I feel truly blessed to have been able to nurse all three of my children. When I started nursing Levi I forgot how much I missed that bonding and closeness you get from breastfeeding. Since this month is breastfeeding awareness month I thought I might share a few encouraging thoughts and some links that I find interesting. I honestly believe that breastfeeding is the best choice I made for my kids. I do understand that some women cannot breastfeed and really want to. My heart goes out to them.
For me when I started out as a young first time mom, at 21 years old, I wasn't too sure about the whole breastfeeding thing. My mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law were the ones who pushed me to try it and stick to it. My S.I.L. is one of those women who didn't get a fair chance at trying to breastfeed because her milk didn't come in fast enough for the hospitals liking so they pushed giving her son formula but she was an awesome big sis and stayed to fight off any nurses who would try to pressure me to give Mya formula. Love her!
Not only was it great to have the women in my family back me up and encourage me to breastfeed but I joined a breastfeeding group at our hospital. (I know some churches have boob groups too.) These girls helped me through more than just breastfeeding Mya. Since we all had kids about the same age we asked a million questions to one another and had play dates. We still get together even after 3 years. I guess boobs and babies really create lasting friendships. lol. We did go through a lot together and they know things about me some of my closest friends wouldn't understand. So I would highly recommend finding a support group you're comfortable with.
Something new I am doing this time around that I didn't do when breastfeeding the girls is donating my milk. My good friend told me about Helping Hands Milk Bank. You donate your milk and for every ounce you donate Helping Hands donates $1 to the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer. How awesome is that?!? So by donating you can help TWO causes. The reason my friend started is because she recently had a preemie baby who had to be in the NICU. She said to me, "You just don't think about the need that preemies have for breast milk until you've been there in the NICU." I'm pointing a finger at me because I never thought about donating before until she made me aware of the need. It can help save infants lives. If you're interested in donating or just checking it out you can find more info at www.helpinghandsbank.com. P.S. when you donate 300 ounces they will send you $300 to reimburse you for your breast pump. Helpful... Right?!?
Now onto an interesting blog post I read today that just floored me and opened my eyes once again to the world of advertising that I sometimes forget about: Stop it Enfamil! Right now! Advertisers can be so tricky. They know exactly how to ween their way into our thoughts... The right wording, statement, fact, or simply by using a picture. The same e-mail used in this blog post gets sent out to 1,000s of breastfeeding moms who maybe struggling or having a hard time with sticking with exclusively breastfeeding. The formula company sends the e-mail out at the perfect time, when mom is just finishing up those 6 weeks of taking it easy, has to get back to work, or has things she wants to do. They made it sound like breastfeeding can't be convenient for moms on the go. It made me think twice about formula companies motives for "encouraging" women to breastfeed. Did you know that most formula companies have a 24 hour breastfeeding hotline? I've called the Simulac breastfeeding hotline at 3 am because I had a serious nursing concern and had no idea what to do or if I should go straight to the ER. I found it completely strange before but now it makes perfect sense because chances are if you use them in a time of need like that you'll use their product in the future. Just read the blog if you haven't already and you'll know what I'm talking about!
So to wrap things up, I hope more women can be encouraged to breastfeed their babies. There is no shame in doing it and it is not disgusting. It is the best thing you can do for your baby when they're out of your womb. (Plus is can burn up to an extra 500 calories a day. SCORE!) I've never met a woman who has said she regrets breastfeed her child or has said she wishes she would of given her baby formula sooner. I have heard women say, "I regret not even trying to breastfeed my baby" or "I wish I could have breastfeed." For me personally, I breastfed Mya for 11 months and Kylie for only 3 or 4. I now feel selfish and wish I wouldn't of given up so quickly with Kylie. I can't go back and change it but I know I will breastfeed Levi for as long as possible. Yes, I am even one of those moms where I will breastfeed my child past 12 months. It's not harming the kid but I understand nursing past a certain age or stage isn't poplar. We all have our limits but when you see a mom nursing next time do all the breastfeeding moms a favor and say some encouraging words to her. She is doing a good job and in some ways she's brave for stepping out and doing what can be an unpopular thing. It will brighten her day and make her want to keep going.