Monday, June 20, 2011

The Booby Talk

Breastfeeding apparently mystifies the vast majority of people I encounter. I suppose this is because we live in a boob-obsessed culture and a transient one where few people stay near home, near family, and thus near elder women they can rely on for breastfeeding support.

It seems so many women are only breastfeeding in infancy, up to six weeks max. People who've discovered I'm still breastfeeding Evelyn Kay have had reactions ranging from surprise, curiosity, to disgust. Of the babies in Evelyn's class at daycare she is the only breastfed baby. She's also one of the few baby's with a non-smoker mother, but that's a whole separate post.

I've only been breastfeeding just over four months, but it seems I'm at an expert level compared to most mothers I've encountered. Some just quit because they had to return to work. Some are astounded that I pump on my breaks and go feed her at lunch time then nurse at night. What astounds me is how much money people are wasting on formula.

So, I don't actually claim to be an expert, but I'm going to try to start a new feature and pass on the bits of wisdom I've found along the way.

The key piece of advice I've been given on this adventure is to let your baby follow its own instincts. A newborn will latch on at birth. Evie Kay was given to me immediately upon birth to nurse before she even was cleaned and she immediately suckled.

Now, instinct goes a long way but it does take some effort at first. One of the questions I've been asked was, "Doesn't it hurt!?" This was asked by a younger woman whilst I was breastfeeding. "Do I look uncomfortable?" I asked. No, I didn't I was happy and comfortable. It hurt for a couple days, but it was hardly painful. By the second day it was only mildly strange feeling.

Now it is just a part of our every day routine. But, it is also a special time together that allows us to stop and enjoy our bond in the rush of our lives. 

So, if you're given the opportunity breastfeed immediately upon birth to take advantage of that immediate bond, allow the baby to drink the first nutrition she'll receive out in this world, those few drops of colostrum, and cuddle chest to chest, skin to skin. The skin to skin contact upon birth, often called kangaroo care, has many health benefits including regulating heart rhythms, temperature, and respiration.

Evie Kay and I right after she was handed to me before the cord was even cut, just before we started our kangaroo care.


  1. Amen sister! Isaac is still breastfeeding! Trust your body and save the money!

  2. It sounds like you had a beautiful birth experience with your daughter! I can't believe people give you a hard time about nursing. It seems like it's the norm here. Although - I did have one friend mention the 6 month cutoff as being appropriate (for no reason other than she thought it seemed "weird" after that age because they aren't "babies" after that point). I nursed Luke until 15 months btw, and probably would have for longer if he didn't lose interest at that age. :)