The Nursing Mom's News
Editorial by Sarah Gaunt
Nursing Snack: Mama's Milk is Like Apple Pie
Essay: The Art of Breastfeeding by April Almeida
Advertisement: Born In Canada
Nursing Snack: Mama, I want to nurse!
Nursing on the Net
by Sarah Gaunt
Today is April Fool's Day! I had deliberated
on playing an April Fool's joke, but am not creatively bent in that direction.
<laugh> I hope you, Faithful Reader, have a marvelous Monday. A reminder:
Daylight Savings is this upcoming Sunday, for all those who spring their
clocks forward an hour this time of year.
Tomorrow Logan will be eleven months old.
It's so hard for me to wrap my brain around it. Next month, when he turns
one, The Nursing Mom's News will be one day late, to coincide with his
birthday. He is still nursing strong, and growing so amazingly fast. We
bought him his first pairs of shoes last week: size five and a half! It
took him only a few days to get used to lifting his feet high enough to
walk in the shoes, but now he seems to really dig them. He power walks,
nearly runs, and only crawls when he wants to get under the table.
Jake is not only still nursing, but he's nursing
as I type this! And he is, for all intents and purposes, potty trained!
I'll be starting something new for NMN. A
Nursing Snack is a brief nursing story, something quick and sweet and comforting,
submitted by readers. I love reading little bits of lives, and it is really
fabulous to see just how similar we all are. So please, if you have a Nursing
Snack to share, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I may include
it in a future issue of the NMN. And, as always, the NMN is seeking contributions
of essays and articles. If you would like to write for the News, send me
an email for guidelines. We are a non-paying market at this time, and authors
retain all rights to their work.
Mama's milk is like Apple Pie
I love talking to Camille about nursing, especially asking her what
"Nene" tastes like or how it makes her feel. Now, I don't know if she totally
understands, but the first time I asked her, she said Nene tasted like
"Apple Pie!" To this day if I ask her what Nene tastes like she'll either
say apple pie or apple juice. She seems to have captured nursing completely
with those two words. Doesn't Apple Pie represent comfort food, warmth,
home cooking, and soul food to us adults? Mama's milk must be like Apple
Pie! I love getting insight into her little mind, but I don't really need
to ask her because I can see it written all over her face that she is just
in heaven when we cuddle up with each other, when she molds in to my arms
and she has her Nene.
SAHM to her daughter Camille, who at 21 months is still nursing strong
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The Art of Breastfeeding
by April Almeida
Before the birth of our first child, I honestly
never considered breastfeeding was anything but that: A way to feed a baby
from the breast. I had no idea that it is actually, in many ways, an art
form. A stunning stained-glass portrait carefully etched in rosy hues depicting
the glow of motherhood. And beyond that, to learn that it creates an extraordinary
secure bond between a mother and child, and father too. I assumed the act
itself was not at all unique, but also figured somehow amongst women it
was a well-kept secret, done at home behind drawn shades, effortless in
its practice. You give birth to a baby, and simply feed this child from
your breast, which is filled with endless amounts of milk. No thought to
it. Nothing exceptional about it. It is just a way to feed a baby.
Or so I believed.
While I was happily exuding the beauty of
pregnancy, I naively assumed that I knew enough about breastfeeding to
know, quite simply, that I would do it and do it with some sort of mother-ease.
Most in my family did, maybe not for long or not very successfully, but
they did it. Most of the children on our family were nursing babies at
some point in their newborn days. In my grandmother's day however, breastfeeding
was not distinctive, it was the only way to nourish your children. Not
to mention that it was done throughout the first 2-4 years of a child's
life. Now, although accepted rather hesitantly by doctors and society,
nursing for that long, or anything beyond 6 months, now has somewhat of
an imposing name attached to it. Extended Breastfeeding. There wasn't such
a phrase for long-term breastfeeding in the old days. But for some reason
in today's society we need to give new names to old practices so that we
somehow don't get ostracized for doing them. And this is just about nursing
past what society has labeled the norm, 6 months or more. This is simply
the actual span of how long a mother chooses to nurse. There are other
factors that mothers have to deal with in breastfeeding that make it difficult
to even try.
Today's fast paced planet has mothers all
over the world plagued with the worries of returning to work after the
birth of a child. They have to deal with the separation from that child,
as well as (if breastfeeding) dreading the act of pumping swelled breasts
in between bathroom breaks and losing their jobs over it. In many parts
of the world they are trying to impose legislation that would allow paid
time for mothers to leave to nurse their children (while at work), or go
and pump their milk in peace and quiet, without being hassled for doing
so. In some places this is already in effect. A long shot at best in actually
happening in North America sadly. Formula companies, against World Health
Code stipulations, try to force-feed new mothers negative ideals by sending
out free samples of formula to plant seeds of doubt in their heads that
they can indeed continue to breastfeed for as long as they wish. As daunting
as it seems to some inexperienced mothers, you can indeed continue to breastfeed
through anything; working, vacations, travel, illness and prescribed medications,
in public and even through a new pregnancy. When all is said and done,
all it takes is some creativity to perfect this art adventure. Of course,
when problems arise, this is easier said than done.
Unlike now, when there were problems with
nursing back when my grandmother was a new mom, they simply struggled though
it and figured out on their own how to overcome them. They didn't have
La Leche League leaders and meetings or Lactation Consultants to turn to.
There was no Internet invented yet, so no maze of flashy web sites to research.
Not even a how-to book to browse though. They just kept nursing. They dealt
with the pains of swollen engorged breasts, low milk supply, thrush (Yeast
infection of the mouth transmitted from mother to baby), cracked and bleeding
nipples, plugged ducts and cysts, sleepy babies who refuse to drink, nursing
more than one at a time (tandem nursing), and much more. We now have a
plethora of options to choose from when such problems arise. But still
many give up breastfeeding too soon. Many more don't even try. I admit
to never giving any of this much thought. I just knew I would do it, and
naively believed I could do it. I mean, we have breasts, and breasts-all
sexual ideals aside-are for feeding babies. Right? Little did I know
that my dose of mothering-reality was just waiting to greet me.
I quickly learned that breastfeeding is indeed
a form of art. It is something to be nurtured and it takes time to learn.
It usually does not come easily either. Nor does it come natural. Many
confuse breastfeeding, (the act) being the natural way to feed a child,
with it coming naturally to a mother. There is an enormous difference.
I firmly believe there should be more information spread throughout the
world about breastfeeding so that mothers are not so stunned when they
find themselves not able to succeed at nursing right away. There is no
worse feeling than returning home from the hospital with your new beautiful
baby in your arms, only to realize you cannot feed your child because you
have no idea what you are doing. Many women, already compounded with post-partum
blues soon dive head first into depression because of such stress. Many
books will tell you simply expose a breast swelled with milk, put the baby's
mouth to the nipple, and let him/her have at it. Those of us experienced
in nursing know darn well there is a heck of a lot more to it than that.
Hence my comparison to art. It is bad enough knowing that there isn't the
much needed support and regard for breastfeeding out there that there should
be, but to have the information that exists downplay the seriousness of
it all makes many women quickly give up or feel like failures because of
the surprises they face when starting out.
I was one such mom. The reality of breastfeeding
soon turned what was supposed to be the happiest time in my life into the
most difficult and disheartening one. Thanks to a tedious labour, traumatic
birth and a baby suffering severe jaundice (yellowing of the skin caused
blood cells and liver not fully matured), we soon encountered real problems.
This was topped with a horrible army drill instructor-type Lactation Consultant
at the hospital who questioned my mothering skills and nurses who showered
me with formula samples rather than help me. After ten weeks of depression
and struggles with trying to feed my daughter solely on my breastmilk,
I finally cut out all formula supplementation in a fit of anger and allowed
her to nurse constantly. Suddenly we were a nursing couple. We were at
ease with one another. She ate and ate, and I smiled and smiled. No more
fuss, no more crying (from either one of us!) and I finally understood
the beauty of breastfeeding. It is not achieved easily. It takes hard work.
It doesn't always happen right away; in fact it usually takes on average
up to 3 months to get a milk supply established. It takes patience. It
is not the glorious heavenly portrait of mother and child shining through
rosy hues of etched glass; it can be awkward, sometimes grueling and many
times frustrating. But the miracle of breastfeeding is the bond you share
with your child. This is the art form that takes on a life of its own.
This is what my grandmother means when she sternly asks if I am still nursing
my now-toddler. I happily report to her that yes, in fact, we are
still a nursing couple. Society's views are something I take pride in trying
to change in my personal quest to give my child the best. Maybe of more
mothers looked upon themselves as artists creating the most beautiful and
stunning portrait every time they nurse their precious child, just maybe
they would reconsider any negative connotations about breastfeeding. That
is my hope. I am living proof it can be done. Joyfully, wherever I wish,
for however I choose, through anything I face. I have always been creative
in my endeavors, but breastfeeding, by far, is my best work yet.
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Canada" baby clothes and accessories. A wide selection of beautiful, super-comfy
baby clothes. A must for any baby born in Canada! http://www.bornincanada.com
(Toll Free: 1-800-263-3582)
Mama, I want to nurse!
My son has always simply said "nurse". By the time he was 15 months,
it had become "Mama, I want to nurse! <grin> please?" I never really
thought about it at all. Until one Sunday a friend of mine came up to me
after church and commented on how cute it was that he asked so nicely to
nurse. (Luckily she was a breastfeeding mom too.) Then I began to wonder
what people thought when they heard this toddler ask, usually not quietly,
and often during a prayer or scripture, to nurse. The more I thought about
it, the more it didn't bother me. I figured that the two of us were single-handedly
mass educating nearly 200 people on the subject of extended breastfeeding.
And I liked it! If anyone had questions, they would ask me (usually "he's
still nursing?") and I'd answer that it was the best thing for him, and
what God had designed for our children. No one has ever had a response
for that (at church anyway)!
Michal Lynn Moyer; son Peter is now 35 months and still nursing occasionally,
though he has pretty much weaned during my pregnancy (due about 3 wks after
Nursing on the Net
The American Academy of Family Physicians has released a new position
paper that supports breastfeeding through a large variety of issues, including
maternal and infant illness, returning to work, taking medications, past
infancy, and breast surgery. I am very pleased to see such frank support
from a medical organization.
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The contents of The Nursing Mom's News (NMN) are not to be confused
with medical advice. The information provided by NMN and its contributors
is strictly for educational and entertainment purposes. The information
should be discussed with a medical professional and weighed according to
the individual mother and child.