A Dad’s Perspective on Nursing (and Nursing in Public)

I was so impressed with the insight of this blog post that I am re-blogging it!! Add to that that it was a man who posted it and not a breastfeeding mama brings it home for me. I know how I feel. I breastfeed. but I truly value the insight found here from someone indirectly familiar with the direct and indirect repercussions of feeding ones child.

I recently met a woman who was nursing her 32 month old daughter. I, at the time was new to nursing and my first reaction was “what in the world would possess you to do that”. The thought of all those teeth and a walking, talking person hanging from a breast was more than my narrow mind had bothered to think. I admit it. I had jokes about breastfeeding in college. What… it was funny. Don’t judge me. And there it is right there. Don’t judge me. For feeding my child. For doing it the way God intended. for Giving my child the best nutritional, emotional and physical start to this life that I can manage to give. For sacrificing time out with friends, personal space, and perky breasts. Don’t judge me. This woman’s child has more than nutrition. Before having this child, I could not have imagined breastfeeding without a cover in public. Yeah, well I can now more than imagine it. I have never been offended by a woman’s breast but I have been taken-aback. I don’t come from a breastfeeding family. Now my family knows that if they visit I will feed my hungry child. They are welcomed to leave, sit in another room, go for a walk or ignore it. Whatever. If I am still able to breastfeed after 12 months and the ‘Wee One’ is still interested then… Don’t Judge Me. The baby is hungry.

The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies

by Jay Parr

I was about twelve, riding the DC Metrobus home from school, when a woman started complaining loudly about another woman breastfeeding her baby on the bus. I didn’t see anything, so I don’t know if the nursing mother was covered up or not, but that’s irrelevant here. The complaining woman made her way up to the driver, a taciturn and tough-looking man who looked like he would as soon cut your throat as say hello (I remember him because he drove that route often). He focused on the afternoon traffic as the woman complained, until he came to a light and she demanded, “Well? Aren’t you going to do something?”

The driver looked out at the cross traffic for a moment, absently drumming his fingers on the fare box, then turned to the woman and shrugged.

“Baby’s hungry.”

I can’t say for certain that the woman immediately…

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Breastfeeding Challenges pt. 2

20140103_093238 So… ok, just picking up where I left off in part 1. So it’s just one week before I go back to working full time and the wee one starts with a sitter. AND, I don’t have any supply in the freezer, a pump with which to secure new supply, nor hardly any milk being produced. I am drinking ‘non-alcholoic beer’, drinking  boobie milk tea (ok, not the real name), taking to breast all the time, eating the occasional seaweed. Really, doing just about anything to make this milk stay. Now what do I do?

I visit the nearest store and price formula. Good gravy! Formula is priced so freaking high I would either have to be wealthy or qualify for WIC to acquire some. Since neither is my case and I don’t have a hook-up. I am back to searching for ways to produce liquid gold in a bottle.

I hit the internet. I search and search and finally stumble upon the correct words that will produce what I am looking for. I call stores the rent pumps, research pumps on various websites, and locate independent lactation specialists. The first person I speak to is a La Leche League rep. She answers! I explain and she rattles off with reasons why my milk is low, anatomy of the breastfeeding body, and some possible solutions with barely a breath in between. The conversation, that is is an overstatement. It was really a monologue. Anyhoo, it was over in under fifteen minutes and the whirlwind left me feeling very alone  and without usable solutions. She didn’t get my contact information and didn’t really seem interested. In fact, I felt like a nuisance to her otherwise wonderful evening. Booo.

The second pickup was a location that rents pumps. And yes, they had them. And no the rep couldn’t tell me anything more than the cost and which ones were most commonly used because they just work there.

A few more calls and then a call back. A lactation specialist who is absolutely kind and caring and actually paid attention to what I said. She was local. But couldn’t understand why I had problems with the last pump since that is the brand she carries. Hmmm.

A few more calls and another pick up. She skips to the point. Can you come today? I have everything you need here. Oh and I agree that pump was a piece of crap.

Enter lactation guru, book writer, care giver, inspirational, baby whisperer – Kathleen. I show up at this strangers house. She is a well dressed blonde, Mother of grown children, RN with about fifteen other letters behind her name and Ph.D. in her future. She immediately takes the car seat and invites us in. My Mom, Kathleen and I have so much fun over the next hour that it is more like hanging out with a good friend than having someone size up your breast milk shortage.

When I leave, I have pumped, nursed, had my wee one weighed, laughed, gotten two bras that fit, am outfitted with a high quality pump that only whispers, have few baby calming tricks up my sleeve, know what the law allows for regarding work and have some herbal solutions to bring the milk back full force. My knight in shining highlights!! I feel good about my breastfeeding prospects.

So here we are. The wee one just turned 9 months and he still nurses. I never have enough milk to have a huge stash but I can get enough extra for daycare and the occasional night out. I am happy, not stressed. Kathleen at Bethesda Breastfeeding continues to assist me as needed.

-Just an aside, this past weekend, I bought my first non-nursing bra in forever. A nice Felina bra in a mouth dropping 38G!!!!! What in heaven’s name? The Marine asked “G? Is that for Good Googa Mooga?” Eh.

What I know I did right? I sought out help and kept looking until I found someone I felt comfortable with. I  set small achievable goals. They were:

  • Nurse now
  • If I can do it now, I can do it in two hours
  • If I can do it in two hours, I can do it for a week,
  • If I can do it for a week, the a month
  • If a month, then two months,
  • If 3, then 6
  • If 6, then 9
  • If 9, then 12

Patience and diligence were the deal makers. I didn’t give up. Not when it hurt (um yeah, it hurts in the beginning or for my left Ginorm, whenever he nurses – use Lanolin), not when challenges presented themselves. I believed that I could do it, and I searched for the support I needed. I didn’t let the hours of phone calls to the insurance company or the additional hours of searching and calling new leads discourage me.

You can do it too.

Tell me, did you use a lactation specialist/consultant to help you?