Breastfeeding, The True Story

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about how you influence others. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

How do I infulence others to breastfeed? The same way I influence others to do anything else….I tell them it’s horrible.

Okay, so maybe that’s not quite true.

Breastfeeding can be hard. Breastfeeding doesn’t always come easily, quickly, or naturally. When new moms expect to put that baby to breast and have everything work perfectly, they get really frustrated and disappointed.

Expecting my second child, I was terrified. I continually wondered how I was going to juggle breastfeeding my newborn and taking care of my toddler. One of the most comforting things I heard was from my friend Susan. Susan is Supermom. The kind of woman who makes everything look effortless and fun. She is saving the world and baking cookies at the same time.

So, when I was worrying about how to handle the breastfeeding and toddler realm, I called Susan. Susan told me about potty training her toddler while breastfeeding. She told me about her baby “on boob” in the bathroom while wiping her toddler’s bum. The picture of this in my mind was completely absurd. Susan told me it was worse than that. It was horrifying. It was funny. And if Super-Susan could be that absurd, I knew I had a good chance of making this work.

Influencing others to breastfeed is as easy as telling stories. I share my frustrations, so new moms know they aren’t the only ones that didn’t just “get it” right off. I share my absurd stories so they know that they aren’t the only ones losing their calm, cool, together look sometimes. I share my stories of getting help.

I hope my stories will help other moms know where to turn. I want them to know they are not alone. They don’t have to hide under their nursing covers and separate themselves with their struggles. I share my stories so new moms know that they can bare their troubles and breasts to Le Leche League members, lactation consultants, moms who have gone before, the internet community, and to other new moms.

And I share my stories of those wonderful, quiet moments looking into my baby’s eyes, so they know that they are alone in those moments. They are alone with their baby and learning to love in a way they never have before. In those wonderful breastfeeding moments, they are learning to give to their babies. I share my stories so that new moms know that those moments are what carry them through. Those breastfeeding moments are what we remember. Those memories allow us to hold our babies as they grow and throw tantrums, and break things, and turn into children, and teenagers, and adults.

So when a pregnant coworker told me that she didn’t know if she was going to breastfeed, I pulled up a chair and put my feet up. We shared stories for about an hour. We laughed and became friends. When she left for maternity leave, she told me, “I’ve decided I’m going to try breastfeeding. It sounds like I can make it work if I’m flexible. Right?”

When my friend from college was close to the birth of her first baby, she felt alone, scared, and frustrated. We swapped stories over Facebook until we both felt like she could create her own stories, by not doing everything perfectly.

Everyone who has ever had a baby has stories about it. Look at the number of books and blogs about being a mom, having a baby, and breastfeeding. These stories have purpose. These stories are even more meaningful coming from someone close.

So I share. My stories are funny. My stories are absurd. My stories are sometimes sad. But, like every mom, my stories have the power to comfort, guide, and support new moms.

As powerful as my stories are, I also realize that there are stories even more powerful to new moms. So, sometimes, I know that the most influence I can have, whether a new mom is struggling or experiencing wonder, is to listen to her stories. Or to push a new mom to tell her story. My stories may influence, but I hope for successful breastfeeding stories for every new mom. For new moms, their stories are far more powerful than mine.

Today’s guest post is from Shelly Poole. Shelly is a stressed-out mom who breastfed through a new career, graduate school, a divorce, a custody battle, and a toddler. Shelly loves to sleep when she can. As a nurse and mother, she advocates natural birth, breastfeeding, and the art of forgiving yourself as a parent. She lives in Utah with two kids, two dogs, and an incredible community network that keeps her going.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Filed under Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival

2 responses to “Breastfeeding, The True Story

  1. I really enjoyed your post! Humor and patience are always good sidekicks to have! Thanks for sharing your insight and perspective! Gonna repost to my FB page!:)

  2. timbra

    This is a great post. . .thanks for sharing shelly!

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