My calling to be a Breastfeeding advocate & its importance…

~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.

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~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? 

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~Kristy (creator of breastfeeding mama talk)

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16 thoughts on “My calling to be a Breastfeeding advocate & its importance…

  1. I have never had a truly positive encounter with people other than my Mother while breastfeeding. I have however had several negative issues and one of them is actually my mother’s boyfriend. He has a tendency to try and make me bottle feed because it makes him uncomfortable we are all in public together. One majorly bad issue I had was in a Walmart when a lady walked up to me and said, “I can see why everyone in Polk County is so backward, no one has taught you redneck inbred people how to make a bottle.” I live in a small town in an area where we get lots of “weekenders” and people coming just see the lake. It really hurt my feeling when that lady said that. It made me cry for almost an hour. I didn’t have the chance to breastfeed my oldest for more than 3 months, but this one I have been going strong for 8 months. Other than the obvious nutritious value, breast feeding has given me a bond with Vivien in a short time that took me a long time to get with my oldest. I wouldn’t trade the time breastfeeding for anything..

  2. I have breastfed for 16 months and I do the same thing. Wishing people would take their covers off, or wanting someone who I know breastfeeds and bottles in public just to whip it out.If that makes me a creep, then so be it.

    I love the look of a comfortable mother breastfeeding. It makes me happy. It makes me want to give her a gold medal.

    • Mikaela,
      That is so awesome to hear someone else think the same. Like I said in my blog I really don’t think that would make us a creep I view it as passion and wanting so badly for breastfeeding to feel normal for other people as it does for us. So I guess when you do happen to spot a mother especially one with a newborn you so desperately hope that IF she is breastfeeding that she would feel comfortable enough to do so. It’s sad but I think I can count on ONE hand how many times I have seen a woman breastfeeding in person out in public. So I guess it’s just us wishing to see it more? ~Kristy

  3. All right then, I’ll be the first to comment! Good for you. I’m currently nursing baby #3 (literally, she’s hooked up) and I consider myself very lucky that with my first I had never seen babies eat any other way and I was to young to know any different. With #s2 and 3 I have had the most incredibly supportive network of family, friends, and peers. There are many women who are not so lucky and I recognize that. The AAP actually argues that whether to breastfeed or not is not a ‘personal issue’ but a public health issue. Although support in public, with peers and family are vital to success in breastfeeding, the most important thing that needs to change is mother’s rights and their access to services. Where we need to funnel our energy is into guaranteeing that women have maternity leave that allows them to establish that breastfeeding relationship. The US is the only developed nation in the world that does not have paid maternity leave for it’s mothers. Canada, where I come from gives moms (and dads, if they so choose) 52 weeks of paid leave financed by the federal government through unemployment services. Just a little food for thought. For now, I’ll say good on ya!

  4. After having a suggestion from a sales associate to move to a dressing room to nurse my daughter, along with rude and dirty looks EVERY time I nurse in public (uncovered)… I remember why it is so important to nurse in public every chance I get… nursing will not become acceptable to the masses until they see it everywhere they look. My hope is that people (even the ones giving a dirty look) at least think about nursing for a moment and possibly plant a seed for at least one mother to nurse who maybe hadn’t even considered it before. It is also my personal opinion that covering while nursing in public further demonizes the act as opposed to just throwing it out there that this is why women have boobs…. boobs are for babies!

  5. I have had a lot of struggles with pregnancy and BF in general. I always knew I would do everything in my power to bf even before my first pregnancy. I lost my first child at 39 weeks due to a heart defect and my slightly increased blood pressure threw a clot where there was to much stress on his heart already. I was crushed and when my milk came in it hurt even more. But I made it through to my beautiful daughter. I had to be induced at 39 weeks because of blood pressure with my second. She is now 6 mo. She wouldn’t latch for 2 months so I was pumping like crazy to have enough for her. She was also a lazy eater (which may have been the root of the latching issue). Around 2 mo she finally got it but I was still embarrassed to nurse outside of my home even in a private setting. After a few weeks I stopped bringing bottles with me. I had my first NIP experience this past Sunday. I was so happy that I could have cried. No one said one word to me since a few of my family members were with me and they were excellent support with that. It’s a great feeling that I shouldn’t hide while feeding my child or make her wait. She’s an on demand eater so making her wait long isn’t an option. I owe a lot of my confidence to even try to this page. I read comments and questions daily and feel almost empowered as a bf mother. None of my friends bf so I don’t have a lot of knowledgable support and this page has been my go to for advice. Thank you so much for all that you do to help mothers just be natural with their children!

  6. I feel 100% the same about breasfteeding! I have such a passion about it my partner thinks I’m obsessed lol! I love breasfteeding and I am always encouraging expectant moms to BF. Even moms that I meet on a daily basis I kindly ask if they BF, just incase if they do we can discuss our common interest. Before I knew there were mommy groups on FB I started my own mommy group, it’s really small, just moms that I know on FB, because I too think its so important to give moms encouragement and support. What I’d like to work on is NIP. I am not yet comfortable to NIP without any discretion, but I’d like to be so that I can encourage other moms that feel like I do. If there’s anything I can do to help you and your efforts to encourage & support breasfteeding moms please let me know. I would LOVE to help.

  7. For me, breastfeeding was a hard fought victory. The long story is here on WordPress on my blog, but the short version is that my little man was born 8 weeks early, before his sucking reflex developed, and had to go frompumped milk in a feeding tube to pumped milk in a bottle to breastfeeding. It was a process that took 7 weeks of teaching and training, and from the first day that he breastfed at every feeding, I decided that he would only get bottles when he wasn’t with me. We worked WAY too hard at mastering this skill to give up even one chance to use it just because a stranger may or may not be offended! Overall, it hasn’t been a big deal to NIP, and a lot of my favorite stores now have “Mother’s Rooms” which are not bathrooms but private rooms with comfy chairs – score! But last weekend we went to the mall, and hegot hungry, so I sat on a bench and fed him. All was good until a pack of tweenagers noticed what I was doing and started pointing, laughing, and calling me “nasty”. When I realized they were talking to me I couldn’t even get upset and started laughing hysterically because, get this, the spot they chose to point and laugh from was, ::knee slap::, directly in front of Victoria’s Secret, complete with 10 foot tall ad of scantily clad woman in a demi-cup bra that showed WAY more skin than I was!!! They were totally confused why I was laughing at THEM and moved on 🙂

  8. I had my daughter at the age of 17. She is now a healthy 20 year old. I knew the benifits and had always dreamed of bf but when it came time i found mtyself scared, unknowledgable amd witjout any support from anyone! I had tried to bf and 2weeks in i got thrush so bad that it spread and transfered it to my baby. It was a severe case and because i wanted so desperately to experience bf i tried my hardest to push through but the pain got to be so unbearable, my nipples were raw, i gave it up not knowing that i could pump (or even how to) or try again once i we were healed. I have regreted not continuing and finding some one or some way to help get her back bf! I will regret it for the rest of my life!

    When i had my son 5 years later i was determined to not make the same mistake! Again i found myself without any support from the hospital. As a matter of fact the lactation nurse came in and “helped” me 2 xs and was quick to give up and shove him on the bottle. Thank Heaven for my mom this time! She was amazing! She shoed me how to do it and fully supported me bf! Then again 2 weeks in i got thrush again. This time (because of my moms sugestion and encouragement i went to the Dr and was put on medication to heal the thrush and the sores on my nipples so i forced through the pain and agony just so i could bf! It was the most AMAZING, spiritual, loving, bonding, nourishing experience ive EVER had the honor and ability to go through! I breastfed him fir 4 months. Then i stoped producing the amount he needed. So again i gave up! So now i regret that i wasnt more educated about finding ways to work through that dilemma! I cherish those sacred 4 months with him. I also wonder ofyen if i had only continued to get him my milk would he still have Aspergers and Bi-polar?! Although i will never know the answer to that on earth i believe in my heart that if i would have continued bf he would not have these brain disorders! My hearts broken because im now 38 and i have from the day my baby girl was born wanted to have many children. I have been raising my children on my own since 1997 with no help from their “dad”! I knew i couldn’t raise another baby by myself and im not the kind of women who sleeps around. Especially just to get pregnant to raise another baby by myself and all alone! My heart still deeply desires to find a good man and have another baby but my mind knows it will never happen and that just breaks my heart and soul! Anyway i dearly wish that the lactation nurse as well as ALL the other nurses would have been more suportive and educational! And Drs too! For me it was my family Dr that i wish would have given me more info atthe least!I didnt know who to ask for help and i didn’t know it was ok to ask fir help with bf. I pray that these things will change in the future so that no mother has to go through what i went through!Oh amd strangely enough the bond that i have with my son is inseparable! I feel like my baby girl and i missed out greatly and never did bond! That too weighs heavy on my heart!!!!

  9. There is very little BF support where we live. Whenever I see a mom NIP I always try to at least flash her a reassuring smile.

  10. My 3 month old daughter decided she needed to BF while I was shopping at Target so I did just that. I was considerate of people around me and used a cover plus I’m not comfortable nursing without being covered in public. I qas only able to BF her almost 5 year old brother for about 3 months so I was determined to do it with my daughter. I have noticed a better bond with my daughter by BF her. I’m always asking other BF moms for advice on things I didn’t know about.

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