~So I was at this indoor play center for kids the other night and I saw a mother baby wearing her newborn and I just love seeing parents wear their baby. The whole time I’m thinking how great it would be if she were to just whip it out and start breastfeeding. I told my hubby that and he gave me the weirdest look like I was a creep or something. I really didn’t think of it like that I think it is just my passion shining through. Anyone can just SAY they support something but actions speaks louder than words. It made me realize how deep my passion for breastfeeding advocacy really is though the other night. I wanted to be there for that mother if she in fact needed the support or reassurance that it is okay to nurse in public. I haven’t quite got to the point where I will verbally just randomly bring it up and for many valid reasons. For one she may not even breastfeed so saying something reassuring about NIP may make her feel bad or awkward if she isn’t. But I just thought it was confirmation for myself that this is something that is sort of like my calling in a sense. I never felt like I had any purpose in this world other than being a mommy/wife/daughter. All my life I have always been the one that was there for someone else whether it was making sure they knew they were beautiful, complimenting a good quality of theirs to make them want to embrace it, and feeling their emotions right along side with them. Maybe that was just “practice” for my venture in breastfeeding advocacy. Whether people want to admit or not breastfeeding absolutely does take a lot of encouraging, reassurance, and support, something I think I excel in being able to provide to complete strangers and even friends or loved ones. I may not be all that knowledgeable logistically but I have brought in people who are and willing to volunteer their time to help, thankfully.
~I’m looking to expand this support all over. I have started with a website, blog, twitter, Instagram, youtube, and a thriving private group on facebook. That is only the start. I’m looking to turn breastfeeding mama talk into its own organization or brand in a sense. I want to be able to provide a place/s for woman to go when they need support. My goal is to get grant approval to be able to hold live support group meetings in my area and maybe even travel to other areas if it ever gets to be at all possible. I would love to speak out about breastfeeding to expecting parents or even to their families and friends as well to explain how crucial breastfeeding support is and how the support they get from their family and friends may determine how well their breastfeeding experience will be. It really does take an army to breastfeed. You have the mom vulnerable and scared, the significant other struggling with how he/she can help as far as feedings go, the doctors/pediatrician on how educated and or encouraging they are about breastfeeding, family and friends providing a comfortable atmosphere for the mother to breastfeed, now insurance companies even covering the pump cost, LC service, and other necessary supplies, and lastly the complete strangers that a mother may have to feed in front of in public. It takes ALL those aspects for a woman to have an amazing successful breastfeeding experience. Then you have breastfeeding advocates trying to do whatever they can to support those that may not be getting the support I mentioned above that they need. Since formula is so readily available if someone were to struggle with anything having to do with breastfeeding sometimes woman feel they should just automatically resort to formula since it’s available. Formula is an option, that is correct but that still doesn’t take away the fact that breastmilk will always remain the best option. So that is why it is crucial for woman to have as much support as she can get. If she is struggling she doesn’t need to hear that she always has formula for back up, or to just supplement and do both. Not that those options are horrible but making someone feel like what they are doing is just an alternative makes it sound like the other options are one in the same and they most certainly are not. She needs to hear things like, “I know it’s hard right now, but you will get a system down, I’m sure of it!” Sometimes all it takes is one reassuring sentence from someone close or even from a complete stranger!
~So maybe you can understand a little more why I have this desire to encourage a new mother to NIP if her baby became hungry or provide outlets for woman to go to have “mama talk” and ask questions. Some woman are so scared and uncomfortable to NIP they end up staying home and never leave the house. It shouldn’t have to be like that. New parents feel restricted enough as it is, breastfeeding shouldn’t make life harder, it should in fact make life easier. So NIP (nursing in public) doesn’t even need to be an issue. Just as people bottle feed in public a nursing mother should have that same exact right and be given the same exact respect.
~Please share below any experience,the good, the bad, and the ugly you have had with nursing in public. If you were struggling with breastfeeding did any words of encouragement turn that around for you and give you a whole new outlook? If so what was said? Are or were support groups a key essential to your breastfeeding experience? If so, please explain why. If you are a supporter what draws you to wanting to advocate for breastfeeding? And lastly, what is the importance of breastfeeding to you?
~Kristy (creator of breastfeeding mama talk)