Monday, January 12, 2009

Looking over your shoulder

A lady at church yesterday came up to me and apologized for watching my breastfeed in Relief Society a couple of weeks ago- she was afraid that her watching made me uncomfortable. I don't even remember this, so that'll tell you how uncomfortable I was. :) She had been struggling with breastfeeding and was at the end of her ropes and going to switch to formula that day or the next. She wanted to see a good latch and watch someone who has done it. She did go to a lactation consultant the next day (or soon after that) and her baby is now 100% breastfed. Yay for her!

I think this exemplifies a lot of the problems we have in our culture with breasts and breastfeeding. We just never see breastfeeding- we don't know what it looks like and we don't know how to do it. We really have to go out of our way to see it. I went to 5 months of LLL meetings while pregnant to learn what a good latch is- and I'll even admit to trying to see a latch over someone's shoulder. I remember even contemplating, "Should I just ask her if I can watch her latch the baby on?" about a woman in our playgroup. There are youtube videos- Dr. Newman has some great videos there.

She also related some of her struggles, which I empathized with- yes I had over supply, yes I have overactive letdown, yes it sometimes took 45 minutes to latch Margaret on in those early weeks and both of us were crying in frustration. Yes, I had to call people for breastfeeding help. I think she felt relieved to not be the only one.

I think sometimes we confuse the "breastfeeding is natural" thought with "breastfeeding shouldn't take effort" and forget there is a learning curve for both you and the baby. And I think we look at more experienced mothers and assume they've never had problems because they can breastfeed with ease. While it's much much easier to latch Margaret on (she really just does it herself) there are new challenges like teething. This is why I think LLL and other mother to mother support groups are so important. You have access to the experience and understanding of other moms.

Support is so vital.


And surprisingly, a friend and I were asked to come talk about breastfeeding support in the community with a BYU Women's Health class this semester. A professor saw my name in the paper about the Facebook nurse-in and wanted me to speak to the class. I think it'll be a question/answer like session. It's kind of exciting for me.

12 comments:

  1. I always breastfeed during church and am pretty discrete, but I think some people know what I am doing and I love it because, like you were doing, it is so important to show other moms that they shouldn't be embarrassed to nurse in public. I had an older mom in RS, tell me almost in tears that I was giving Finn such an awesome start. I think that will be me when I'm old :D

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  2. That is great that you were able to help someone out. I have been in the mother's room at church and seen women cry because they are struggling with getting their newborn to latch on. It is nice to be able to give support to other women!

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  3. I'm glad you were able to help her out. You are right- support, support, support!

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  4. I so agree that seeing others feed is helpful.

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  5. I think it's great that you've been asked to talk to a class. I'm definitely guilty of the over-the-shoulder lurking, as I was worried while pregnant that I wouldn't know how to nurse my little one. Everything has worked out great for us, but it's still very reassuring to know that I can call my lovely LLL ladies if ever problems arise. Like you said, support is so important. It's sad that we don't have more of it in our society.

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  6. Well said. I remember how hard those first 6 weeks were. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to bf. But now, 11 months later and still nursing 4-5 times a day, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything! There are some people who just CAN'T breastfeed, whether because of an unfriendly work environment (which I think would be another great issue to tackle) or because of low supply, which is sometimes unavoidable. But MOST moms can. I feel sad how many women give up because it is so hard and they have no one to help them.

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  7. I just happened on your blog via Mormon Mommy blogs and am excited to see a mommy championing breastfeeding out there! I gave natural birth to my four kids and breastfed each of them exclusively (no solids) for over a year and then continued nursing for months more...I nursed in Relief Society, in the grocery store, in the library, at parties, you name it. Just a blanket over the shoulder was all I needed and we were in business. I'm afraid its becoming a lost art so YOU GO GIRL. It's so right. My post this week is one I think you'd be interested in -- all about mommy bodies -- I'd love you get YOUR take on the subject.
    Mona

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  8. Hi, I happened on your blog and realized that I dated one of your husband's high school friends. I am currently expecting my first and was interested in some breastfeeding support. Can you email me at gidgetwho@gmail.com? I live in the Orem area and would love a chance to talk to you. Thanks, Kristen (Finders)

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  9. Love this post! There's so much to say about breastfeeding. I feel like my one goal as a bfing leader is to make breastfeeding normal! I fully promote nursing openly in public. t's good for everyone. :)

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  10. hi! your blog is so great! ive been bfeeding my son for alomost 6 mons now. at times, i find it very difficult esp at night (im a working mom), it's only by God's grace and articles like this one that I am able to continue bfeeding. this post encouraged me to bfeed in public places as well :)

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  11. Thanks for sharing. I was actually so happy to see 3 moms nursing during storytime at the library today. Some with a cover and one so practiced that she had no cover but it just looked like she was holding her baby. I don't care if some people cover and some don't...any breastfeeding in public shows other moms that they don't have to pump everytime they go out or nurse in a bathroom stall or anything like that...like anything in good ole' Utah Valley...if it becomes popular, other women will feel comfortable and follow. :-)

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  12. Just popped in to say that I just saw the BYU article on facebook's policy change (on an MDC thread). Congrats! All your hard work paid off!

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