Why I breastfed my baby on TV

 

 

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

 

babymaking mama austin newscast breastfeeding

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...

 

________________________

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?

________________________

Share

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Remember that fairytale?  It even got a fairytale ending.  For a little bit anyway.

It felt like a victory, like one small step for women-kind when Facebook reinstated The Leaky [email protected]@b page around 3 on Tuesday, January 4, 2011.  The whirl-wind of the previous 2 days seemed like it suddenly stopped.  There was virtual celebrating and our little fairytale community picked up right where it had left off plus a few thousand more members.  The wall on the page was hoping, after the celebrating calmed down posts asking about everything from how to deal with teething to is it ok if my baby wants to nurse all the time and is it ok to breastfeed past 12 months (it is, by the way) filled the page.  Leakies got back to the business of feeding their babies and supporting other Leakies.  Well wishers popped in congratulating us on getting our space back.  The energy was like a good party, a good party with good friends.  People that had never heard of TLB before joined and expressed how excited they were to know they were not alone.  Several others expressed how they wished they had something like TLB when they were breastfeeding and were so happy to see our community there for other moms now.

Personally, I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep.  You know that big sigh you heave when something intense, requiring hard word is over?  I couldn’t believe that after just a few short days I was already there, heaving that sigh and moving on.  For a moment my mind even wandered to other posts I had been planning before the page went down.  Everything was normal again.  I looked around at my neglected house and tackled a few areas.  I took Earth Baby to ballet, made dinner, spent some time on Facebook, read with my girls, made a batch of bread dough, did dishes, fed Smunchie, fiddled around on Twitter, fiddled around on the new web page, worked on an outline for another post, answered some emails, went back to Facebook.

And it was gone.  Not Facebook, The Leaky Boob.  I tried 3 times but I knew right away what was going on.  So I tried the Bring Back The Leaky Boob page.  Same result.  Both pages were gone.

Last time I cried.  This time I didn’t cry.  I closed my eyes and put my head back.

There was the same form letter email in my inbox, deleted for violating the terms of service.  Violators don’t get to come back.  I’ve heard that one before.

We’ll get the pages back.  It’s just not over yet.  But I already knew it wasn’t over.

It wasn’t enough to get The Leaky Boob page reinstated the first time because the problem is more than that one page being deleted. The Leaky Boob was reinstated and that was a very exciting and important piece of what we wanted. Still, Facebook needs to do something about the problem with deleting (erroneously or otherwise) breastfeeding pages and materials. Their system is not working and ignoring the problem positions all groups related to breast health including breastfeeding and breast cancer to experience the same treatment simply because any Facebook user can report or flag them for being obscene. Breast health is not obscene. Breasts are not obscene. Facebook needs to create some way for breast health pages, images (including personal breastfeeding photos), terminology and information to be exempt from automatic deletion when reported, or some other way to keep truly obscene content off the site without blocking legitimate pages.

The Leaky [email protected]@b fan page is missed by thousands of “Leakies.”  We need it back.  Studies show that support is crucial to breastfeeding success and a support community is what this is all about.  But this isn’t just about breastfeeding support, it’s about breast health, normalizing breastfeeding, infant nutrition, women’s rights, the objectification of women, and so much more.  This is about public health.

One step forward, two steps back.  I’m ready to run a marathon.

Two new pages have sprung up on Facebook, one aimed to Bring Back The Leaky Boob- again and the other invinting you to Join TLB in Support of Women’s Health.  Like these pages on Facebook to get up to date information.  I shared here ways for you to help, working together a community can accomplish great change.

Share