More breastfeeding talk

Howdy, friends.

I haven’t climbed on my lactation high horse lately. Seems time, no?

I read this today, and I pretty much agreed with it. (The article she references is here.)

The first post linked talks about how the New York Times didn’t do its research for some breastfeeding columns. I can see the argument that they are columns, so don’t maybe need a stack of footnotes an article would have.

But I agree with her that so much discussion just pits mom against mom, and it’s lame.

From the blog:

But the answer is not to cast aspersions on the evidence and say breastfeeding doesn’t matter.  Lactation is a normal part of human reproductive physiology. When this physiology is disrupted, the best evidence that we have indicates that risks increase for mothers and for infants. The fact that so many mothers and babies run aground reflects our failures as a society – and it underscores the urgent need to address those failures.

We need to make sure that mothers get accurate and evidence-based information during pregnancy so they can make an informed decision about infant feeding. We need to educate health care providers so that they can support that decision, both before and after birth. We need maternity hospitals to discontinue practices that undermine mothers and babies in the first days of life.  We need paid maternity leave, on-site daycare, policies for babies-at-work, and barring those options, access to pumps so that mothers do not have to choose between earning a living and nurturing their children.

And we need journalists writing about breastfeeding to treat it as a real public health issue, not another round in the media-generated “mommy wars.” 

She goes on to cite a variety of public health strategies in place to help moms.

When I was nursing and pumping at work, I pumped in a bathroom. It wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t horrible. I mean, sometimes it was, but that’s the nature of a public bathroom, and it wasn’t that huge of a deal to me. I was grateful that my employer gave me the time to pump and a place to store milk.

I did often wish that our company would have sprung for a hospital grade pump to share among lactating moms. The thing is, you have all your own horns and bottles and tubes. But many of us had to rent pumps because ours died or buy pumps, etc. I hated hauling the huge rental pump to and from work. I looked like an international arms dealer with that stupid thing.

And carrying a hospital-grade pump, a toddler and an infant in those cumbersome baby seats made me nearly homicidal by the time I walked in the door from work, straps falling off my shoulders and all three of us crying.

Providing a pump is one very simple, easy thing a company can do.

I recently found a few bags of frozen milk in our deep freeze. It was sad and sweet at the same time. I don’t miss pumping. At all. Especially the second time around — I hated it with a passion. But I do feel sad that we are likely done having kids, and I won’t have that special time with an infant again.

I never would have made it through the years of nursing if it hadn’t been for the support of my spouse, friends and workplace. I wish everyone had that luxury.

Happy running.



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8 Responses to More breastfeeding talk

  1. Rochelle says:

    Great (and important) post. Support from medical providers, friends, family, and coworkers is absolutely essential not only to child rearing, but also to successful breastfeeding. I had to fight for a lock on my office door because the partners for whom I worked (all male) couldn’t see why it was necessary (“Isn’t our ‘knock first’ policy enough?”) Women shouldn’t have to fight those battles in addition to the sheer difficulty of parenting itself (not to mention breastfeeding, working, and caring for additional siblings). I hope that’s a concept on which all moms–and hopefully all women–can agree.

    • I never would have made it if I didn’t have friends assuring me many of my troubles with breastfeeding were normal and temporary. The first few weeks were the most difficult – if women could just get through that, I think they would stick it out. And the lactation consultants here in town are amazing – they returned calls on Saturdays and listened to me cry over the phone more than once.

  2. Melissa S says:

    I didn’t expect breastfeeding to be so rewarding. I like that time with bub. Though sometimes I would love to have a glass of wine more easily. That’s such a small small thing, though. He prefers me, so it’s hard to get milk in him with a bottle when we’re at home. He doesn’t eat a ton at daycare, I go nurse him most days at lunch. Then he seems to play catch up at home. That makes things difficult sometimes. It’s tough to get much else done. I still love it. Pumping is annoying. I don’t mind at work as much. I have difficulty if I’m on a shoot for work, or if I’m photographing an event. It is tricky to get time to pump. Fortunately an off day here and there doesn’t seem to derail my supply if I’m only able to pump a bare minimum to lighten the strain. Bub is 4months old and weighs 16 lbs 14oz. We must be doing okay. Initially I wanted to at least get to 6 months. 12 months looks like a sure thing, so I’m very happy! Considering the memory of our initial difficulty with nursing I’m so glad. Our lactation counsellor in Vermillion was wonderful and the nurses were so helpful too!

  3. Kelly says:

    The idea that an employer supply the pump is wonderful! It would pay them back hundred times over in happy moms. I do feel that my hospital experience was wonderful both times and I’m always surprised when I hear that nursing moms weren’t supported by the nursing staff or had militant lactation consultants. I feel like the nurses and lactation consultants really helped get me on the right path both times and without them I wouldn’t have made it nearly as long with my first child.

  4. Lisa F says:

    Great post! I think the idea of companies supplying pumps is a wonderful idea. That post you linked to was written by the doctor who delivered my premature twins. LOVE her! She went out of her way to visit me in the NICU to see how breastfeeding was going and helped encourage me in a non-pushy, non-judgemental way.

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