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Thursday, August 4, 2011

World Breastfeeding Week--My Experience


It should be noted that this post is about breastfeeding, and as such the blog entry and photos below will discuss and show breasts and breastfeeding. If you find such things embarrassing or uncomfortable, this particular entry is not recommended reading for you.

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A Short Reflection on My Breastfeeding Experience
(Originally written for hbdocumentary.wordpress.com)

When she had my brother and sister, my Mother made the decision to keep me closely involved with all aspects of the new baby.  At seven years old, I helped hold her leg as she had my brother, and at ten years old, I held her hand as my sister was born.  A naked body in childbirth was not something sexual that needed to be hidden, but the natural vessel for bringing in the world and nourishing a baby.  My Mom nursed us all beyond a year, despite the discouragement and incredulity she faced from friends and family members who had raised babies on formula, thinking it was better, more filling, less work, and more convenient.  And it is for her courage that I am grateful.  Now with my own (and first) baby, I feel empowered by breastfeeding.  Because of her normalizing breastfeeding (imagine having to 'normalize' the natural way of feeding your baby!) within our family, I have the support my Mother never did.  It saddens me that still today, women are discouraged from nursing because they feel bound to the house, don't want to encounter the stares from strangers and friends alike, or have been made to feel over-exposed by the act of breastfeeding.  I think that my Mom's treatment of nursing as the way that a mother feeds her baby shaped the way I would feed my own child.  I never felt afraid or ashamed to nurse, no matter where I was.  It never occured to me to.  I was suprised as I grew up to find that not everyone felt the way my family did about breastfeeding.  I was surprised to hear of women who nursed in bathrooms (yuck!) or gave up all together because of the public attitude.  It is my sincerest hope that by proudly nursing my child will help others realize that there is nothing indecent about such a natural process.  I am grateful for the convenience that nursing provides--I can feed my baby anywhere, anytime.  I am grateful for the connection that breastfeeding gives me and my daughter.  I am grateful for modern medicine and formula and all the things that keep babies healthy when their mother's can't or won't nurse, but I hope that those who can will try. I hope that one day I will no longer see the flash of embarrassment when someone admiring my baby realizes I am nursing her.  I hope that ony day many more women will be able to discover that overwhelming beauty that is created by a mother nursing her child.

I love nursing, though I never expected to.  The first few weeks were hard.  It hurt while my body adjusted.  But even then, I was struck by the beauty of my baby breastfeeding.  I fell in love with the rise and fall of my baby's tiny jaw.  I fell in love with the soft curve of my breast mimicked by her cheek.  I fell in love with the comfort, nourishment, and unique love created between us.  I fell in love with my baby through breastfeeding.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, thanks for sharing, and beautiful pic. Beth (UK breastfeeding mum)

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