Category Archives: The Normal Course of Breastfeeding

Wordless Wednesday – July 25

Babywearing!

 

 

Watch last years Babywearing Flash Mob!

 

 

 

 

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Journey of One Father – July 24

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog Carnival for 2012. For more information on the Breastfeeding Cafe, check out this site. If you would like to participate in this year’s carnival, just post on your personal blog and put a link in the comment section below.  To receive email updates for next year, contact Timbra landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about the journey of one father as he came to accept and appreciate the benefits of breastfeeding. Please read the other posts in today’s carnival listed in the comments section of this post. The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!

 

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Jared Lewandowski is the father of five children. He has been married to his beautiful wife for over 12 years and has had the wonderful opportunity to watch each one grow up with the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding.

 

For me as a father, breastfeeding has not always been easy. I struggled with many aspects of it and it wasn’t until I began learning about what breastfeeding was that it became easier to not only understand, but also truly appreciate. In this post, I will touch on the most difficult issue for me, nursing in public. Once I understood how powerful the connection between mother and baby was when built upon that special bond that can only be made through the intimacy of breastfeeding, it became my responsibility as a father to ensure its place in our daily family life.

 

My wife always knew she would breastfeed her children. It was never officially discussed as husband and wife, but I could tell in her eyes that she was serious about this decision and I was not going to be one to argue a point otherwise. After our first child was born, I immediately noticed that she would always be holding him. He would never be more than a few feet from her at all times. She would hold him, nurse him, he would go play for a few minutes, then come back and nurse again. I watched in amazement at first, for it was truly a sight to behold. I could see that this baby knew who his mother was.

 

Over the next fifteen months, this baby grew… and grow he did! As he got bigger, nursing became more of a challenge for us. We would go out to social get-togethers and he would want to nurse – without a blanket. My wife would do her best to keep him concealed with one, but he would do his best to make sure he could see those around him and try his best to move it out of the way. This was extremely difficult for me. The thought of another person catching a glance at my wife’s breast was not something I was comfortable with… at all. I brought my concerns up to her immediately and we discussed my concerns at length. After some time, I realized that my wife and I felt the same way about this issue, and she has and always would do her best to nurse appropriately in any circumstance or situation. We both agreed it was better for the baby to not feel ashamed, than it was for me to be overprotective or jealous. And after twelve years of nursing, I can honestly say that not once did I feel she was waving a big sign around saying, “Look at me!” while she was nursing. It was always intimate and beautiful, and I felt deeply proud to be her husband and the father of each child.

 

In 2002, my wife became a certified breastfeeding peer counselor for WIC. From there, she taught me so much about the benefits of breastfeeding. But even more than that, I have watched my kids go from baby to toddler to teenager, and it has been such a wonderful thing to watch the amazing influence breastfeeding has had on them. They are healthy, happy (most of the time), and smart. But most of all, they have known from the day they were born that they are loved.  They have been hardwired with security and stability that cannot be matched. Confidence has become instinct in all that they do. And with that in mind, it is my hope that every father out there will support his wife in her decision to breastfeed.

 

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Wisdom & Influence Passed Down To You – July 23

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog Carnival for 2012. For more information on the Breastfeeding Cafe, check out this site. If you would like to participate in this year’s carnival, just post on your personal blog and put a link in the comment section below.  To receive email updates for next year, contact Timbra landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about Wisdom & Influence passed down to you. Please read the other posts in today’s carnival listed in the comments section of this post. The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!

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Linda Jo Devlaeminck is the mother of four daughters, and the grandmother of two so far. “I grew up in the ’60’s and ’70’s and married a wonderful man in 1980, who has partnered with me in the joy of raising our girls, shared his bed with all of them while they were nursing (think hugging the side to give us room), and is a great grandfather.”

 

Today’s Prompt:  Wisdom may be passed down to us from prior generations or just from friends who have already been there. Did you receive any “sage” wisdom from a mother in your life, prior to becoming one yourself? Not all people are so bold as to share their wisdom, what INFLUENCES in your life lead to your decision to breastfeed your child/ren? Was breastfeeding something you saw in your family? What were your feelings about breastfeeding before nursing your own babies?

 

My mother was unsuccessful in breastfeeding my oldest sister. In her generation, mothers were encouraged to use bottles. Encouraged by her doctor, for a while she tried to both nurse and use a bottle and thought it was the worst of both worlds. We were all brought up on diluted, canned, evaporated milk. Although we all survived, I am very sad for her that she missed out on the joys and convenience of breastfeeding because she did not have the support that is more common when I was nursing and today!

I was much more fortunate. Before I was married, I lived with a woman who breastfed her children. Luckily for me, she had her youngest while I still was there!  I got to see first hand the simplicity and joy of breastfeeding and the benefits for the children.  I remember observing many mothers and children in our community and I could tell which were breastfeeding pairs by how peaceful and independent the children were! I was convinced! She was also my coach when I had children of my own.  One thing she taught me that I always try to pass on is that you can stop a let down reflex by pressure on the breast. It is so much easier than pads!

I wouldn’t have missed nursing my children for the world! With the coaching of my friend, I was able to meet the needs of my children and developed a strong relationship with them as well as giving them a healthy start in life.

I had a friend who was in the same stage in life. It is such a support to share our love for breastfeeding. We would regularly trade childcare.  I usually kept my nursing babies with me until they were well into the toddler stage, but she left hers after the first few months. Both of us nursed all of each other’s children. How much easier it was than expressing or using bottles! And, our children experienced the comfort and relationship on the nursing relationship even when we weren’t there.

I am so grateful for the support I received and have been able to pass on. Now my daughter knows more than I ever did about breastfeeding and she is the one who teaches me! Pass it on!

 

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Our Own Childhood Experience Surrounding Breastfeeding – July 22

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog Carnival for 2012. For more information on the Breastfeeding Cafe, check out this site. If you would like to participate in this year’s carnival, just post on your personal blog and put a link in the comment section below.  To receive email updates for next year, contact Timbra landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about our own infant/childhood experience surrounding breastfeeding. Please read the other posts in today’s carnival listed in the comments section of this post. The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!

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Today’s guest blogger is Heather mother of 3 rambunctious boys. Between 3 part time jobs, 3 kids and her blog she keeps busy. You can find her at www.homemademom.com where she blogs about all things parenting and living on less.  

 

Today’s Prompt:  Were you breastfed as a child? What obstacles did your mother face? What was the public opinions? Family opinion? Factors for not breastfeeding, if this was the case? What was the medical opinion at the time? How long was “normal?” Did your mother or grandmother influence you to breastfeed your own child/ren?
My breastfeeding relationship with my children has long ended, but when I see a Breastfeeding Carnival I still feel the need to contribute. Breastfeeding was near and dear to my heart.


I was breastfed as a child. My sister and I both were. I remember my mom saying that the “norm” at that time was Bottle Feeding. It was all the rage, and if you could afford to do it you needed to. Her impression was that the people who couldn’t afford to formula feed had no choice but to breastfeed, but despite the bad stigma at the time she decided to breastfeed. I’m not really sure what her reasons were. Herself and her twin sister weren’t breastfed. They were preemies and required a hospital stay that separated them from their mother.


I asked my mom if she would be interested in typing out her thoughts on breastfeeding. Here’s what she wrote: 

I had Heather in 1978 and back then it was more popular to do formula feeding over breastfeeding.   was a stay-at-home mom and the formula was so expensive that my husband at the time and I decided that I should try. The hospital made you stay in until your milk came in, and for me it was four days.  I loved it and the bonding that I had with Heather. Whenever I nursed I would go in the bedroom or another room, I kept it private, I never breastfed in front of anyone except when it was our immediate family only.  There was one time I got a breast infection and the antibiotic they gave me, doctor’s warned, would turn Heather’s teeth yellow for life! So I pumped and gave her formula until the infection had passed. She hated it! It was the worst seven days of my life! Heather stopped one day at 10 months old, she may have been ready but I wasn’t. I also breastfed my second daughter for 11 months, she quit on her own as well. I still feel that this was one of the best decisions I every made for my children and me.



She told me that she was well aware that breastfeeding was better than formula feeding. She knew there were many benefits for her and the baby, maybe not specifics, but enough to know that breast is best. I don’t think many women were breastfeeding in those days and if they were many did it very discreetly or even in secret. So it’s unknown to me what the average age was to breastfeed until.


All I knew from an early age was that we were breastfed. It seemed normal to be from as early as I can remember. I never even thought for a second that I would formula feed, and I didn’t. I’m proud to say that I was breastfed and my children were all breastfed. I hope that my decision to breastfed causes my sons to become advocates for their future children and that they are able to encourage and influence their future wives to make the same amazing decision. It will alwaysbe worth the effort.

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Night Time Parenting – July 20

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog Carnival for 2012. For more information on the Breastfeeding Cafe, check out this site. If you would like to participate in this year’s carnival, just post on your personal blog and put a link in the comment section below.  To receive email updates for next year, contact Timbra landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about Night Time Parenting. Please read the other posts in today’s carnival listed in the comments section of this post. The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!

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Rachel Ricks is the parent of three boys, one of which is due in September. She is also a birth doula and a member of La Leche League. She resides in Ogden. She feels qualified to write on the subject of nighttime parenting first because of her son Owen’s health related circumstances that influenced him to wake every one to two hours a night for over a year and second because of the countless books she has read about attachment parenting, cosleeping, and breastfeeding.   

Today’s Prompt: Night Time parenting is a big part of breastfeeding, especially in the early months (and continuing for years sometimes). What does sleep look like in your family? Did you have a similar sleeping arrangement with your own parents? What were your feelings surrounding safety and security at night while growing up? Were there people in your life who encouraged you to choose your sleeping arrangement?

Nighttime parenting in our house is very different from most of the people that I know. We are cosleepers and not only that but we are now well into the phase of toddler nursing. In fact nighttime parenting and breastfeeding are so synonymous with each other that my two and a half year old son Owen, to whom this post is dedicated, has the code word “sleepies” for when he wants to breastfeed. These two parenting techniques which seem simple to me are really foreign to a lot of modern American families.
The other night I was lying down with Owen to help him fall asleep. I reflected on our years of cosleeping and had one of those moments of parenting when you actually know that what you’re doing is right for your family. How wonderful and sporadic those moments are! Of course Owen didn’t notice. He was just trying to find any kind of distraction to get out of having to go to bed. Oh, how I miss those days of simply nursing him down to sleep every night. It was so easy!! But now that he doesn’t often nurse to sleep we have the opportunity to talk to each other. That night we had a great conversation about weaning, growing up, and how important little Owen is to our growing family. I was able to share a lot of love and family values with him and I could tell how proud he was to be a loved member of our family. I love how breastfeeding and co-sleeping has impacted my family. I now believe that nighttime parenting is one of the most important tools we carry as mothers.
So many parents believe in the American traditions of early sleep training, early night weaning, and separated sleeping arrangements. They fear and dread the day that their child gets to sleep in a real bed as opposed to the crib. They think of their children as manipulative when they ask for a drink of water, another kiss, an extra story, and, simply, more of mommy and daddy. I can’t say that I haven’t felt that way myself at times. But, over the years of nursing a child to sleep, often nursing every one to two hours at night, and giving in to the extra kisses, songs, and stories that my children also want, I have learned that our children rely on us to give, give, give, and then give some more. More importantly I have learned that it is a great blessing to give as much as we are asked. I recently read the following quote from The Successful Child, a book by Dr. Sears,
“Investing in your parenting means being willing to devote a significant amount of time and energy to raising your children. Especially in the early years, parents are the givers and babies are the takers. You’re asked to give and give, even when you’re tired or running out of patience. This is a realistic picture of what it takes to raise happy, healthy kids. Although it’s important to take care of your own needs during these early, demanding years of parenthood, for the most part you’re called on to invest yourself highly in your children… You, the parents, grow and mature when you make this kind of investment in your family, and parenting becomes much easier as your investment pays off.”
I have certainly grown and matured as an individual, a mother, a wife, a friend, and so on as my children have taught me to be empathetic, flexible, patient, and kind. I never would have believed so strongly in cosleeping if my children hadn’t wanted to nurse all night. I never would have learned the value of nighttime parenting if my children hadn’t asked for me to stay with them until they fell asleep. And, in a way, I never would have gained the empathy that I have for my children had my parents been more open to my own childhood nighttime needs.
Cosleeping and breastfeeding on demand has been the catalyst to a whole new way of looking at my children and my own capabilities as a parent. It has taught me to respond to my children’s needs quicker and more often. I look forward to bedtime because it means my kids will go to sleep so I can have some time without them AND because it means I get to have that special extra interaction WITH them that I don’t make or have time for during the day.
Nighttime parenting, even without actually cosleeping, gives us as parents precious moments that we would miss out on if we were not open to giving our children a little more of us each night… the snuggles, the conversations as they get older, the quality time, the sweet sleeping faces, the gained confidence that the child receives from knowing that mommy and daddy are always there to provide and protect. Yes, of course if you choose to cosleep there are the kicks, noises, awkward sleep positions, and frequent waking which many parents are uncomfortable with. I understand that. Bedtime routines can include all of the extra love without the habit of cosleeping, but it just happened to be the easiest way for our family to enjoy the benefits of nighttime parenting and breastfeeding.
I believe that when nighttime parenting becomes a positive and integral part of our families we can learn and grow together and feel more united and capable. Nighttime parenting, including nursing on demand through the night, is one of the most stretching experiences I have had as a parent as well as one of the most fulfilling.

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Babywearing – July 19

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog Carnival for 2012. For more information on the Breastfeeding Cafe, check out this site. If you would like to participate in this year’s carnival, just post on your personal blog and put a link in the comment section below.  To receive email updates for next year, contact Timbra landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about babywearing. Please read the other posts in today’s carnival listed in the comments section of this post. The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!

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Ashley Barrett is a wife of a graduate student working towards a PhD in Nuclear Chemistry and a mother of two busy little boys (ages 4 years and 18 months) and three angel babies who she never got the opportunity to meet.  She is also homeschooler,  a WAHM (owner of Monkey Bunns), LLL leader in Oregon, and founder and leader of Corvallis Babywearers.  She got in to babywearing because of an online birth board and had a few carriers when her first son, nicknamed Monkey, was born April 2008.  She has become an addict and has a wide variety of different types of carriers.  She wants to become an official certified Babywearing Educator in the next year or two. 

 

Today’s Prompt:  July 19th: Babywearing is common in many parts of the world and has been for centuries. Do you wear your baby? Why? Have you found it has an effect on your breastfeeding relationship? Did someone else suggest you wear your baby? Did you observe babywearing before becoming a mother? Did your mother or grandmother ever practice baby wearing? 

You can also find this post on my own blog at monkeybunnsmama.blogspot.com.  Make sure to comment there and here-I love comments!
I got in to babywearing because of an online birth board (a support group through pregnancy and later for our growing baby, infant, toddler, etc).  I became very curious about it and started researching it.  I ended up purchasing a couple of sized pouch slings and a stretchy wrap (but not a very good one).  I planned to start wearing Monkey from the beginning.  I tried but he wasn’t a fan at first and I eventually figured out neither of us liked sized slings.  I eventually got a stretchy wrap and my love grew from there after it cured his colic.

Kangaroo in a Sleepy Wrap (now known as Boba Wrap)
I have since gained quite the collection but I also gave some away to my friend that didn’t work so great on me but I knew they would on her since she’s quite a bit thinner than me :).

Monkey was never really able to nurse in any baby carrier due to being on a nipple shield through our whole nursing relationship.  I was able to work it a couple of times in a ring sling when I needed to have a hand free.  Kangaroo on the other hand has nursed several times in different carriers but I think the easiest to nurse in is the Boba for me.

Kangaroo in the Boba-obviously not nursing 🙂
All I have to do to nurse him in it is loosen the waist and pull it down lower to lower him, loosen the shoulders a bit and scootch him down a bit.  This is my favorite tutorial of how to do it.

Even though I wasn’t able to nurse Monkey in a carrier it really helped our breastfeeding relationship to keep him close.  I remember wrapping, unwrapping, rewrapping the Sleepy Wrap a billion times a day so I could nurse him and then snuggle him.  Keeping him close helped me see his hunger cues a lot faster than if he were laying somewhere or tucked away in a carseat (I ALWAYS use a carseat in the car when the car is moving-please practice safe babywearing).  When we would go out somewhere it was much easier to put him in a carrier than to lug a big bucket seat around.

I started wearing Kangaroo earlier because I had more options.

Kangaroo, 3 days old
My favorite was a ring sling in those early days.  I was able to spend more time with Monkey and while I didn’t nurse in a sling for the first little bit I was able to watch his hunger cues and be able to keep him close and safe (Monkey was a normal rough 2 1/2 year old that REALLY loves his brother!).

Even at 18 months I still believe babywearing helps our breastfeeding relationship because it’s all about trust and him knowing that I’m here for him when he needs me.  It’s also very handy to get through a grocery store because my boys LOVE to run two different directions!

And just one more for fun!

When my wrap arrived Monkey really wanted to try it out.  He was only in it for a few minutes but is 35 lbs and was super comfy in it.  This is a Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid wrap and I did the double hammock carry.  It’s my very favorite toddler carry.

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Wordless Wednesday – July 18

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Experiences Nursing in Public – July 17

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog Carnival for 2012. For more information on the Breastfeeding Cafe, check out this site. If you would like to participate in this year’s carnival, just post on your personal blog and put a link in the comment section below.  To receive email updates for next year, contact Timbra landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about experiences nursing in public. Please read the other posts in today’s carnival listed in the comments section of this post. The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!

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What was your first nursing in public experience? How did this shape your view of breastfeeding and your breastfeeding relationship with your child? Did your mother or grandmother have the same types of experiences?


Today’s guest blogger is Jeana Jones.  Jeana is the mother of two, a 3-year-old daughter and a 4-month old son.  She volunteers as a La Leche League Leader with La Leche League of Salt Lake City and is the Library Liaison for this year’s Breastfeeding Cafe.


I actually don’t remember my first experience nursing in public.  After all, I was probably only a few days old.  I do remember my mom nursing my younger sisters, though.  She nursed everywhere!  My mom taught me that babies don’t know how to be selfish and manipulative.  “A baby’s wants are a baby’s needs,” she often said.  I grew up knowing that babies need to eat and/or be comforted at the breast quite often and sometimes unexpectedly.  Thankfully, nursing is quite easily portable and quickly available, and with a little practice, it can be done while attending religious services, at parties, walking through the grocery store, and sitting on the beach.

Actually, nobody told me it took practice, or if they did, I didn’t hear.  “Breastfeeding is easy.”  “Breastfeeding is convenient.”  “Babies need to nurse all the time, but you can do it anywhere.”  “A baby is quiet and happy while nursing in any situation.”  These were the messages I grew up hearing, and they really helped shape my views on breastfeeding in public long before I ever became a mother.  I never thought of it as strange or something that might offend some people or something that a mother would be uncomfortable doing.  It was just how to meet a baby’s needs where and when they needed to be met.

When I first became a mother myself, I wanted a relationship with my child where I could make myself available to her whenever she needed me.  For a long time, for me, that meant being close all the time so that I could quickly meet her needs.  Our first time nursing in public came when she was two days old, the first day I left the house since she was born.  Yes, absolutely, I was crazy for leaving the house so soon after giving birth, but my milk had come in, and I was soaking through nursing pads and shirts right and left, and I went to a maternity store to stock up on some more cloth nursing pads.  (And did I mention that I was crazy and could hardly walk and shouldn’t have been up and about, and I was crazy?!?)

I got my daughter latched while we were at our car, and then I carried her in my arms as I walked with both of us covered with a blanket just as I had seen my mother do so many times growing up.  On such a cool evening, my daughter nestled in and went to sleep.  This went well as we walked from where we parked into the maternity store, but then my daughter let go of her latch.  How was I supposed to hold this baby and keep that blanket from getting knocked out of position while putting my shirt back together?  Honestly, I don’t even remember how we managed.

I have been through many phases of figuring out how to nurse in public quickly, conveniently, and comfortably.  I eventually ditched the blanket and nursed without a cover for the first time at the Breastfeeding Cafe, when my daughter was four months old.  Making it work, one way or another, was very important to me so that I could meet my daughter’s needs, and later my son’s needs too, where and when they were needed.  I could sing at church while wearing my daughter, and she stayed happy and quiet, latched on almost the whole time.  I could keep her warm when we were outside in the cold by nursing her.  She could face new situations first at my breast, and then she was less fearful and more willing to face them independently.  I didn’t have to worry about her going hungry when we were stuck on an airplane that was delayed, and when she fell down and got hurt, nobody had to listen to her scream for long since she was so quickly comforted by nursing.

As my daughter gets older, the times that we nurse in public have decreased significantly.  She is more interested in things outside of me, has learned other ways of coping with little bumps and bruises, and has figured out other ways to seek reassurance from me while handling most new situations.  Still, she does better making it through a church service if she can nurse for just a bit in the middle, and there are some situations where she really wants reassurance from me by nursing, regardless of where we are.  Nursing my daughter, and now my son as well, regardless of where we are, has been such an important part of of my mothering style.  I really don’t know what I would do without it!

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How Birth Effects Breastfeeding – July 16th

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Blog Carnival for 2012. For more information on the Breastfeeding Cafe, check out this site. If you would like to participate in this year’s carnival, just post on your personal blog and put a link in the comment section below.  To receive email updates for next year, contact Timbra landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about how birth effects breastfeeding. Please read the other posts in today’s carnival listed in the comments section of this post. The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!

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Timbra Wiist is a wife & mother to two little girls (ages 6 and nearly 3), one foreign born and one water born.  She is a La Leche League leader of 4 years, working with LLL in Murray, UT.  Timbra is a photographer who specializes in Breastfeeding Portraits and “the Journey of Motherhood.”  When she blogs about breastfeeding she does so at www.bosoms-and-babes.blogspot.com, you can read her other posts during the Carnival, there.  


Today’s Prompt:  Share your birth experience and how you feel it shaped your first breastfeeding experience, or experiences with each child. Talk with your mother or grandmother, and hear other birth stories (share them too).

I’ve decided not to rewrite, this is the post I’ve put up in the past two years, because my birth story has not changed and it continues to be the birth of me:

The birth of a first child is in essence, the birth of a mother. We have hopes and dreams for our babies, we think we know exactly what kind of mothers we will be and what kind of birth we will have. . . . but until you have experienced birth, until you have been BORN as a mother, it is almost impossible to envision the birth experience you really desire. Second babies have it easy 🙂

Bare with me as I share some of the details of the birth of my first daughter. They are so important to me and to the prompt because as is mentioned in my “bio,” my first daughter was not born in the US. My experience, therefore, with regards to labor, birth and breastfeeding are vastly different from the stories of sterile hospital births I hear about in the US.

Before I was ever pregnant with her, I had intention to birth in a birth center 40 minutes away from my home. I wanted a water birth. However, just weeks prior to becoming pregnant, my husband and I made a decision to move out of the country and gave ourselves a “pregnancy deadline” which would eventually determine her country of birth. Things didn’t go as planned, and in the end, we landed in this new country only FIVE WEEKS before our little girl was “due.” (we should have been there five MONTHS before).

By the time we arrived we’d seen 7 female doctors/midwifes for prenatal care due to our moving around while waiting on visas. Five weeks gave us very little time to interview doctors and research birth options once we finally arrived. In fact, I’d lived in this country once before and was close friends with a Doula (when I was 19 and husbandless and had NO idea what a doula was, what she did or why she might EVER be important or necessary). And from that experience I knew that an out of hospital birth (though it likely happened all the time among the local people) was not a viable option unless I knew someone who knew someone who was either in the country visiting at the time (a doula, a midwife, etc) or had a relative who happened to have a birth pool and attended births. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the kind of time on my side to be able to figure all of that out. The best I had worked out was that a mutual friend put me in contact with another American woman who had given birth to 3 of her 4 children in this country and through her I was able to find someone who fit my ONLY requirement. . . a female doctor! Not a female doctor she’d had experience with, as her own ob/gyn had since retired, but a female ob/gyn nonetheless.

I am SO thankful that the individual who attended to me when I gave birth to my first daughter, was a woman and a MOTHER herself! It’s not common, even in the US, let alone a developing country to have a female ob/gyn attending a birth, but I was fortunate that this one request was filled. My beautiful Dr. Litiana Browne, was a confident 60-something year old Fijian woman.

My husband and I had agreed (ahead of time)to some medications during my labor, as well as requesting an induction so that my family, who had traveled 3000 miles to be there for the birth of this first grandchild/niece, would not have to leave without having met our little girl. Had I known what I now know, I would have made different choices. . . but when you know better, you do better and it was, in essence, the birth we chose and planned with the knowledge and information we had (or chose to have) at the time. Fortunately, none of this seemed to have had adverse affect on the outcome of her birth or our first nursing experience. My birth as a mother was NOTHING like the stories I hear of here in the States. . . .I was induced by a doctor who did not endorse epidurals and actually said to me “How can you be in control of your labor if everyone is standing over you looking down at you?,” (to be clear, I was NEVER interested in one) a woman who (in her 60s) had very few times found need to perform a cesarean. She slept at the hospital all night, waiting on me to have my baby (I was the only woman giving birth in that hospital that night), she wasn’t “on call” at home.  There was no other doctor who might end up attending my birth.  I was induced at 8am, sent home to be return and be checked in the afternoon, returned to the hospital at 2pm, was sent home again and returned at 6pm at my husband’s request, though I would have preferred to have labored at home for longer, as first timers, we just didn’t know what to expect (during labor with my second daughter, I would learn that my labor patterns easily fooled us, and that I tend to have close and short contractions, so we thought we were much further along in labor than we actually were).  A night of medication, some rest, laboring on the ball, having my water broken and finally around 3:30 am, the urge to push. . .

When I said I needed to push, the nurse did not ask me to wait, she asked to check how far dialated I was, and allowed me to begin pushing (never telling me my “number”). . .while squatting. . . before the Doctor ever arrived. When the Doctor arrived she checked my progress (while I was squatting) then stood in another part of the room speaking in their native language and laughing quietly (not about me. . . just talking, because birth was NORMAL) while my husband sat in a chair behind me, being my rock, and I stood and squatted, and pushed and felt my baby’s head crown before anyone else knew her head was coming. A few details are hazy, after I climbed onto the bed and pushed her out with 2 final pushes. . .a head and her body. . .while on “all fours” and I shouted “Do we have a baby?”  It was 4:16am!

Despite what I am about to say with regards to how it is taken for granted that a mother WILL breastfeed in this culture, unfortunately, Western birth practices have weaseled their way into all sorts of cultures around the world. My baby’s cord was cut, before I even had a chance to turn over and see her, she was whisked just a few feet away onto a warming table, she was wiped up and checked over and it was an hour before I think I actually held her. . . though, it didn’t feel that long and I don’t remember it being that long, my photos are time stamped so I KNOW it was that long. Part of this was due to my needing stitching. But. . . this was the first time I’d ever had a baby, and I didn’t know anything about delayed clamping, I didn’t take the “immediate skin to skin” stuff I’d read, to heart, and truthfully, I didn’t know if I should be responsible for holding a newborn baby while being stitched up.

I had some tearing, but this culture is not interested in numbers, and so my doctor stitched me without telling me “the degree” of tearing and within the first hour I was able to try to nurse my baby for the first time. After my family came to see her and oogle over her and then left (because they had actually been awake the ENTIRE time I had been awake 8am to 6am at this point) I was able to nurse her again. A nurse-midwife (all the nurses were nurse-midwifes) came to check on us, I said “Am I doing this right?” She said “you have a bit of a flat nipple” perked it up for me (a little odd, but seriously, all pretense is gone after giving birth) and that was that. . . my baby latched and nursed happily. . . for the next few years!!!

In part I believe this is because there is a big push in this particular country to return to breastfeeding. Like many foreign countries, when the US says something is good, others follow. . . . many years later than the US. . . .Formula became the norm for several years, however, in the 10 years prior to the birth of my daughter, education (for nurses) on the importance and superiority of breastfeeding over formula and a push to encourage mothers to breastfeed, had become normal practice (again) in the hospitals. There was no question as to whether I would breastfeed my baby. No one offered me a bottle or pacifier, or was concerned about whether she was eating, no one took her blood sugar levels. . .they didn’t even weigh her for four hours!

They waited 4 hours to weigh her for the first time. I didn’t have to request she not be given a pacifier or formula. I didn’t have to request to room in with her. . . in fact, my husband held our daughter while I was being tended to and when I fell asleep after holding and nursing her for a bit, he held her for two more hours, my husband held my baby because a bassinet just “couldn’t be located” (there were TWO birthing rooms in this hospital, across the hall from one another. . . the “overnight” rooms were not just for moms, they were for people recovering from surgery and illness too. . .AND. . . I was the only person giving birth in the hospital that night. . . there was ONE other baby in the nursery. . .where could all the bassinets have run off to?). So, until my husband was falling asleep, sitting up in a chair, with our newborn infant in his arms, no one helped him, not even a little. 3 hours after her birth, they brought a bassinet and took her to the nursery (one room away) and 15 minutes later I woke up (I guess even after being awake 24 hours straight and giving birth, when a new baby is taken from the presence of a new mom who is dead asleep. . .she knows it!). We immediately went to the nursery, I needed to gawk at that baby some more, and then they bathed and weighed her and she never left my presence again until we checked out (except for 10 minutes for vaccinations). 

When I hear about hospital experiences here in the US, I am actually appalled. The sterility, the push for formula, the worry over glucose levels, the shots, the eye goop. . . . (and that’s just AFTER baby comes. . . I am even MORE appalled at all the “red tape” moms go through while in labor, all the encouragements to USE MORE INTERVENTIONS).  My experience, though removed from the “natural” way of birthing, was still so much closer to biologically normal, than anything I hear about here in the US.

My second daughter was born in the US, in a water birth, in a birth center, without complication. She latched and nursed within the first half hour as we lay in bed together, we never left one another. Her birth story is simple, from day 3-14 it got much more complicated, but that is not for this post. My first daughter took 15 hours to make her way, technically, my second daughter took 5 days 🙂  I believe that the birth I experienced with my first daughter, with the knowledgeable and assuming experience of a nurse, that I would breastfeed her, set the course for my mothering and my passion for breastfeeding. . .it was uncomplicated and NORMAL.

So. . . in a culture that assumes every woman can and will breastfeed. . . there was no question, there was no option. . .there was just me. . . a newly born mother. . . and her. . . a newly born baby. . . and we were breastfeeding. . .and we were at the beginning of a beautiful journey that I never could have imagined. And I was born. . .

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Filed under Birth, Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival, Pregnancy, The Normal Course of Breastfeeding

Blog Carnival

This year’s blog carnival will be handled in this manner: it will run from July 16- 31, we have 16 GUEST bloggers, they will post on the main site each day at the Breastfeeding Cafe, if you would also like to post on this topic you can post a link to your blog in the comments section of said post.

 

 Blog Carnival Topics:

There are many customs around the world that bond mother and child, none so much as the bond of breastfeeding. In all ages past, breastfeeding has been the norm and we can look to points in history when things changed, even seeing WHY there has been a shift away from breastfeeding, which was never the initial intent. This year’s Breastfeeding Cafe theme is “Breastfeeding Time Machine: Age Old Wisdom to feed the future.” We can look to many other cultures and our own, to see the effects of this age old wisdom, and a return to “how things once were.” Our topics will be focused on this theme as it relates to our culture, other cultures around the world with regards to birth practices, baby wearing, nursing in public, weaning ages/stories, our own experience as breastfed (or not) infants/children, what we’ve learned from mothers before us, what we are teaching those we influence in our lives, how our own wisdom through nursing has changed from one child to the next, how night time parenting effects breastfeeding, and how breastfeeding has helped you to make choices about your family’s values surrounding parenting, which could even include decisions about work, school, nutrition, etc. Thank you for participating! I would also LOVE to see some of us talking to our own mothers/grandmothers, older women around us, to get perspective on this “age old wisdom.”

July 16th: Share your birth experience and how you feel it shaped your first breastfeeding experience, or experiences with each child. Talk with your mother or grandmother, and hear other birth stories (share them too).

 July 17th: What was your first nursing in public experience? How did this shape your view of breastfeeding and your breastfeeding relationship with your child? Did your mother or grandmother have the same types of experiences?

July 18th: Wordless Wednesday Nursing Photos PLEASE be sure to include photos of your grandmothers or mothers nursing, if you have them!

July 19th: Babywearing is common in many parts of the world and has been for centuries. Do you wear your baby? Why? Have you found it has an effect on your breastfeeding relationship? Did someone else suggest you wear your baby? Did you observe babywearing before becoming a mother? Did your mother or grandmother ever practice baby wearing?

July 20th: Night Time parenting is a big part of breastfeeding, especially in the early months (and continuing for years sometimes). What does sleep look like in your family? Did you have a similar sleeping arrangement with your own parents? What were your feelings surrounding safety and security at night while growing up? Were there people in your life who encouraged you to choose your sleeping arrangement?

 July 21st: Weaning is such a personal choice for each family. In many cultures around the world, children are allowed to choose the time of their weaning, which can be up to 7 or 8 years old. Did you nurse into toddler or childhood yourself? If weaning has or is taking place with your child, what does it look like? Did you expect this?

July 22nd: Were you breastfed as a child? What about your mother?  What obstacles did your mother/grandmother face? What was the public opinions? Family opinion? Factors for not breastfeeding, if this was the case? What was the medical opinion at the time? How long was “normal?” Did your mother or grandmother influence you to breastfeed your own child/ren

July 23rd: Wisdom may be passed down to us from prior generations or just from friends who have already been there. Did you receive any “sage” wisdom from a mother in your life, prior to becoming one yourself? Not all people are so bold as to share their wisdom, what INFLUENCES in your life lead to your decision to breastfeed your child/ren? Was breastfeeding something you saw in your family? What were your feelings about breastfeeding before nursing your own babies?

July 24th: Male perspective day: Talk with (or ask him as a guest blogger) your partner, your father (or ask your mother what your father thought), or another man who has experience with observing breastfeeding (at close range) and get his perspective on social pressures, wisdom, feelings about breastfeeding before becoming a father, what he’s learned, importance of breastfeeding for his family, etc.

 July 25th: Wordless Wednesday Baby Wearing 

 July 26th: We all knew EXACTLY what type of mother we’d be before we became one, right? How has becoming a mother changed your views of motherhood? Have you made different decisions about your family values? About duration of your nursing relationship? Your sleeping situation? School? Work? Nutrition?

July 27th: We all know someone who feels like no one ever “warned” them what life would be like during pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, early weeks of sleeplessness, toddlerhood, etc. What parenting and breastfeeding wisdom have you shared?

July 28th: Why is breastfeeding Important to YOU and your family?

July 29th: Have you nursed in special circumstances? Did you feel supported or like you were paving your own path? If your circumstance included a lot of medical procedures and staff, did you get interesting, strange or just BAD advice from medical staff? Family members? Or did you have support? Where would you encourage moms to go if they were in a similar situation?

July 30th: If you have more than one child, how have you become wiser :)? How did your first nursing experience shape your thoughts, ideas, plans, views, etc for your future nursing experiences?

July 31st: Prior Generation Day: interview someone, or ask someone to guest blog on your own blog today, who breastfed a child in a generation prior to yours and share their story (you can change names to protect the innocent). Find out about the medical opinions, cultural opinion, family opinion, social views of the time and especially how THAT mother felt about breastfeeding her baby!

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Filed under Birth, Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival, Community, Mothers' Circles, Pregnancy, The Normal Course of Breastfeeding