Black Breastfeeding Week and Brittany’s Story

by Brittany Brown Marsh

My breastfeeding journey with Maxine started nearly two years ago. TWO YEARS! I decided to breastfeed years before I was pregnant. I used to work at a daycare center and the entire infant classroom including teachers came down with the stomach flu. Well not the whole room. One baby—the only breastfed baby—didn’t get sick. It was in that moment that I decided I was going to breastfeed all of my future children.

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While I was pregnant, I read so many articles and books on breastfeeding. I rarely came across anything written by a black woman. I found that odd, but I still wanted to breastfeed my baby! Nothing was going to stop me. Well when people learned that I was going to be breastfeeding, people expressed a wide range of emotions. Some were visibly angry with me for not choosing to formula feed my child. “How am I supposed to bond with your baby?” was a common question. My favorite reaction of all was “Who told you to do that? That’s a white people thing.” Really? Why would someone even say that to me? I really am glad I was determined to breastfeed because there was little outside support in the beginning.

Breastfeeding in the black community should be more prominent. I’m sure that it is convenient having formula, but it is so rewarding to have that bonding time with your child giving them the best possible nutrition. We need to educate black women on the topic of breastfeeding. The first question I get from other black moms should not be “what type of formula do you use?” and I should not get a look of disgust when I say that I am breastfeeding. Seriously, as long as my child is eating, what is the problem?

Black Breastfeeding Week is so important to me because it show me and others that WE DO THIS. We nurse our children too. We aren’t ashamed to nurse our children.

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Maxine is 23 months old now and is still nursing numerous times a day. No matter where we are, if she needs her milk, she gets her milk. Nursing a toddler is way different than nursing an infant because now she’s standing and dancing and flipping around while nursing. I see no end in sight and WE wouldn’t have it any other way. When she is ready, we will wean. Right now, we are completely content.

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I am a black woman who breastfeeds and I am proud!!

Editor’s Note: Brittany shares much of her breastfeeding journey on her Instagram, @BrittBrownMarsh, including this sweet video of her breastfeeding Maxine.

-Brittany Brown Marsh
Brittany is a twenty-something Old Dominion University Communications major with a focus in Professional Communications. She graduated from Tidewater Community College in December 2012 and received an Associates of Science Degree in Business Administration. Brittany is married and welcomed her first child in September 2013.

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#LeakyLooks: Work And Transitions! Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2015

by Kileah McIlvain

It’s the end of summer! We can all feel it. The anticipation of cooler days, school supplies, hot tea, and ALL OF THE FLANNEL (okok. I’m from Portland. Like THAT wasn’t obvious! Ha.). But – it’s August. Which means, for a lot of us, it’s still fairly warm and dry outside. We’re getting some of our older kids ready for a new school year, all of the extra errands we’re running to sign our kids up for fall sports, physicals, dentist appointments, end-of-summer-getaways, considering more versatile clothing to facilitate pumping at work….August fills up pretty fast when you think about it!

To kick off #WorldBreastfeedingMonth, I asked our Leakies in our Facebook Community to share with us what they wanted to see in our latest pics-and here they are! Be sure to tell us what you liked and what you’d like to see! Want to submit your own ideas for us to feature? Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram and use #LeakyLooks! xoxo -Kileah

Leaky At Work

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This look features a great neutral-themed collection of “transition pieces” that are pumping-friendly and versatile. I started with some great ankle trousers from Gap that can be paired with a boot, heel, or ballet flat. This particular trouser style and print are really versatile, fashion forward and can be dressed up or down while remaining uber comfy in various work environments – even at home! This great light-blue cotton button-down tunic top from H&M+ works really well for pumping in a Hot Milk Chic Ivory Nursing Bra without a lot of fuss and looks classy paired with a minimalist color pop of jewelry like this teething necklace from Vintage Honey Shop! When transitioning to autumn, it’s a great idea to combine both layers and texture – so pairing a lightweight structured shirt with a woven blazer like this one really keeps the outfit alive and functions to keep you warm if you need it! Don’t forget to complete the outfit with a chic durable pumping handbag like this Juno Blu Esalen bag in “Steel Snake”!

Boutique Business Owner

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This look captures such a chic and comfortable vibe in tones of stone, deep plum and blushed peach! I wanted to highlight the nursing mama who may be a small business owner. This beautiful viscose navy tie-back nursing dress from Seraphine is incredibly soft and really works well with a variety of body shapes and is easily adjustable to celebrate your beautiful mama body! Long hours means every piece you wear needs to work to your advantage and comfort, which is why I chose this Leading Lady Molded Sport Nursing Bra from Herroom. It provides breathable, comfortable all-day support in a GREAT range of sizes, and is a great price as well! I couldn’t resist these great stylish flats from Modcloth (oh, Modcloth: Let me sing the ways I love thee!). Who doesn’t want a cute bag that doesn’t cost you your firstborn? This Skip Hop diaper bag is a chic, cost-conscious option for carrying essentials for both you and baby. Building relationships with local shop owners and your little one wants to explore with you? This beautiful Wildbird.co 100% Linen ring sling in Cockatoo is a beautiful and inexpensive option for keeping your sweetling close! (Plus, I have this thing for bees and honeycombs! Again, Modcloth accessories are GENIUS. And adorable!)

 

Pine State Mama

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If you know me AT ALL, Leakies, you know I have a love for Leyton Doc Marten boots, Portlandia, and all things Plaid. This look came to me after contemplating how much I love a local haunt called Pine State Biscuits. Because giant biscuits. And gravy. Just….google it. I know it isn’t the same as stuffing your face with them, but maybe you should start planning a foodcation here? Asap? I thought so 😉 The Your My Lumber One dress from Modcloth passes the #boobouttest worn with a comfortable pair of boyfriend jeans and this GREAT Elomi nursing bra! I just recently bought this great black wool hat at H&M (seriously. it goes with EVERYTHING. Even sweatshirts!). And basically Beco baby carriers WINS with Herman. Because vintage octopuses? Yeah. Be still my beating heart! Plus, with my growing little ones, I’ve been needing to upgrade to a more toddler-supportive carrier option. Beco really takes the cake with comfort in my book-for both parents AND kids!

I hope you love these looks! Remember! Tag @TheLeakyBoob on Instagram with #LeakyLooks to show us how YOU rock your workwear, boobwear, and anything in between! WE want to feature YOU! #LeakyLooks #FashionForAll #YOUmatter #BoobOutFashion #MaternityWear #NursingWear

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“Oh the Places You Go!” Giveaway

For World Breastfeeding Month we’re celebrating just how normal infant feeding is by taking a look at all the places you go!  With brands that support families in their parenting journey, we’re all teaming up for our adventures Up High, Outdoors, Off The Beaten Path, With Water, and Close To Home (pregnancy focused!).  Each week features a theme because we’re feeding our babies and toddlers here, there, and everywhere.  Oh!  The Places You Go!  The prize packs vary every week totaling over $5,000 in value for the whole month.  And we’re going even further, each week there is one winner AND they get to pick a friend to receive a Beco Gemini.  Oh!  The Places You Go together!

But we’re not stopping there, check out how you can be a part of #TLBmoves, on step at a time.

 

Week 1 logos done 2

Week 1: “Up High”, Total Value: $1091

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value

Bamboobies: a Chic Nursing Shawl, $30 value

Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value

Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value

Clek: A brand new Fllo carseat, $380 value

Freja Toys: a Rainbow Bird Nursing/Teething Necklace, $20 value

Gracie & Sam: a Half Buckle Cotton Mei Tai with Harry Potter Spells Cotton-Linen Canvas print, $102 value

KoalaKin: a Koalakin nursing pouch, $90 value

Little Spruce Organics: Two sets of organic cotton nursing pads (flannel & knitted), $14 value

Melinda G: a Dreamy Sleep Bra in black, $25 value

Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com, $25 value

Motherlove: Nipple Cream, $10 value

A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value

Naked Nursing Tank: Platinum Light Grey Classic Cotton Edition, $30 value

NuRoo: a Nursing Scarf, $30 value

The Vintage Honey Shop: $20 shop credit, $20 value

 Week 1 prizes final 2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Week 2 logos done 2

 

Week 2: “Outdoors”, Total Value: $1012

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value

Bamboobies: a Bamboobies Brahhh, $32 value

Bebe Au Lait: a BAL-ASTORIA nursing cover, $36 value

Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value

Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value

Ergobaby: a Performance Baby Carrier, $140 value

Freja Toys: an Organic Cotton Nursing/Teething Necklace, $22 value

Juno Blu: A stylish Ventana breast pump satchel in Mushroom, $185 Value

Little Spruce Organics: a Wooden Sun Puzzle, $34 value

Melinda G: a tee-shirt soft-cup nursing bra style #2115 in nude, $45 value

Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com, $25 value

Motherlove: Green Salve, $9 value

A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value

Naked Nursing Tank: Lily White Luxury Bamboo Edition, $40 Value

NuRoo: a Nursing Scarf, $30 value

Nursing Bra Express: Baby Nip Nipple Hat, $20 value

Rumina: a Hands-Free Pump&Nurse Classic Crossover Bra, a $34 value

Undercover Mama: one Undercover Mama, $25 value

The Vintage Honey Shop$20 shop credit, $20 value

Week 2 prizes done 2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Week 3 logos updated cropped

Week 3: “Off the Beaten Path”, Total Value: $1053

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value

Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value

Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value

The Dairy Fairy: an Arden bra, $68 value

Freja Toys: a Petite Linen Nursing/Teething Necklace, $20 value

Gracie & Sam: a Full Tie Linen Luxe Sci-Fi Lover Mei Tai, $130 value

KangarooCare: a Fun Stripes Nursing Necklace in Pink, Oak Wood, $26 value

Little Spruce Organics: an Organic Cotton Nursing Bra, $48 value

Melinda G: a Cami Sutra nursing cami in black, $50 value

Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com, $25 value

Motherlove: Rhoid Balm, $10 value

A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value

Mrs Patel’s: a box of Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Fenugreek Bars, a $26 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value

Naked Nursing Tank: Hot Pink Luxury Bamboo Edition, $40 Value

NuRoo: a Nursing Scarf, $30 value

Nurse Purse: Winner’s Choice of style for one Nurse Purse bag, $129 value

Nursing Bra Express: a Satin Trim Cotton Sleep Bra, $20 value

Snugabell: a PumpEase Prize Pack including a hands-free pumping bra, a Wet Bag, a ”Through a Child’s Eyes” Keepsake Colouring Book, a Do Not Disturb door hanger, and a Breastmilk Storage Guidelines fridge magnet, $71 Value

Undercover Mama: one Undercover Mama, $25 value

The Vintage Honey Shop$20 shop credit, $20 value

Week 3 prizes done 2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Week 4 logos final2

 

Week 4: “With Water”, Total Value: $832

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value
Bamboobies: Bellease Organic Belly & Baby Butter, $17 value
Bebe Au Lait: a BAL-NEST Nursing Cover, $36 value
Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value
Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value
Crane USA: a drop or adorable humidifier, and a belly glo night light, $65 value
Freja Toys: a Babywearing Mommy Doll, $42 value
KangarooCare: a Wooden Teething Bracelet, winner’s choice of color, $19 value
Little Spruce Organics: Organic Wool/ Silk Nursing Pads, $21 value
Luv My Bag: a LillyBit UpTown Diaper Clutch in Chevron, $35 value
Melinda G: a Dreamy Sleep Bra in black, $25 value
Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com , $25 value
Motherlove: Diaper Rash and Thrush, $10 value
A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value
Mrs Patel’s: a bag of Chai Spice Milk Water Tea, a $12 value
My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value
Naked Nursing Tank: Midnight Black Luxury Bamboo Edition, $40 value
NuRoo: a NuRoo Pocket, $60 value
Nursing Bra Express: a Medela Sleep Bra, $20 value
One Creative Mama: winner’s choice of a mom/baby shirt set, up to $55 value
Undercover Mama: one Undercover Mama, $25 value
The Vintage Honey Shop$20 shop credit, $20 value

Week 4 prizes final2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Week 5 logos final

Week 5: “Close to Home”, Total Value: $1370

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value

Arm’s Reacha Toffee Stripe Mini Arc Co-Sleeper, a $175 value

Bamboobies: Two pairs of Bamboobies Regular Nursing Pads, $15 value

Bebe Au Lait: a BAL-NEST essentials set, $50 value

Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value

Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value

Cezara: a belly support panty, $49 value

The Dairy Fairy: a Rose handsfree pumping bra, $34 value

Freja Toys: a Crocheted baby rattles set, $32 value

Juno Blu: A stylish Juno Blu Esalen breast pump tote in Multi-Snake, $185 value

KangarooCare: a Black Gradient Nursing Necklace of Apple Wood, $28 value

KoalaKin: a Koalakin nursing pouch, $90 value

LilleBaby: a Complete All-Season baby carrier, $135 value

Little Spruce Organics: Organic Cotton Receiving Blanket, $18 value

Milk and Joy: an Organic Cotton Teething Necklace (winner’s choice of color). $35 value

Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com, $25 value

Motherlove: NL Gift Box, $60 value

A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value

Naked Nursing Tank: Charcoal Classic Cotton Edition, $30 Value

NuRoo: a NuRoo Pocket, $60 value

Nursing Bra Express: Molded Seamless Washable Nursing Pads by Baby Nip, $14 value

The Vintage Honey Shop$20 shop credit, $20 value

Week 5 prizes done

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Nurturing Life Giveaway – Breastfeeding

Nurturing Life

These two words define and drive everything that Motherlove does, from their organic farm in Colorado, to their herbal care products, the educational classes taught by founder Kathryn Higgins, to the Nurturing Life Foundation, Motherlove’s non-profit which supports mothers and children all over the country.  So it’s no surprise that Motherlove has had such a beautiful, long-standing relationship with The Leaky Boob, extending their support of mothers and children to our Leakies and their breastfeeding journey with their babies.  The Motherlove website sums it up well:

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 11.06.13 AMWhat is Nurturing Life?
It is fostering an environment where development, growth, and health are encouraged, and doing so in each facet of our life, including each stage.  True beauty can emerge in your life and others’ as you nurture life in yourself, your friendships, romantic relationship, through pregnancy, birth, in your relationship with your children, and more, and yes, even your garden.

“At Motherlove, we use Nurturing Life as our mission statement because nurturing moms and babies together is essential for both to thrive.  During pregnancy, moms are reminded minute-by-minute of this relationship and we typically focus on our health and wellbeing because it’s tied to our child’s life.” (Nurturing Life – Self Care for Mothersby Motherlove Herbal Company)

To wrap up this series of Motherlove giveaways that has touched on the ways mothers can intentionally nurture life through pregnancy and postpartum, through the ups and downs and aches and pains, we now focus on breastfeeding.  It is only fitting as we are celebrating World Breastfeeding Month right now.

Every new mother’s story is her own, whether it is very similar to other mothers’ experiences or appears to be completely opposite.  Every relationship between a mother and her baby should be free to develop in their own particular way, at their own particular speed.  There is no template that will fit every mother-baby relationship.  The Leaky Boob recognizes this and welcomes every mother, whether they bottle-feed, use SNS, breastfeed for a day or for years, whether their baby-days are in the distant past, or even if they never had a baby.  All are welcome.  And Motherlove also recognizes this reality, ready to meet mothers and babies where they are, encouraging them to pursue the Nurturing Life, and providing quality and safe products for whenever a need arises for them.

To help celebrate World Breastfeeding Month, Motherlove is collaborating with two other TLB sponsors, specializing in nursing necklaces, so that Mom and baby both get a prize this week!  Freja Toys and KangarooCare are each offering 3 beautiful necklaces, which means you could be one of the 6 prize winners for this giveaway.  Varja from KangarooCare wanted to share this heart-warming message about her breastfeeding journey with all of us:

“I knew I would breastfeed since the moment I found out that I was going to have a baby.  And I did it.  I nursed my first child for 4 and a half years, and the second for 2 and a half.  I breastfed during pregnancy and then 2 kids at the same time.  My breasts produced milk for 5 years non-stop.  Some might say this is too much, and others that this is nothing special.  But to me, breastfeeding is a real miracle.  I am a vegetarian and I was told that I would never be able to give birth to a healthy baby and then breastfeed.  But it was not so.  I am convinced that breast milk is not just clear liquid with a specific chemical composition; it is love.  Liquid love.”

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Motherlove, KangarooCare and Freja Toys are coming together to offer 6 prizes for 6 lucky Leakies!

 All six prizes start with a Motherlove Nipple Cream salve.  

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Then the breakdown is as follows:

Prize 1: a KangarooCare Fox Nursing Necklace, from Apple Wood

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Prize 2: a KangarooCare Organic Nursing Necklace in Cream & Oatmeal, from Juniper Wood

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Prize 3: a KangarooCare Simple Rainbow Nursing Necklace, from Oak Wood

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Prizes 4-6: a Freja Toys Organic Cotton Nursing Necklace, winner’s choice of color.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from August 13, 2014 through August 20, 2014.  A big thanks to Motherlove for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; and thanks also to KangarooCare and Freja Toys for making this giveaway a whole lot more fun!  Please be sure to visit their Facebook pages (Motherlove, KangarooCare, Freja Toys), follow Motherlove on Twitter, and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

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We’re Moving!

by Jessica Martin-Weber and Amy West

Leakies, we’ve got something really special for you. We’re talking about #BFingPlaces (Oh!  The Places You Go!) for World Breastfeeding Month and we’ve taken it one step further. Literally.

We have every reason in the world to be physically active; heart health, longevity, reduced health problems, strength, endurance, lower blood pressure, stronger bones, joint health, mental clarity, better sleep, and decrease in depression and anxiety to name a few.  Several studies show that people who exercise more are just happier.  Which has always baffled me personally since exercise is kind of the opposite of happy for me.  Still, I know it’s good for me so I’ve tried to do it regularly and felt guilty when I didn’t.

With having children though, juggling family, home, and work (and yes, even when I didn’t have a job), getting exercise in is often an overwhelming challenge.  Between the media, “experts,” bloggers, friends, family, health care providers, and yes, even myself saying what is so important for children, there are just so many other aspects of a child’s development that require my attention.  There is every reason in the world to not be physically active; reading to our children, providing quality meals, addressing their social needs, researching all medications/foods/education, shopping to have the “best” deals on the highest quality (but the blanket MUST be organic, what about off-gassing?!), spending quality play time with our children, limiting screen time, grooming them, keeping house, bonding, learning and executing proper child passenger safety (installing that perfect car seat that took 3 weeks of research and a small loan to purchase) and being sure every minute of their every day is filled with only the best developmentally appropriate activities.  With all that’s on our plates, how do we find time to be physically active?

But really, how can we not?

We have perfectly legit reasons to not be moving and perfectly inspiring reasons to get moving.  It’s not easy sometimes but it’s definitely worth it.

I was born with a minor heart condition, something I’ve lived with all my life.  Doctors have told me that keeping my weight in a healthy range and staying physically active will go a long way in taking care of my health and sure enough, I can tell when I’ve put on a few too many pounds, have let inactivity sneak into my routine, or am lazy about my water intake.  I try to make it a priority but I’m just not crazy about most forms of exercise.  I’m not the type to become a health nut, I’m not likely become an exercise fanatic, and I don’t like exercise for exercise’s sake.  Something else has to motivate me to get off my butt and get moving.

Turns out I have 6 really talented motivators.  I want to be around for a long time to be with my children and eventually my grandchildren and I can’t afford to wait to get started.  They inspire me and not only for my own health, but for the health of my whole family.  And now they’ve inspired me to share that motivation with you!

Actually it was Amy West’s idea, she came to me about how regularly taking walks was helping her in her immediate postpartum time.  Her mood, emotional state, and energy levels went up as she walked with her two kids, Ava and Luke.  I agreed and we wanted to find a way to share it with the Leakies and their families.  And with that, #TLBmoves was born.

It’s time for #TLBmoves!

And I hope you’ll get moving with me for your own reasons.

Are you a runner? Walker? Cross-fit fan?  Couch potato looking to change? Or maybe you just want to be screen-free a little more often.

Whatever your goal, you can join us for #TLBmoves!  This is all about embracing an active lifestyle and making healthier choices, no matter where you’re starting from.

Us? We’re starting by walking more. Just the simple act of taking a daily stroll can do amazing things for your health–both mental and physical! Our initial goal is to log a minimum of 10 miles (about 15,000 steps) each week, or 30 very active minutes each day, but you can set virtually any goal that’s important to you and participate in any way you’d like! (Quit smoking, play with the kids more, eat more veggies, do jumping jacks at your desk, living room dance party – anything goes!)

If you’re already doing that (or more), awesome! Whatever YOUR goal is, we want to see you reach it. #TLBmoves is not a fitness campaign; yeah, we’re talking about steps and activity, but the bigger goal here is overall health and happiness. You can participate at whatever level is comfortable for you: walking, jogging, running, cross-fitting, swimming – anything. (#TLBmoves is aimed at all moms of all backgrounds and is not limited to or specifically endorsing those who breastfeed.)  And we’ll never ask what’s your excuse, we know we all have great excuses so we understand that it’s one day, one step at a time to reach your personal goals.

#TeamTLBmoves! Meet the four mamas who will be sharing their #TLBmoves journeys during the month of August:

Jessica: Founder, owner, and author of The Leaky Boob Facebook group and website; mother of six girls, ages 2, 4, 6, 11, 13, and 15.

Amy: Writer (www.amywest.co); mother of two children, a five-year-old daughter and a three-month-old son.

Kileah: Member of the TLB Reviews editorial team; mother of four children, ages 6, 4, 2 and 8 months.

Elise: Member of the TLB Reviews editorial team; mother of one two-month-old son.

Meet our partners:

#TLBmoves is a big undertaking and we are so thrilled to be working with brands we believe in to bring you this event. Our partners really want to see moms getting active and enjoying a healthy lifestyle with their families! We’ll be sharing tons of photos of #TeamTLBmoves using gear from the following brands:

Joovy

JoovyWe are all about taking small steps to a healthier lifestyle – literally! Going for a daily walk with the little ones is one of the cornerstones of what we’re doing. Joovy has partnered with us to feature four of their kick-ass strollers, which we will put to to the test over the next month. You’ll see the TooFold, Qool, Caboose VaryLight, and Zoom in action. From the big kids to the littles, Joovy is making it easy (and whine-free!) to stroll with the whole family.

tula

Tula Baby CarriersWe aren’t just pushing our little ones in the strollers – we’re going to wear them, too! Whether it’s in the uber comfortable Standard or Toddler carrier, or in one of Tula’s amazingly gorgeous woven wraps, we’ll be wearing our babies throughout the month as we get out and move! Where will the #TULAlove turn up next? Stay tuned…

thinkbaby thinksport

Thinkbaby and ThinksportIt’s August, so the weather is hot. A big part of #TLBmoves is getting active outdoors (work that natural vitamin D!). A good, safe sunscreen and water bottles are necessities. Thinkbaby and Thinksport care as much as we do when it comes to keeping our families safe from harmful chemicals. We’re staying hydrated and keeping sunburns at bay, minus the endocrine disruptors!

When?
#TLBmoves will run from August 1st-31st, 2014, but we hope you’ll keep moving long after the end of the month! (We may have something up our sleeves to that end, too!)

How?
Participation is on the honor system. Counting steps can be fun, but the point isn’t a number (on a pedometer, scale, or otherwise) – it’s making healthy choices and becoming more active in general. It’s all about feeling good! Moms can track their activity via whatever means they choose. (You can use a FitBit, another pedometer, you can time three five-minute songs for a dance party in your living room – it’s up to you!)

Where?
Anyone, anywhere can participate! We’ll be announcing some fun prizes from our brand partners, and those are limited to the United States at this time, but the world is your oyster if you want to get active with us!

JOIN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP (Please note: this is a co-ed community where you’ll find support as we get active and make healthy choices together. Judgement free! Come as you are, this group is your #TLBmoves tribe!)

JOIN OUR FITBIT FORUM (The four #TeamTLBmoves mamas will be using FitBits to track our steps! They’re totally optional, but if you want to use one, you can grab yours here: http://bit.ly/TLBfitbit.)

Who?
You, your friends, your kids, your partner, your boss, your mom, your dad… anyone!  Though The Leaky Boob is focused on encouraging families primarily through breastfeeding, we support breastfeeding moms and everyone that supports them.  Breastfeeding isn’t a requirement to participate with TLB and #TLBmoves.  (If you are breastfeeding and you’re wondering about exercise and breastfeeding, we have an article all about that here.

We’ll have more updates soon – in the meantime, please follow TLB on Instagram to keep up with #TLBmoves. Use the hashtag #TLBmoves on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share your pics. We want to see what you’re doing to MOVE, mamas!

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Oh! The Places You Go! World Breastfeeding Week/World Breastfeeding Month 2014

by Jessica Martin-Weber

#BFingPlaces

Oh the places you go!  Families are busy, on the go in their daily life be it at the grocery store, the park, school, the museum, parents’ work, church, community activities, you name it.  And then there are special events such as vacations at the beach, mountain top weddings, saying goodbye to a loved one, excursions to historical sites, and theme parks.  And along the way, we’re doing what we do, caring for our children, like normal.

It’s about to be World Breastfeeding Week/Month.  I confess, for the last several years I’ve really struggled with this month.  It seems like it should be my favorite, certainly as an outspoken breastfeeding supporter World Breastfeeding Week/Month has a lot of meaning and significance, yet still, I have been increasingly uncomfortable with it.  There are major world wide events bringing breastfeeding moms together, thousands of blog posts sharing personal stories of breastfeeding, mainstream media coverage on the importance of breastfeeding, thousands of brands offering promotions on breastfeeding related products, memes of breastfeeding sayings, giveaways galore, and informative posts as to the virtues of breastfeeding.  Overall, this sounds like a good thing, so why was I uncomfortable

Because somehow, I felt the focus was off (at least my own was) and the audience, well, the audience was mostly the choir.  World Breastfeeding Week/Month was preaching to the choir.  And sometimes the not so thinly veiled, if unintentional message was “breastfeeding moms are better than non-breastfeeding moms.”

I considered not participating, considered taking a position that every single day is World Breastfeeding Day at TLB and just continue on as normal with nothing special for the month.  There was conversation about ignoring it completely but that seemed impractical and kind of weird. Since I see the need for awareness and supportive conversation about breastfeeding, I do believe World Breastfeeding Week/Month has a lot of value, we just needed to figure out what that was in our context and how that fit TLB’s mission. As The Leaky Boob team started discussing how we could celebrate World Breastfeeding Week/World Breastfeeding Month, we knew we wanted it to focus on the moms first and then families. Instead of announcing to the world that breastfeeding is awesome (it is awesome, it’s also really just normal) and jumping in on the megaphone that ends up just going back to the moms that are already aware, we wanted to do something a little more intentional.  Though it makes me feel a little ridiculous to say, we have lost something when it comes to breastfeeding, we have lost it being normally accepted by society.  Plenty of people seem aware of breastfeeding, maybe even too aware, and I know very few people will even debate that breastfeeding is good for babies yet it hardly seems normal.  As absurd as it may sounds, breastfeeding still desperately needs to be (re)normalized.  Since we’re mammals though, that’s like saying breathing isn’t normal, or walking needs to be normalized.

Ultimately though, regardless of how absurd it sounds, women are harassed for feeding their babies, asked to leave restaurants, fear meeting their child’s needs in public due to public shaming, face judgment for how they feed their children, and feel pressured to feed a certain way but be invisible. Weirdly enough though, women that don’t feed their baby directly at their breast or with breastmilk, face much of the same. And those women experience World Breastfeeding Week/Month too but without the cheering support that breastfeeding moms receive.

Feed your baby way up high,

Or way down low?

In the sun

Or in the snow?

By the water

At the bay?

Feed your baby every day.

Show us the path you take

As your baby eats his steak*

What you see

Or what you do

On your journey

We support you.

*or milk, snack, baby food…

Help us celebrate families and normalize feeding babies without debate or judgment by taking and sharing pictures on social media.  Whether you feed at the breast, with a cover or without, with an at the breast supplementer, or using a bottle, your journey is part of normal infant feeding.  By posting images of the wide diversity there is in infant and toddler feeding, we can help remind ourselves and the rest of the world that we are people with feelings just trying to do our best in the normal act of feeding our children and we can be trusted to make the best decisions about that according to information, our personal circumstances, and our access to resources.  The image can be of you feeding your baby or of what you see as you’re feeding your baby.  Share your journey and together we can support each other with #BFingPlaces and #ISupportYou.  Post your images on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, or whatever social media platform you love to use and use those hashtags.  Be on the look out for some amazing giveaways and remember, every day is a day for support.

This year, World Breastfeeding Week/Month is still going to be celebrated at TLB.  There will be giveaways (one huge prize pack every week for five weeks!) and information sharing, personal stories and memes posted, and events gathering together moms that feed their babies with breastmilk.  But there will also be support for all families regardless of what their journey looks like when it comes to how they feed their children.  We’re celebrating you with the goal to normalize feeding children including breast and bottle feeding.  Free of judgment, full of support, we support you where you are.  Wherever you go.  And Oh!  The places you go.

 

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Iola Kostrzewski on Black Breastfeeding Week

by  Iola Kostrzewski

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Black Breastfeeding Week is not, I repeat, is not a week to have more of the white versus black argument. It’s not a week to get white women to notice black women breastfeeding, or even to get white women to acknowledge the fact that black women do breastfeed. It’s a week for us black women to bring awareness to other black women that, yes, we are in control of our bodies, that we need to no longer let historical trauma hold us back, that we need to have more free breastfeeding education classes and access to those classes.

Black Breastfeeding Week is bittersweet. It says, “Hey, there is enough of an issue that World Breastfeeding Week is no longer cutting it.” If anything it’s a black versus black week; it’s about trying to change the outlook on the breastfeeding from within the black community.  We need to do whatever we need to do to raise the rate of black women breastfeeding.

From the time Black Breastfeeding Week was announced, I have seen women who call themselves breastfeeding advocates make some of the most racist comments I have ever seen written by anyone who claims to promote breastfeeding. I have seen women who have had nurse-ins, who stand up for the rights of nursing mothers, argue that there is no need for this week. They argue that the week, even though black women created it, is racist.

Let’s stop, gather our thoughts, and breathe.

Let’s also take the time to remember that this week is not about whites versus blacks.

Yes, I understand that there was a World Breastfeeding Week a few weeks ago that is supposed to promote equality for women of all races who breastfeed. Yet how can we have equality when the statistics show that black women are lagging behind when it comes to breastfeeding? We cannot be equal until all women are on the same playing field.

No matter how hard I try to understand, I don’t understand how this week is offensive.

What’s offensive is making the comment “Black women are just lazy” or “Black women just don’t use their mind” after reading explanations about why this week is needed.  What’s offensive is refusing to acknowledge your white privilege while continuing to ramble on about how, yes, you have had hard times when it comes to breastfeeding, but you got over it. What’s offensive is going on to question why there isn’t a “White Breastfeeding Week”.  Though, I sit here and wonder to myself how can you have a “white” week? Wouldn’t you mean a German, Norwegian, or Polish week?

What is mind-boggling is how a person can say she is color blind to race, yet follows that by saying, “I have a black friend who has mixed kids and she breastfed them.” How in anyway is that being color blind?

Yet this week is not about me versus you.

This week, in all reality, is Black vs. Black.  It’s about battling the misconceptions about breastfeeding in the black community, particularly in the United States.  It’s about being able to breastfeed in front of my mother without her cringing and saying, “That’s what slaves used to do.”  It’s about not being told by a black parenting group that the project I have been working on is too “explicit” and offensive to Jesus. Jesus was breastfed.

This week is about letting certain black celebrities know that milk sharing and wet nurses are not just things that slaves did, and that a 150 years later it’s done by free will. This week is about letting black women know that if we work together we can make a change.

So, instead of saying this week isn’t necessary, tell me “I support you.”  Tell me that what I am doing is beautiful.

Many people I know don’t support breastfeeding at all. It isn’t celebrated in my culture.  Black Breastfeeding Week is helping to make it part of my culture. My friends and family, my neighbors and community leaders need to see breastfeeding as a normal part of life.  Help me make that a reality.

This week targets the population with the lowest breastfeeding rates overall.  Let’s work to bring those numbers up so we can all celebrate together.

It is my dream that in a couple years Black Breastfeeding Week will no longer be necessary.  My hope is that we can make enough of an impact together to close the statistical gap. This is something we need to do together.  Black women need to come together and show our community that breastfeeding is normal. And, we need the support of our friends of all colors and walks of life.

The author wishes to thank Amanda Jenson, who provided moral and editorial support for this piece.

Iola Kostrzewski is a wife, mother of two boys, babywearing educator, lactation educator in training, and an aspiring midwife.  Iola blogs at What the b**p and I doing?! .

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Every day is breastfeeding day

World Breastfeeding Month/Week is great, a time to raise awareness, share information, celebrate, do crazy huge giveaways, encourage, and share stories.  But I have to be honest here, I’m only a tiny bit into it.  Why?  Because as a breastfeeding mom and a supporter of breastfeeding moms, it’s world breastfeeding DAY every day and everywhere.  It’s just a part of what I do, a part of my life.  Breastfeeding is more than the biologically normal way for me to feed and care for my babies and toddlers, it has actually become one of the most important tools in my parenting tool box.  It tops the list.

Breastfeeding and babywearing, parenting power tools each in their own right, together strategically efficient.  It’s not they have to go together but when they do it’s a win win for all involved.  Ring sling, wrap, soft structure carrier, whatever your favorite carrier is, it can be one of the most supportive tools to your breastfeeding.  And like breastfeeding, as a mother of 6 active little girls, babywearing is a tool I use every day, everywhere.  As World Breastfeeding Month draws to a close, I want to share how babywearing can be a useful tool not only for your parenting in general but specifically related to helping you reach your breastfeeding goals.

#bfbw365

How Babywearing can help you reach your breastfeeding goals:

Babywearing makes for easy skin-to-skin care.  If the wearer is topless or wears a low cut top with lots of skin available and baby is naked or close to naked, babywearing can easily facilitate the important skin-to-skin access that all babies benefit from specially in the early days but even Zrejnuk,.aching far beyond.  Why is skin-to-skin contact so great?  Helps baby regulate breathing and body temperature, better blood sugar levels,  maintains baby’s heart rate and blood pressure, encourages breastfeeding, promotes emotional bonding, reduces infant and maternal/paternal stress, can help prevent or lessen postpartum depression, is comforting to baby, reduces crying, helps developmental process, lowers anxiety, and so much more.

Babywearing keeps baby close for ease in picking up hunger cues.  Even if it isn’t the breastfeeding mother always wearing the baby, any caregiver can easily and quickly pick up onp] baby’s cues that it’s time to eat, allowing for a quick response which will help the mother’s supply and baby’s stress levels.

Babywearing enables mom to be active while being close.  Whether she’s working, doing chores, or caring for other children, babywearing keeps baby close and let’s her multitask her responsibilities.  Moms that feel like they can keep up with their other responsibilities while caring for their infant are more likely to reach their breastfeeding goals because they won’t feel trapped in their home.  Having a happy baby safe and secure and being able to be productive in other areas is a huge confident boost that will go a long way not only in her overall parenting but can directly impact her breastfeeding goals.

Babywearing encourages breastfeeding in public.  Have baby, will go out.  Since babywearing can help moms be on the go it can also help them breastfeed in public.  Moms isolated and stuck inside their house often struggle with anxiety and postpartum depression.  Both babywearing and breastfeeding can simplify getting out and being active in social settings, reducing the risk of isolating mothers and developing postpartum depression and/or postpartum anxiety.  Once she works out how to breastfeed in a carrier (tip: practice in front of a mirror to see what it looks like- you’ll be surprised how incognito breastfeeding in a carrier can be if you are concerned about that.), breastfeeding in a carrier can be much easier than using a cover if mom feels she should, easier than taking baby out of the carrier and feeding even if she feels she doesn’t need to cover, and easier than a bottle of expressed milk or formula.  And it takes us back to the previous point, mom can be active not only while being close but actually while breastfeeding.  Because when you have a 3 year old and a new baby, sitting down in a quite setting with a pillow and staring into your baby’s eyes while they feed for the 67th time that day (I exaggerate… 24th time that day) isn’t always possible.  Being able to feed your baby and keep up with the 3 year old is priceless!

Babywearing helps normalize breastfeeding.  You read that right and no, it’s not a stretch.  Since breastfeeding is encouraged and supported by babywearing the more families that utilize it the more breastfeeding will increase in both numbers and visibility.  As more and more women begin to confidently feed their babies with their breasts, breastfeeding will become more and more normal.  Like walking, when breastfeeding is normal there will be better support available for those that may encounter difficulties because it simply won’t be acceptable to ignore breastfeeding problems any more than it would be acceptable to ignore problems walking.  Babywearing helps normalize breastfeeding by encouraging breastfeeding, helping more moms breastfeed while out, and supporting moms in reaching their breastfeeding goals.

Even for moms that aren’t comfortable feeding in their carrier (but don’t despair if you struggle with feeding in the carrier, it may get easier with time, in a different carrier, or with practice and help from someone) babywearing can be a useful part of your breastfeeding journey and even help you reach your breastfeeding goals for many of the reasons listed above.

World Breastfeeding Month?  Just a month?  It’s great but that’s just a drop in the bucket.  I breastfeed. I babywear. Every day. Everywhere. 365. Way beyond World Breastfeeding Month.

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Do you breastfeed every day?  Everywhere?  Does babywearing help you? 

If it’s always breastfeeding day for you or has been, share the breastfeeding and/or babywearing love by posting a photo of you breastfeeding and/or babywearing (or the badge or banner below) and let others know!  Use the hashtag #BFBW365 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and help normalize breastfeeding and babywearing for all parents.

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BFBW365

#BFBW365

 

This week The Leaky Boob is teaming up with Beco Baby Carriers to encourage breastfeeding every day, everywhere.  In showing their support they are also sponsoring a chat on The Leaky [email protected]@b Facebook page on Thursday, September 5th, 2013 at 8pm Central for an hour about breastfeeding 365 and what’s in your parenting toolkit.  We will be giving away 4 Beco Soleils with accessory packs as part of the chat.  RSVP for the chat using the chat below and participate on Thursday, September 5th, 2013 for a chance to win a carrier to help you breastfeed and babywear every day, everywhere. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Black Breastfeeding Week: Interview with Cofounder Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka

by Kari Swanson

On August 25, 2013, the first day of the first nationally recognized Black Breastfeeding Week, I was excited to learn that one of the founding committee members, fellow breastfeeding advocate Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, recently moved to the area where I live.  Anayah is a mother of two, a graduate student, co-founder of Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers and Brown Mamas Breastfeed and a MomsRising fellow.  After a virtual introduction we made arrangements to meet for lunch and Anayah graciously agreed to let me interview her for The Leaky [email protected]@b blog.

 

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Kari: Tell us about yourself and your personal breastfeeding experience.

Anayah: “I’m a mom.  I have 2 kiddos.  I’m a breastfeeding advocate.”

Kari: How did you become involved in breastfeeding advocacy?

Anayah: “I was nursing my oldest, now 3 years old, up all night in the early months and was intrigued by [breastfeeding]—it was so beautiful to me—and I wanted to know more about it, but outside of friends and family I didn’t see black women breastfeeding.  I wanted to talk to women who understand my life.”

In her search for like-minded women she was introduced to Jeanine Valrie.  Together Anayah and Jeanine created Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers and the Brown Mamas Breastfeed Project .  Initially the Brown Mamas Breastfeed Project was created as a way to gather photos of black mothers breastfeeding, but Anayah and Jeanine discovered that the women who shared their photos were also interested in sharing their stories as well.  In part based on the research-supported assertion that narrative can be used to increase the number of women who breastfeed, they are currently expanding the Brown Mamas Breastfeed Project into a book, which is forthcoming.

“This book could be good for moms in areas where they are actually in the minority.… [especially if] they do not have online social networks.”

Working with MomsRising also gives Anayah a platform around issues pertaining to race and class, especially as they relate to breastfeeding and families’ economic security.

Kari: What do you see as some of the challenges black women in particular face when it comes to breastfeeding?

Anayah: “When we deal with a larger culture that positions breastfeeding as something white women do—or at least something specifically not black [that is a challenge].  The larger narrative is about white women, so even physicians don’t address it. [For an African American woman], she hasn’t seen it growing up.  It’s not something she is exposed to… She either had people who said nothing or were openly hostile about it.”

Anayah related that in her own experience she was threatened with being thrown out of a pediatrician’s office, because she was breastfeeding her baby there.  Most of the women in her community did not breastfeed, so even the pediatrician’s office was not accustomed to seeing a woman breastfeed.

“African American women are at increased risk of diabetes and breast cancer and breastfeeding can address it.  Breastfeeding is one of the only things a woman can choose to do to decrease the risk of breast cancer, especially the type that overwhelmingly kills black women.”

“I don’t even think it’s important whether or not black women’s challenges are unique. That we face serious and life threatening health conditions of which breastfeeding offers some support at such high numbers is enough to warrant attention. In mainstream media, breastfeeding is still discussed as a lifestyle choice and for African-American families, it’s much more serious than that.”

Kari: Tell us about Black Breastfeeding Week.  Why do you care so much about this topic that you helped to create a nationally recognized awareness week for the subject?

Anayah: “Kimberly [Seals Allers] had written articles about World Breastfeeding Week, but there was no traction in the community—not much ethnic diversity.  So, she wrote this piece about greater diversity.  I read the piece and decided I had to ask her about it.”

Fast forward to the ROSE Summit in Atlanta where Kimberly Seals Allers (of Kimberly Seals Allers’ Mocha Manual), Kiddada Green (of Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association), and Anayah met and decided to coordinate and launch Black Breastfeeding Week to bring attention to breastfeeding to their community.  Anayah pointed out that where “large campaigns can’t go deep enough” a more focused effort can.

“It’s not about physiology; it’s about social context,” she said.

Anayah described some of the historical social context related to breastfeeding among African American women, including the fact that black women have always worked outside of the home, quite often as domestic help for white families—caring for white children—and that formula was supposed to make it easier for them to be separated from their own babies.   In addition, a lack of support “across the board” contributes to low rates of breastfeeding among African American women.

Increasing the rate of breastfeeding among African American women will require “more than seeing some black faces sometimes.”  And it is vitally important to the lives of black women and their babies that the rate of breastfeeding be increased.

“Creating Black Breastfeeding Week was primarily about us raising greater awareness and pulling together forces among African-Americans for breastfeeding. We want to make breastfeeding part of other conversations we’re having on parenting and life in general, so we’re using this week to do it. The tweetchat on Thursday is a special effort that will help; when we have a major publication like Ebony.com and the top black bloggers supporting the conversation, we can reach more families than those who are already thinking and talking about breastfeeding.”

The first annual Black Breastfeeding Week is taking place this week, August 25-31.  For more information please visit:

Black Breastfeeding Week on Facebook

First Annual Black Breastfeeding Week announcement

Moms Rising Black Breastfeeding Week announcement

 

 

 

kariswansonTLB

Kari Swanson is a daughter, sister, wife, mother of two, librarian, member of Generation X and an admin for The Leaky [email protected]@b Facebook page.   Kari blogs occasionally over at Thoughts from BookishMama.

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Why I breastfed my baby on TV

 

 

guest post by Jennifer Borget, news reporter for Austin, YNN and blogger at The Baby Making Machine.

 

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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.

The Baby Making Machine

Jennifer and her children on set at her job.

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.

If I had seen women around me breastfeeding as I grew up...

 

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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?

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