This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.
This post was written by Mama Bree.
After a couple days of moving down the birth canal with each surge, and balancing between two worlds, I made my beautiful entrance and planted myself firmly (and loudly) on this side of the womb. My tiny body and mind were bombarded with so many new sensations. My temperature was cooler, I could create sound, the dim lights were still much brighter than I had ever seen...and there was love. I was instantly placed on my mommy. My daddy's hands rubbed me. They kissed me and I could clearly hear the voices that had become so familiar.
Then, a new feeling: hunger came over me and I began the journey to find sustenance. Using instinct, my awesome sense of smell, and a little adult help, I found my mom's breast and latched on with ease. I filled my tiny belly and found immence comfort against my mommy's heart.
Shortly after my early morning meal, we fell asleep as a family. We rested that way for the whole first day. On the second day, we had visitors. Family and new friends filled our room and it overflowed with joy, love and some take-out meals for my parents.
On the third day we headed towards my new home. I was dressed for the first time and placed in my "Adventure Seat". The nurse gave us a thumbs up and wished us well, but the doctors were worried about my new belly button. In a blink we were moved to a new area. This area was different. There were bright flashing monitors, tubes, alarms, and there was sadness and hope all swirled together. My mommy was crying. Daddy was talking and asking questions. And I was getting poked, taped, and placed in a bed alone with wires attached.
I felt the need to be close to my mom. I wanted her to hold me to her heart and fill my belly. I was scared. She was scared too. She couldn't hold me at first, but as soon as she could she scooped me up. I was really hungry then! I was frantically trying to attach to my mom. It was much harder than it had been before we moved to this new place. I could feel tightness and fear. We struggled to find the rhythm we had created in our birthing room. After several hours and a couple dry diapers the nurses insisted on feeding me by any means necessary. They told my mom that her supply was not enough and I was too hungry to wait for it to come in.
Safety seals were popped and a tube was placed on a finger. I ate, but there was no heart.
After only 2 days of monitoring I was allowed to return to a private room with my mommy and daddy. Though my belly button was no longer a concern, nursing did not improve. I was hungry and unable to fill my belly. My mommy spent hours pumping, trying to get me the milk I needed. She was so sad. I could feel her disappoint and sorrow. My daddy struggled to help us both feel better, but we couldn't.
We left the hospital on the 5th day of my life in this world. My mommy was armed with a nipple shield and daddy carried out tubes, formula, and syringes. I could tell that I was hurting my mommy when I tried to eat. We were both struggling.
The following day was a Wednesday. I was 6 days old when daddy insisted and dropped us off at a breastfeeding group. As we entered, my mommy started crying. There were so many women and it was a little overwhelming. The Lactation Consultant greeted us and rubbed mommy's back while she gathered herself. It was that moment that our breastfeeding path was forever changed. We sat next to a young mommy and her daughter. They had also supplemented formula and finger-fed. I felt my mommy relax as she found solidarity in the ladies around her. Everyone was encouraging. Everyone talked of solutions. Everyone was kind.
All around that room were mommies and babies of all ages. Babies were sleeping peacefully or nursing happily. Even those struggling, like us, seemed to be on the path toward pain-free --even pleasant nursing. Though I slept the entire time that first day, my mommy got some wonderful advice and recommendations that we implemented immediately and found some much needed relief.
We returned to that group every Wednesday, week after week. We delighted in meeting new mommies. We formed friendships. Strong friendships, with strong, beautiful women and sweet, beautiful babies. My mommy calls them her "Breast Friends".
We continued to meet every Wednesday, long after we truly needed breastfeeding support, so that we could now offer support to other moms. That first Wednesday my mommy NEEDED to see all of the older babies nursing successfully for her to attempt to be successful nursing me. If these bright and loving women--who all had some struggles-- were breastfeeding blissfully, then so could we. Period. We wanted to be there every week as a representation of blissful breastfeeding, but mostly we wanted to be there to encourage anyone that was having a hard time, anyone who could use a smile, some fellowship, or maybe just a rub on the back.
I've been laying against my mommy, filling my belly to the beat of her heart for 9 months now. We have no intention of stopping, even as I discover newer and more solid foods. We had some ups and downs, but made some lifelong Breast Friends in the process.
I often hear my mommy say that every mommy needs Breast Friends. You need people who are going through the exact same stuff as you at the same time --the joys and the struggles! You need an outlet to freely discuss the frequency and color of your baby's poop and people who genuinely care about the condition of your nipples. Every mommy needs Breast Friends and we were so blessed to find ours at our Wednesday Breastfeeding Group.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:
(This list will be updated by afternoon August 1 with all the carnival links.)
- If You're Worried About Your Kid Seeing Me Breastfeeding, You're Doing It Wrong — Dionna at Code Name: Mama is living the breastfeeding-as-a-cultural-norm dream. She has first-hand experience that kids, teens & adults who see breastfeeding accept breastfeeding.
- Supporting Breastfeeding Online — Wendy at Breastfeeding Utah reaches out to birth and breastfeeding support professionals who are interested in knowing more about supporting their clients online.
- Breast Friends — Mama Bree, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center, shares a baby's journey to blissful breastfeeding with a little help.
- World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Online Breastfeeding Support — Other than buying and reading up on books, Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy finds that it is useful to read up on other mums’ breastfeeding experiences and how they deal with their obstacles.
- It Takes a Village... — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am talks about the support she got from her family, especially from her own mom, who is a lactation consultant.
- Community Support — Ashley at ModerationMama tells about her supportive community surrounding her breastfeeding journey, and she talks about the importance of the breastfeeding class she took while still pregnant.
- Finding a Nanny to Be Part of My Village — Before returning to work, Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen, posting at Natural Parents Network, needed to find a trusted caregiver for her daughter. Someone who supported her parenting goals and was ready to become part of a family.
- A Nursey Love Letter — When asked about her nursing support group, KassK of Get Born Tribe surprised herself with the answer: her husband!
- We are mammals. — To be a mammal . . . what does that mean? Practicing Mammal educates us.
- Building a Solid Foundation for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey — Tia at Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round shares how she built a strong support network to help her successfully breastfeed her newborn daughter.
- Stubbornness and Support: My Breastfeeding Journey — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her breastfeeding journey, from unhelpful nurses to a gentle guide, and her sheer stubbornness.
- Looking online for breastfeeding support — The author at "Just" A Mom has found many ways to use the internet to support her mothering and breastfeeding journey, and she has learned how to keep her online experiences positive.
- The Village that didn't feed — Nona's Nipples at The Touch of Life explains how our communities influence our choices. She explains how she came to breastfeed and how it was taken away.
- Nursing By Example — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births decided to nurse through a pregnancy and to try tandem nursing thanks to the support from her La Leche League leader and another mother in her community. Read about the resources that were helpful and the lessons she learned on her journey into tandem nursing.
- A Burden Shared: How my IBCLC Lightened my Load — My IBCLC rocks!! smscott at In All Things...One Step at a Time's journey would not be possible without a huge contribution of time and energy from her IBCLC. Her difficult times were measured in weeks and months instead of moments.
- Fathers Need Breastfeeding Support Too — Destany at They Are All of Me recalls that the biggest detriment to her breastfeeding success was her husband's strong disapproval.
- Breastfeeding Support Over the Years — Valerie at Momma in Progress discusses the range of support she received over her seven-year breastfeeding journey.
- Uncharted Territory: Breastfeeding — Michelle at Oh, The Simple Joys describes her change of heart regarding breastfeeding and the kind souls who helped along the way. From thinking formula was the norm to extended ecological breastfeeding, this is her story. Her story also includes breastfeeding after a hospital birth, dealing with inverted nipples, and the lactation consultant who helped to name her daughter.
- Online Breastfeeding Support: Finding Success, Acceptance and Friendships — Author and CLEC Lara Audelo of Virtual Breastfeeding Culture shares how online breastfeeding support changed her entire life, and why so many mothers are drawn to it, rely upon it, and place such value on their virtual mother-to-mother connections.
- Staying Connected---Online Breastfeeding Support for AD Military Moms — Breastfeeding in Combat Boots shares how important online support is to the success of breastfeeding for mothers serving in the military.
- Breastfeeding and Community — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work discusses ways in which community affects breastfeeding dyads and makes suggestions for accepting and supporting nursing as normal and necessary.
- World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Community Support — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has been breastfeeding NON-STOP since 4th March 2009, the day her first child Benjamin was born. Jenny shares who has been in her community of breastfeeding supporters.
- Oversupply as a Blessing in Disguise: Milk Sharing and Wet Nursing — Tooele Birth and Breastfeeding, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, tells how she ended up donating breastmilk and wet nursing several babies. She shares the benefits from both a recipient and a donor.