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Personal Importance of Breastfeeding – July 27

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 personal importance 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!


Marilee Poulson is mother to three girls, ages 7, 5, and 5, and a son, age 2. She is a member of La Leche League and is an enthusiastic supporter of breastfeeding. She lives with her children in Salt Lake City.


Today’s Topic: Why is breastfeeding Important to YOU and your family?


Almost a year ago I filed for divorce. My youngest child, a son, was just over a year old at the time. It was several months later, when he was eighteen months old, that he has started staying overnight with his dad. So for the last six months, he and I have had to spend some nights away from each other. Here is why breastfeeding is important to me and my family.

Breastfeeding is a perfect way for us to reconnect after a separation. I have learned through experience how I can maintain my milk supply when my baby and I are separated. I have learned some tips at La Leche League meetings from working moms, especially those that travel without their nurslings.

In a normal week, we spend two nights apart. At first, I pumped milk when we were separated. Later, I switched to hand-expression in the shower. If we are separated for more than two nights, I am able to meet up with my son to nurse during his “dad time”. I nurse him in my car for about twenty minutes, one or two times a day on the days that we are separated.

When my son comes home after time with his dad, without fail the first thing he says is, “Uh nurse?” Not only are my son and I able to reconnect, but at the same time I can reconnect with my three girls, ages 7, 5, and 5 (twins). They tell me about their day and I tell them about mine, or sometimes we read a book, all while their brother is nursing. I am sure that they are learning how beneficial this nursing time is for everyone, something I hope they remember when they are mothers themselves.

I offer to nurse frequently when my son and I are together. I have a willing nurser who is not deterred by slow flow due to low milk after long separations. My milk supply does go up and down, but it’s comforting to realize that toddlers’ nursing often varies from day to day, whether separated due to divorce or not.

With pumping, hand expression, nursing during dad time, and lots of nursing when we are together, I have been able to maintain a milk supply despite lengthy separations.

Breastfeeding helps with nighttime parenting. I have the convenience of being the only adult in a king-size bed! This makes lots of room for little ones who need some nighttime comfort. I used to put my baby in a crib in my room then bring him to bed when he woke up during the night. Later I realized that he spent very little time in his crib, and that it is so much more convenient to start the night in the big bed. We just get more and better sleep that way.

Because he sleeps in different homes throughout the week, my son is sometimes confused in a sleepy haze when he wakes up during the night. Nursing helps comfort him through that, and he can often peacefully go back to sleep.

There is also plenty of room in the bed for one or two other little people that might need some snuggle time with Mom. They love the chance to cuddle with their little brother, too. I expect that in the future the whole family will look back with fondness at these times of family closeness.

Breastfeeding provides antibodies and nutrition. Like any toddler, my son is exposed to all kinds of germs. Mothers have in their nature to help the sick, and breastfeeding is a wonderful tool that we possess to fill that role. My breastmilk can provide my son antibodies that protect from potential infections and that facilitate his healing when he is sick. Though he doesn’t drink my milk when we are separated, breastmilk is beneficial when we are together and continues to protect while we are apart.

Most toddlers are “hit or miss” eaters. I feel confident knowing that no matter what he does or doesn’t eat, he is getting lots of nutrition from breastmilk. Just this month my son came down with a terrible intestinal virus causing diarrhea and vomiting. He ate almost nothing for two days. However, he was keenly interested in nursing. Almost as much as it was comforting for him, it was a relief for me that he was getting perfectly balanced food in small quantities, just what his body craved.

Breastfeeding was important to me before I started down the divorce path, and it continues to be priceless since. Right now, breastfeeding is a key part of how we reconnect as a family, how we find peace at night, and how I am able to provide health and healing. It’s clear that over time, breastfeeding will undoubtedly be replaced by other routines and practices. Though breastfeeding will not always be part of our daily family life, I look forward to it being part of our family legacy for generations to come.

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