Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's More Than Just the Milk

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding thoughts. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

My mom nursed all eight of the children in our family but other than that I grew up in an era where bottle feeding was the norm. I babysat for many families as a young woman and prepared formula and enjoyed feeding those cute babies. I really didn't think more about infant feeding until I was a student in the dietetics program at Utah State University. We had a short unit on breastfeeding. and my eyes were opened. My commitment to breastfeeding was born. My sister Lauren was just ready to have her first baby. I bombarded her with pamphlets and photocopies and statistics.

I graduated from school and left on my mission for the LDS Church in Chile where I saw women nurse their babies without embarrassment or shame. It was just what they did to feed and nurture their babies.

When I returned home I began working for a social program that promoted breastfeeding as part of it's strategy to improve the health of babies and mothers. It also saved the program a lot of money if women chose to breastfeed rather than use formula. I attended a week-long course about breastfeeding. We discussed in detail the composition of breastmilk, how to teach about breastfeeding, and how to help moms with problems. I was committed to helping moms nurse their babies. It was all about the milk.

Breastmilk is what babies are designed to get. It contains the right amounts of all nutrients that babies need. Babies who don't get breastmilk are at a higher risk for so many illnesses and diseases--as infants and later in life--because of protective factors and immunoglobulins in the milk. Moms who don't breastfeed their babies are at a higher risk for certain cancers and other illnesses. Breastmilk changes to meet the needs as a baby grows. Using formula is expensive and puts a strain on the environment. Preparing bottles takes time and effort and is way less convenient than breastfeeding. There are moral issues with companies marketing infant formula in doctor's offices and hospitals and third world countries. It was still all about the milk.

And then I became a mother.

Breastfeeding came to be about so much more.

It is not just about providing the right nutrition or immune factors, although that is important too.

It is about nurturing.

It is about really connecting with my baby.

It is about fulfilling my role as a mother and parenting in a loving way.

It is about looking into my baby's eyes and knowing that although she can't express in words how she feels, she loves me.

It is about feeling full of love and emotion as my baby places her hand on my breast and smiles.

It is about protecting a mother's right to nurse her baby in any place or situation.

It is about feeling empowered to do something for my baby that no one else can.

My journey with nursing has not been an easy one. It has required more effort than I ever thought possible. There have been tears and frustration along the way. Ryan and other friends and family members have supported and sustained me, even when they might not fully understand why it is so important to me. It is worth it. My babies are worth it.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Amy said...

This is beautiful. What could be more worth a big effort than our own tiny babes?

Jen said...

You would not believe this, but my doctor told me that when my baby was 2 weeks old that I needed to give him supplements (vitamins) because breast milk dosen't have enough nutrients for babies. This was just a month ago....I won't be going to that doctor again. I think that breastfeeding is the best and is very wonderful!

Heather said...

I am hoping that I will be able to make breastfeeding work with this one. I just don't understand why I can't produce milk. I try for about three months and then my kids start to starve. I even get those industrial pumps to help but I barely get 3 oz from each side. I do have c-sections and am thinking that I am not going to allow them to take my baby when they want. I am going to let my body start labor to see if it helps. Breastfeeding is awesome and formula stinks. Quite literally.