In case you are new to the blog or haven't noticed by now, I am a *bit* of a lactivist [a nursing advocate] and I occasionally blog about it; today is one of those days :)
I consider myself to be incredibly lucky for a multitude of reasons, but today I am particularly lucky to know MORE nursing mothers than formula feeding mothers. When I had Gabriel I only knew one person who had nursed their children and they were in Michigan and not a whole lot of help to me. HOWEVER when I had SarahAnne, I had a nursing friend. Not just a six weeks and we're done type nursing friend, but the kind of nursing friend who nursed past a year and didn't take anybody's crap about it. NOW I know a ton of women who have nursed-even nursed past a year!
Why the sudden raise in nursing? I'd like to think that I may have had a little bit to do with it; what with being that crazy barefoot hippie extended nursing momma that I was-I've helped quite a few of my girlfriends successfully nurse in the last three years and now THEY have helped other mommas nurse successfully.
Why has nursing fallen out of "vogue" so to say? Why are we NOT doing what we can to make sure our children have the best possible start in life? I'm not going to get into formula feeding and the dangers, etc, that's not what this post is about. What I want to know is WHY are we, as women, as mommas, are not doing what is completely and utterly natural and perfect for our children.
I recently attended my first birth (other than my own, of course ha ha) and the new momma was gung ho that she was going to nurse. She had educated herself, we'd done a breast feeding class together, we'd talked about how long she wanted to nurse, etc etc. When it came down to it though, the LD nurse didn't see the need to push nursing on her. Brand new babies are most alert for the first hour or two of their lives and NEED to be put to breast (baring an emergency of course) immediately. It's NATURAL. It's NORMAL. It SHOULD be standard practice.
My gf has been incredibly lucky in that she has nursing mommas around her to support and help her in her first month of nursing. I'm pleased to say that she is STILL nursing and that's a huge deal...unfortunately. It's unfortunate that a month of nursing is an accomplishment rather than the norm. I'm so proud of L for sticking to nursing through what is most definitely the worst part of nursing. Ugh, the first six weeks suck-literally AND figuratively and she's done AMAZING so far and will continue to do so.
It's very nice to sit around with "the girls" and talk about nursing as if it's nothing special; as if it's totally and completely normal. I love being able to talk about all the good things-and even bad things-about nursing without being the "crazy hippie momma" (though, in all fairness, I AM the crazy hippie momma, so really, that doesn't bother me ha ha)
So...what can we do to get more mommas nursing? EDUCATION EDUCATION and MORE EDUCATION. Honestly the best thing an expecting mother can do for herself and her soon to be baby is get her hands on every possible piece of breast feeding information they can get a hold of. They should go to LLL meetings, they should talk to other nursing mommas, they should take classes, and they should connect with breastfeeding groups on line if they aren't able to do any of the above. Creating a support system for nursing mommas is going to be key for getting women to nurse again. I hope and pray that all of the children that my friends and I are nursing will go on to nurse their children-that formula will be a thing of the past for them-that women will not only be given appropriate maternity leaves but better accommodations for pumping and nursing their children...a girl can dream, right?
La Leche League
An Excellent Online Support System
All you need to know about nursing
101 Reasons to Nurse Your Child