Sunday, February 22, 2015

Even Breastfeeding Advocates Cry At Night

If... Even pretty girls cry at night...

Well, even breastfeeding counselors,  advocates, experts and  BFP admins cry/cried at night too. 

We cried/cry because most of us didn't know what to do in the first place.

We cried/cry because we made/make mistakes.

We cried/cry because nothing can really prepare you for the demands of a newborn. First time mothers will get shocked into the role, it is so "every moment". Those with other kids will have to juggle time and energy for all the other children who would all need something from her.

We cried/cry because even the most loving and supportive of households can never fully share the exhaustion breastfeeding brings.

We cried/cry because even the most loving of husbands will continue sleeping while we nurse through the night.

We cried/cry because no woman ever imagines seeing their nipples sucked raw, sore, bleeding or with blebs and pus. It's scary and extremely painful when your breasts get engorged. 

We cried/cry because when babies bite, the pain reaches down to our toes. If they do it while awake, you can train them not to... But what of those lockjaw moments they get while in deep sleep? No self-respecting Mom will be shaking them awake to tell them biting hurts. Nay, we just grit our teeth in the dark, crying the silent tears as we continue nursing. 

We cried/cry because some of us had unsupportive households, relatives and friends.

We cried/cry because some of the significant people in our lives "blame us" for everything that goes wrong or seems wrong with the baby... Or anything that doesn't meet THEIR standards. 

We cried/cry because the doctors we turn to for help when we get sick almost always tell us to stop breastfeeding, in the meantime or for good, instead of doing their job... Which is to update their knowledge base and prescribe medicines that are breastfeeding-safe.

We cried/cry because it gets depressing, exhausting and downright annoying to have to keep explaining, defending and fighting for our choice and the Science behind that choice. 

We cried/cry because those of us who have given formula and seen the effects of that to an older child will forever regret not having known better then. 

We cried/cry because those of us who work away from home get overwhelmed and exhausted and stressed over keeping our milk supply up, pumping enough and storing enough for our child.

We cried/cry because no matter how much we love our babies, the nights seem triply long when they are sick and forever attached to us. 

We cried/cry over the responsibility of being sole provider... We sometimes deny ourselves medications or delay treatments just because we don't want our baby to be without us. 

We cried/cry over aching arms and back pains... Maybe even disproportionate (size) boobs (since most babies will favor one more).

We cried/cry because we are made to feel ashamed for nursing in public.

And for those that Life thought to challenge more, they cried because their babies were born earlier or with biological impediments (tongue tie, cleft palate, etc) or life-threatening conditions that make breastfeeding more challenging.

And yet... Here we are, trying to help and inspire others... And save one mother and child at a time. 

Because we believe in God's provision and Nature's grand design. Man would not have been able to survive as a species if we had to rely on "modern formula, fortifiers and vitamins" to be healthy.

So, those of you about to begin your journey... Or are struggling now... Please know that we cried at nights too.

The only things that made it easy were  that we believed we made the decision to breastfeed 
1) out of nothing but love for our child
2) out of nothing but a desire to invest in our health and our child's health for the long-term
3) out of nothing but faith that the same God who gave us this baby will allow us to provide for this baby

Us breastfeeders, breastfeeding counselors, advocates, experts and BFP admins... We still cry.

We cry for every mother we try to help that refuse our help.

We cry for the poor who do not know better to make informed choices for their families.

We cry for moms whose efforts are being undermined by their own partners, family, friends, doctors and at work. 

We cry for illnesses and deaths that could have been prevented or reduced in severity had the baby been breastfed. 

We cry... Because there is still so much to do for the advocacy, and we get exhausted too. 

But again, because of the tears shed before and despite the tears we shed now, we are here, wanting to help however way we can. Because we know we stand for truth and love. 

And for every success story we hear, for every mom we meet who strives, for every milestone our own child reaches... There are tears of joy.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Choose to Join Us!

I like to think breastfeeding forums, and breastfeeding (BF) and infant and young child feeding (IYCF) advocates are like teachers to mothers, especially the new ones. We can only open the door to success by providing the right info and support, but YOU mothers have to choose to enter that door by yourself.

You have to choose to listen to what we are saying (which are based on facts), and then do your own research to make informed decisions.

You have to be willing to let go of preconceived notions, habits, old beliefs.

You have to be willing to fight for and stand up for your rights and your child's rights... even if it may mean challenging relationships.

You have to be vigilant about asking what is due you... as a citizen of this country, ensure the Milk Code is implemented for you. As an employee, insist on lactation breaks (even if a lactation room cannot be physically provided for you). As a patient, demand your doctor to only prescribe breastfeeding-safe meds and focus on your baby, not on weight and yellowness.

You have to keep your eye on the goal always, in all ways.

You have to take inspiration where you can and filter out everything that does not help you achieve your goals.

You have to prioritize health in the long term (for you and baby) over what is convenient now.

You have to edit your own thoughts, your own questions... so that they empower you into action, and not depress you into giving up.

You have to celebrate the little things and the little triumphs... and take things one day at a time.

You have to treat challenges (pumping, soreness, sickness) as bumps in the road and not your final destination. You have to accept that there will be difficulties (and heck, you are entitled to tears and the occasional chocolate bar or ice cream pint) because what you are doing IS worthwhile.

You have to write your own breastfeeding story and not have others write it for you.

You have to find ways and make ways.

Most of all, you have to believe that God gave your child to YOU... so what that child needs is Mom, not Man-made. (love this slogan!)

Champion yourself and your child... we can only show you how and where to go. After all, we were all once lacking information and empowerment, and as governed by fears and insecurities as you. It's just now, we know better so we do better.

Choose to join us.