Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Yes, that is a picture of Ian nursing. It is our first little act of Lactivism of the new year.Motherwear, a great source of nursing clothing and information, has published a list of Breastfeeding Resolutions. They suggest 10 things you can do to promote breastfeeding acceptance and awareness. I'm fulfilling #6 by displaying the breastfeeding icon in this post.
Support is critical to successful breastfeeding because it isn't always easy. I committed to breastfeeding before Ian was born. I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital, discussed it in my childbirth preparation classes, read books, and visited the Lactation Center. The information prepared me for common difficulties, provided common solutions and encouraged me to ask for help early and often. However, breastfeeding is a two-person coordinated activity. Even with all the preparation, I had pain and soreness for the first 10 weeks. Sometimes you can know what to do, but you can't physically make it happen. Having support and encouragement really made a difference for me. I wasn't sure the pain would ever stop, but at about 10 weeks, it did. I used to laugh at the Follow Me, Mum video they showed us in the classes and at the support group where presenter Rebecca Glover said,"Breastfeeding should be pleasant and pain-free". By 12 weeks, I got there. I was lucky because I was staying with my parents in PA and didn't have to worry about getting back to work. Pumping isn't easy, either. Big props to working mothers who manage to pump for their babies! When I left for Egypt, our breastfeeding was confident, easy and established.
The Egyptians are very supportive of breastfeeding. Strangers ask me if I am breastfeeding and give me lectures on the street about it being the best for the baby. The other day I went to a shop to pick out some gifts, Ian started fussing, and the shopkeeper gave me a stool and encouraged me to feed him. He went outside the shop and told me to take my time. Even covered women breastfeed in public.
So, if you are breastfeeding and having trouble, hang in there and get help. It will get better with practice and time. If you need to supplement to make it through, don't feel guilty. I starting giving him one bottle a day at 6 weeks (the recommended age to avoid nipple confusion). It gave me just enough of a break to keep going until the pain stopped. I'm so glad I made it!