear even a light scarf until AT LEAST September… but that’s soon, and I plan on rocking scarves all through the fall. What a cute way to breastfeed. Much cuter than any nursing cover I’ve seen!
  • Cardigan + Tank Top. You can pull a tank top down and use the cardigan you’re wearing to keep yourself (mostly) covered. Anytime I’ve ever worn such an outfit, I’ve had to drape a blanket around us. It can be done though! Outfits like this are super easy to pull together, though, and they do offer a certain amount of modesty. You can belt a long cardigan at the waist, or wear a drapey open front cardigan (especially handy, since it doubles as a nursing cover). If you’ve known me for long, you know that I’m a pretty huge fan of the cardigan. I always have been. In fact, my husband often mocks me because of it… Oh well. It works, right? I stand by my motto: there’s nothing cuter than a girl in a cardigan!
  • Wrap Up. Wraps are incredibly easy to nurse in, as they slide right over to the side for easy boob access. Pair it with a great nursing bra, and you’re all set! Plus, wraps (and faux wraps, too!) make it easier to wear dresses when you’re nursing. I love wearing dresses, but pre-T, most of the dresses in my closet would require me to strip down entirely naked just to feed him. While that would be possible (although not convenient) at home, it would be just a little awkward anywhere else. A wrap dress enables you to breastfeed WITH your clothes on! Isn’t this floral maxi dress just the cutest?? I pretty much cried when I saw the price tag. $650 at J.Crew. Too bad.
  • Ditch the Diaper Bag. After T was born, I felt like SUCH a frumpy mom carrying his basic black SkipHop diaper bag. I wanted something pretty that didn’t scream “DIAPER BAG.” But it also had to be big and functional. I went to Fossil and invested in a nice, big, leather cross body tote. It has worked wonderfully. It had enough pockets to organize all of T’s accessories, and it was a nice bag. I’ve since learned that when it comes to carrying around baby stuff, there are very few items you actually need to have with you. Here’s my list of essentials. They’ll fit into almost any large purse:3 diapers, wipes case, burp rag, extra onesie, lightweight blanket, paci. The blanket does double (and sometimes triple) duty. It can serve as a nursing wrap, a changing pad, and you can also use it as a blanket (duh.) I ditched my diaper bag when T was about 12 weeks old, and I haven’t looked back since!

Happy Fashion-ing, Friends!

Mythbusters: Lactation Edition, Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of Mythbusters: Lactation Edition! For this segment, I interviewed my lovely friend Caitlyn, a dietician (who took time away from studying for her board exams to answer these questions. So hop on over to her blog and show her some love for being so awesome!) Caitlyn is a huge breastfeeding advocate, and the questions I asked her deal primarily with the nutritional makeup of breast milk. There are a lot of myths out there about how a mother’s diet affects her milk.

1. If I don’t eat extremely healthy, is my breast milk really any better than formula? Yes…contrary to popular belief mom’s don’t have to eat “perfectly” healthy to have good breast milk. I mean is “perfectly healthy” even possible? I digress…so yes your breastmilk would still be better than formula for a healthy baby. However, you do want to eat a variety of foods and continue to take your vitamins to ensure no nutritional deficiencies will arise in your milk and your baby. You also want to make sure to get enough calories throughout the day. During breastfeeding, you will need to consume approximately 300-500 extra calories to make up for the loss during feeding. The avoidance of alcohol is still necessary as it will pass through your bloodstream to your milk. DISCLAIMER: Babies with special needs (ie. absorption problems, genetic disorders, etc.) may be required to be on particular formulas, therefore that would be the most appropriate for their baby. This statement does not fit with everyone.

2. Is there any nutritional benefit to breastfeeding longer than six months? Yes…as your baby grows your milk changes to their changing needs. Can we say ahh maze ing?! Typically the introduction of solid foods can occur around 4-6 months, yet your baby should still be getting the majority of his/her nutrients via breastmilk. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding at least until one year, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding until two years. While weaning time is up to your discretion, there are still many benefits of continuing and weaning should still include breast milk as the major source of nutrition.

3. Isn’t formula just as good for your baby as breast milk?  On the contrary, “Breast milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a range of benefits for infants’ health, growth, immunity and development.”– Healthy People 2010, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

Breastmilk is a unique form of nutrition that cannot be replaced by other sources, including formula. While formula companies strive to create the closest form of nutrition to breast milk, it still falls short. For one thing, formula can’t continue to specifically change to your babies growing needs. It also can’t meet each of the vast and complex nutrient requirements your baby has. Many studies have also shown that:

  • Breast-fed children are more resistant to infection and diseases early in life (and even as they grow) when compared to formula fed babies (ie. less need for squeezing antibacterial on every person that touches your baby!). This is because the mother’s antibodies are being passed through the milk to the child.
  • Breast-fed children are less likely to develop allergies when compared to formula fed children.
  • Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life, more likely to lose the baby weight quicker, and have a lower risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.

So see…there are benefits all around (source: www.nrdc.org)

4. If I give my newborn rice cereal, will he sleep longer at night? No…in fact there may be risk involved with this. Remember the recommendation for starting solid food is around 4-6 months, so therefore anything prior to that could be dangerous. Also when you introduce solid foods, the child should be in the upright position. It could be dangerous to put food in the bottle as the baby could aspirate (inhale and choke). Babies sleeping habits will improve with maturity, not a bedtime snack. One study was performed on rice cereal and it’s aid in sleeping. No statistical correlation was found. So not only could these be dangerous, but also ineffective.
Thanks, Caitlyn for answering these questions… and GOOD LUCK on your boards! You’re gonna rock it! 🙂

Mythbusters: Lactation Edition, Part 2

The next set of breastfeeding myths are discussed with the lovely Meagan. Meagan is a nursing student, whose field of interest is in labor and delivery, as well as lactation. She’s very knowledgeable and passionate about breastfeeding & I’m so glad she was able to answer these questions for me. She’s also adorable. And engaged to one of my oldest friends, Ryan. Not oldest, as in, he’s old… Oldest as in we’ve known each other most of our lives. But I digress…

1. Should I supplement with formula until my milk comes in? There is no need to supplement. Before the milk “comes in,” there is still a substance called colostrum in the breast and it is sufficient for the baby. It has all he/she needs for nutrition. I have to add, though, that this is applies ONLY in situations where the newborn is healthy and has no blood sugar/health issues.

2. My newborn wants to eat constantly… am I making enough milk? It’s as simple as supply and demand. The newborn wants to feed when they’re hungry. Each time they feed, they stimulate more milk production. Sometimes, they are even soothed by the mother’s nipple…like a pacifier, which would make them want to “latch” constantly. Make sure they’re gaining weight and that they’re having wet and dirty diapers is also another indication that they’re receiving what they need.

3. I’m only getting half an ounce when I pump, do I have a low milk supply? That doesn’t necessarily mean you have low supply. It may be the type of pump used. Babies also suck milk MUCH better than a pump could ever do. If the baby is gaining weight and having the physician-recommended wet/dirty diapers, chances are, the milk supply is NOT low. It’s also good for moms to drink lots of water to get that milk a flowin’ .

4. If I nurse all the time, will I run out of milk? You will NOT run out of milk. This goes back to the supply and demand thing.. Once the baby sucking stimulates the breast, it continues to produce milk, never “emptying.” There’s a constant flow of milk.. The baby will never empty a breast in one feeding because there’s always more milk coming in. They will know when they need to stop.

Meagan did such a great job answering these questions… I only have one thing to add. She’s absolutely right about the pumping. If someone wouldn’t have told me that pumps are less efficient than babies, I would have had several (more than I already did) major panic attacks when T was brand new. I didn’t really start pumping till he was 2-3 weeks old, and I hardly got anything for what seemed like forever. It would take me 4 or 5 sessions to get 3 oz. Eventually, my body adjusted & I was able to actually pump a significant amount of milk, but it took awhile. Especially since I was with T all the time, so I was not pumping in place of feedings. Now, I can easily get 4 oz in 15 minutes in between feedings.

Anyways, on a side note, I’m so excited to get my friends and family involved in this blog! I’m just having so much fun writing and researching things I’m interested in! Hopefully with me going back to work soon (and by soon, I mean Monday!) I can enlist some special guest posters (i.e. My friends Kayla & Kristin, and possibly my husband… he’s the idea man behind this blog anyway!)

Thanks, again, Meagan for playing Mythbusters with me! 🙂

Mythbusters: Lactation Edition

So, it seems like I’m constantly hearing/reading some serious misinformation about breastfeeding. A lot of it comes from women who tried to breastfeed, but were given outdated and untrue information. No wonder women give up so easily!!! Now, I’m no expert on lactation, but when I have a question I usually call the warm line at Ochsner (where T was born) to get reliable answers/information.

If you do a google search for any host of common breastfeeding concerns, you will find a lot of mothering forums where moms talk about the topic. Most of them are given horrible (and I do mean HORRIBLE) advice. Seriously. Things like, “Do I need to toughen up my nipples before delivery to make breastfeeding less painful?” No, I’m not kidding. I wanted to take a few minutes to interview a few professionals and veteran parents (who happen to be friends… I love my friends) on the subject.

There will be a few installments of this post… so if you have a breastfeeding question, send it to me! I will pass it along to one of my very knowledgeable friends!

First up, one of my favorite Moms in the world, Annie! She has two kids, a 4-year-old son (whom I adore nearly as much as my own son. I happened to be his nanny for the first two years of his life), and a 15-month-old daughter who recently weaned.

1. Will breastfeeding be painful until I wean my baby? Breastfeeding for the most part is not at all painful and can actually be quite calming.  A few things that can be mildly uncomfortable: letdown can be a little uncomfortable but only lasts a second or two and obviously if your baby bites you, that can hurt!

2. Won’t bottle feeding be easier and less time consuming than breastfeeding?  The actual time it takes a baby to drink a bottle versus drink a boob are the same and unless you have a super baby that is able and willing to give herself a bottle, it will take you just as long to feed the baby with a bottle as with a boob.  Things that make bottle feeding more time consuming – shopping for formula or milk, washing bottles.  Once your baby is old enough to hold the bottle herself (and is also willing to – mine is 15 months and still wants me to hold it for her), it would be easier to just hand the baby the bottle.  Of course, the ease and time of bottle feeding versus breast feeding also depends on whether you are at home with your baby or not.  Pumps are getting better, but pumping time will basically double the amount of time it takes to get your baby fed.

3. Is it safe to nurse my baby if either of us are feeling sick? It is definitely safe to nurse your baby while you or she is sick!

Thanks, Annie, for taking the time to answer these questions for me! You should all know that she even offered a before breastfeeding and after breastfeeding picture for this post… don’t you wish I would have taken her up on that offer?? 😉

“Nursing Rooms”

In the four months that T has been breastfed, I’ve discovered that many establishments offer “nursing rooms” for mothers who need to feed their babies… I’ve used quite a few of them, and I have developed some thoughts/ideas about them that I’d like to share.

The nicest nursing room I’ve ever used was at my parents’ church on Easter Sunday. They had a room off of their nursery that had two gliders set up (with rocking ottomans, too! Scooooore!) and a side table between them (which was perfect for the giant glass of water I had John fetch me). There was a bathroom available in the room, and a changing table in the nursery area that was easily accessible. It was extraordinarily clean. There was also plenty of room for any older siblings to play. It was lovely to nurse T there. There was only one other mother in the room while we were there. She wasn’t nursing, but her 6-day-old baby was upset so she left the service to comfort her.

I think these rooms can be so great for a woman who is not comfortable nursing in front of others or who has a very easily distracted baby who may need to be in a quiet, boring place in order to actually eat his meal.

I also think these rooms can be an annoyance/frustration to women who are comfortable nursing in public, but feel (or are told) that they must isolate themselves in a nursing room since it’s available… After all, public nursing should be avoided at all costs.

Personally, I fall into the second category. T is a champion nurser, and I’m comfortable discreetly nursing in front of others. I’m a social person by nature, and I’d likely be more of a mental case than I already am if I had to leave public areas every 2-3 hours to feed my son. The isolation would get to me very quickly.

There is also another reason I generally choose not to use a nursing room. It’s a far less popular reason, but I feel very strongly about it: Normalization. Breastfeeding will never be a socially accepted norm unless people see it more often. Growing up, I saw a woman breastfeeding exactly once. I was at the home of a childhood friend, and his mother was babysitting my sister and me for the afternoon. She was sitting on the couch nursing her youngest son while the rest of us played. I was confused by what she was doing, as I had never seen it before. She explained that babies are breastfed by their mothers, and that satisfied my curiosity for the moment.

After that experience, I was 18 before I ever saw another woman nursing her baby. I was the nanny for two wonderful little boys, who at the time were tee-tiny infants. About T’s age, actually. They were breastfed. I remember thinking it was weird and uncomfortable, and I felt awkward about it. Of course, after a month or so, it seemed like the norm to me. I’m quite certain that if I hadn’t seen those beautiful mothers nursing their babies on a regular basis, my own breastfeeding experience would be sorely different.

I know I’ve stated before that 75% of mothers in the US start out breastfeeding. By the time a baby is three months old, the number of breastfed babies has dropped to 33%. Anyone who has ever attempted to breastfeed can tell you: it doesn’t come naturally. Sure, it’s the most natural thing in the world, but because we don’t see it every day, it doesn’t come naturally. We don’t know how to position the baby, what a “good latch” looks like, how often or how long newborns feed, or how breastfeeding is supposed to feel. We don’t know these things because we don’t see them or talk about them. Breastfeeding mothers are sent to the “back room” to nurse, so we rarely have the opportunity to witness a nursing baby.

In other cultures, where breastfeeding rates are much higher, nursing in public is not taboo, breasts are not over-sexualized, and nursing mothers and babies are celebrated, there are very few women who “can’t” breastfeed. I’m convinced that this is because they don’t have to learn how to nourish their babies. It comes naturally because their entire community was breastfed. Seeing mothers nurse is a daily occurrence. They have an entire female population to go to with questions about the mechanics of breastfeeding. They don’t need Lactation Consultants. Breastfeeding is the norm.

Now, I’m not on a one-woman crusade to normalize breastfeeding in the US (okay, that’s a lie. I am on a one-woman crusade to normalize breastfeeding in the US), but I think there is something to be said when you look at those statistics. When the majority of women who want to breastfeed but feel they can’t because of cultural obstacles and medical misinformation give up within three months, it should be a wake-up call to successful nursing moms that we need to help each other out.

We have to teach each other and encourage one another through the ridiculous obstacles nursing mothers (and all mothers, really) face. We have to work together to help our society see that breastfeeding is the normal, natural way to feed babies. It may be cliched, but it’s true that we have to, “be the change we wish to see in the world,” so to speak. And that, my fair readers, is why I generally choose not to use a nursing room.

Seriously?

I’m a few weeks behind on posting this story… I read it shortly after it first came out, but I never finished writing about it until today.

If you don’t have time to read the link, I’ll give you a brief recap: A mother in suburban Detroit was kicked off of a city bus for breastfeeding her infant son. I’m not one to compare breastfeeding advocacy to civil rights, but I do think this story is ironic. 😉

Incidents like this happen every so often in the US, and it never fails to confuse me. Occasionally, it infuriates me. I mean, come on folks, it’s the year 2011. We should all know by now that breastfeeding is legal in all 50 states. The majority of states (I believe the number is 44? Don’t quote me on that. In any event, Michigan is definitely one of them.) have special laws that specifically exempt breastfeeding mothers from any public nudity/indecency laws. The great state of Louisiana is also among those.

My sweet husband took the time to look up the revised statute in our state and save it to my phone so I’d have it handy (just in case!). If you know my husband, this is pretty typical behavior for him. He’s Mr. Prepared for ANYTHING. Including a Zombie Apocalypse. But that’s another post. I have posted Louisiana’s breastfeeding laws here on my blog for your information.

Now, this story doesn’t specify whether or not the mother was using a nursing cover or blanket or anything… but since Michigan exempts breastfeeding mothers from public nudity laws, that doesn’t really matter. Although I’ve never seen a nursing mother expose much of anything when feeding in public.

Personally, I’m not ever going to expose anything when feeding T in public. Unless I’m wearing two shirts that cover everything T’s head isn’t blocking, I’m gonna throw a blanket over myself. I don’t really want Joe Schmoe peeking at the girls. That being said, I’m definitely not going to isolate myself from the general public because my baby is hungry. I intend to breastfeed for at least a year. I’ve got things to do, and I would miss my friends terribly if I had to stay home for that long! If you have kids (and probably even if you don’t!) you understand this. Motherhood can be a little isolating at times.

Say we’re in a restaurant eating dinner & T is hungry too. Which would you rather… the sight of me feeding T with a blanket draped around us, or the sound of him screaming until we get home? I mean, really, which is more of an imposition? If you don’t want to watch me breastfeed, you can look away, but it’s pretty difficult to enjoy your meal with a screaming baby in the background.

Just some of my thoughts on the subject. I had no idea that it was a big deal until T was born, and I would do a google search for breastfeeding information. I started reading articles about women being kicked out of public places for choosing to breastfeed, and it baffled me. I was never really exposed to breastfeeding until a few years ago, but as an adult it didn’t seem weird to me, and it certainly never offended me.

At the risk of losing some readers… and possibly some facebook friends, since this post will pop up in everyone’s newsfeed… how on EARTH is this inappropriate or offensive?