guest post by Jennifer Borget, news reporter for Austin, YNN and blogger at The Baby Making Machine.
It’s amazing how something as natural and innate as breastfeeding can be so misunderstood.
I didn’t see breastfeeding growing up. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I began to learn the benefits. I believe there’s a serious gap in awareness and knowledge about breastfeeding, and so many mothers—Especially in the minority community–don’t know what they’re missing.
I work as a news reporter and have a chance to help make an impact. In an effort to bring awareness to breastfeeding, and continue this important discussion, I sat down with two other mothers and conducted an interview with our babies latched-on, on-air. (See the original segment here.)
It was bold, and something that required quite a bit of discussion and approval from people way above my pay grade, but in the end, it aired, and I was happy with the result.
Providing breast milk to my babies—What I consider to be the best nourishment for my children, hasn’t been a walk in the park.
First, I had to do my own research on the benefits and process. My mother tried to breastfeed me, but said it didn’t work out. I remember helping with my younger sisters formula bottles as I grew up.
All I knew was formula, and we were fine. I didn’t think it would be a big deal if breastfeeding “just didn’t work” for me either.
I took many of my questions to Twitter, and often found myself getting annoyed by self-proclaimed “lactavists” who told me to throw away my emergency can of formula, and seemed to have an answer for every excuse I had for why breastfeeding may not work for me.
At the time I felt like these tweeple were acting like “know it alls” who perceived formula as poison. To this day I’m still a little intimidated by overzealous lactavists, but then again, I wonder if I’ve become one myself.
I started with a goal to breastfeed through maternity leave. I pumped almost every day, multiple times a day. I stored more than 200 ounces of frozen milk to use as an emergency stash after I went back to work. I pumped every day at work, but some days I came up short, and the stash came in handy.
My husband was very supportive, making sure not to feed our daughter right before I left to come home. It was liquid gold we were rationing.
Three months went by, and I set a new goal to breastfeed until my daughter hit six months. That’s a lot of formula money saved—One of my big motivations at the time. Then I set another goal to continue nursing until her first birthday. By the time my daughter turned one, we had survived our own personal hiccups, and made it further breastfeeding than I had ever imagined. I continued to nurse my daughter until she was about 17 months. By then I had learned an immense amount of information about breastfeeding, and found myself on the giving end of breastfeeding support.
Now, my daughter is three and I have a three-month-old nursing baby boy. I’m excited to talk about breastfeeding with anyone who will listen. I hope I don’t come across pushy. I’m really just excited to share a secret, the secret benefits, convenience, and enjoyment breastfeeding brings, that I didn’t know about when I was about to have my baby. Though they’re not really secrets, I just didn’t know about it at first. This excitement is what drove me to do a news segment on breastfeeding, and with it being World Breastfeeding Week, there was no better time.
Here in Austin and in other locations around the world, nursing mothers are coming together for latch-on events, and nursing in unison. These events are made to start conversations about breastfeeding and nursing in public. One idea is the more we see women breastfeeding, the more normal it becomes, and the more people can learn about the benefits of breastfeeding. If I had seen women around me breastfeeding while I grew up, maybe I wouldn’t have been so hostile towards women who tried to inform me about it. Maybe then breastfeeding would have never been a question, but an automatic decision.
Have you found yourself becoming more of an advocate for breastfeeding? How so? Where you ever hostile towards those that tried to inform and encourage you to breastfeed? If you’ve changed, what inspired that change?