What a great article/blog/project!
As a mom who has nursed her two children and is currently nursing and who fought very hard to do it, this is an important issue to me. I’m not, as they call it, a “lactivist”. I believe that decisions about the way in which you care for your children are as varied as the families that are out there and the issues big and small that impact them, and that most parents have the best interest of their kids at heart no matter what decisions they make, and that most kids end up more or less just fine regardless. But I also think it’s really obvious that this really cool, really natural thing is what’s best for kids, and that we should individually and corporately support breastfeeding in whatever way we can. And that can come in the form of education, paid and longer maternity leaves, breastfeeding-friendly hospitals, natural drug-free birth, greater community where young girls can see nursing mothers nurse, the general cultural normalization of breastfeeding, nursing or pumping breaks for nursing mothers at work, etc. It just makes sense that if we want a healthy population, that we would do this pretty easy, low-cost thing.
I hadn’t really planned on nursing longer than three months when Big E was born. But then his birth ended up being this really difficult thing for both me and him and for my husband, too. And all totally unnecessarily. And that’s another post, but there was so much anger and trauma over what happened to the three of us, that I made it my mission to have a great breastfeeding relationship. For all of the obvious reasons listed in the article above, but also as a way of healing the three of us and as a way of kind of sticking it to the hospital that screwed us (and also tried to interfere in our BFing). And then three months rolled around and became six and became 12…
I’m really, really, REALLY lucky that we had a very supportive and knowledgeable pediatrician and that we knew (and could afford) one of the best lactation consultants out there who came to our home and held my hand and had us sorted out in about 10 minutes. And when I encountered problems over the next three years, she offered support by phone and email and referred me to a doctor specializing in breastfeeding medical issues. I also had the support of my husband, mother, sister (who gave me a very expensive breast pump) and best friend. And I was plugged into an incredibly supportive online community of mothers with children the same age as mine (one of whom even sent me a pump bag when the zipper on mine gave out). And I live in a state that mandates pumping breaks for working mothers whose child is under the age of three. And I have the kind of temperament that doesn’t like being told no (which I was, several times). And I also had loads of information both before my son was born and after.
And then when Little N was born, it was a drug-free home birth with experienced midwives who fully support breastfeeding. And now because he is deathly allergic to dairy and also allergic to soy, I was (pretty much!) commanded by our current pediatrician and by his allergist to continue nursing him until he’s two years old. And I was so happy I could say, “No problem!”
I wish every mother that wants to nurse the advantages that I’ve had.