Why do we make young babies learn to feed from bottles if they can learn to feed from cups at any age?
Here’s a new product designed with newborns in mind — one that doesn’t carry the drawbacks of bottle feeding (including affecting oral development, potential nipple confusion or nipple chewing, excessive air swallowing, forced pacing and overconsumption, etc).
Would you try this?
Behold, the NIFTY cup!
Brazil’s Paediatric Society of Rio Grande do Sul (SPRS) targets breastfeeding moms in a new ad campaign that warns how a diet that includes processed foods can harm their nurslings. While not the first offensive-for-shock-value ad of its kind (read my other post on “The 7 Grossest Breastfeeding Ads“), it has recently provoked much confusion, defensiveness, and resistance from breastfeeding women.
Not surprising, as we’re all pretty sensitive… hormonal… sometimes already feeling like slovenly, frumpy new moms, even without the help of ads that highlight our so judge-worthy maternal insufficiencies…
And us breastfeeders like to eat (everything, as many of us will testify on the book).
I really never imagined I’d be nursing during a pregnancy. It amazes me the endurance of this tradition we’ve made and how it’s seen us through so much.
I don’t know if almost three-year-old MaiTai will tire of it soon, or if aversion will strike the crazy into me and call a halt by my discretion. Or if we’ll just keep nursing like we always have, because it’s as normal a thing to do as would be not choosing to continue.
I do know that nursing isn’t so comfortable anymore. Aversion is milder so far than with bleeding cycles, but it just feels… different. Not all oxytocin-rush-of-pleasantness, squeeze-him-tight and never let go, butterflies of love swooping through my body kind of stuff like I wrote about here.
It feels how I imagine some people who’ve never breastfed might think breastfeeding feels like — a little person sucking on your skin, perhaps a most unwanted hickey? Still it’s not “gross” (he’s my baby, he’ll never be icky to me!) but it’s not a street paved in my favor as far as physical contentment. Emotionally though? Another story.
If you’ve kept up with this blog for even a short while, I’m sure you can tell how much I love taking and sharing photos — especially those that capture family love, such as when breastfeeding. I’m often complimented on my photos (I’m shy so it means a lot to me — thank you!), then asked for tips and advice on how to have a successful breastfeeding photoshoot.
To be honest, I think every breastfeeding photoshoot is the epitome of perfection and a success, even if the nursling got distracted or wanted to jam tiny fingers up his mother’s nose. That’s just breastfeeding! Try to remember: the idea isn’t to compare your photos to the outcome of others’. YOU get to decide what “successful” means in this instance — how refreshing!
I decided to let a professional handle some of the main concerns I hear a lot. I interviewed Whimsy Candids Photography‘s Anel Lestage, a Houston-area family photographer and editing expert who specializes in breastfeeding portraits.
**You can see pictures from my session with Anel in this post. Contact details for Anel can be found at the end of the interview.**
Read on for what Anel suggests to optimize your nursing shoot experience!
There are many things I didn’t get about the history of Black Breastfeeding Week, which runs from August 25th-31st. To my credit, I can barely keep up with the history of breastfeeding in general (I mean, the practice does date all the way back to the beginning of mammal-kind).
Prior to looking into the celebration that is Black Breastfeeding Week, I already knew why White Breastfeeding Week doesn’t exist: because all of National Breastfeeding Month is about support and understanding for every last breastfeeding person, and whites aren’t a minority or marginalized group.
Note: Before I continue, please be aware I’m no expert in racial discrimination and though I try my best to overcome my own ignorance at any opportunity, I’m a work in progress here. So I ask for gentleness if I’ve unknowingly represented cultural inaccuracies; my heart is in the right place. ❤ 🙂
Emily Medley, public programs director for Houston’s Health Museum, looked out from the podium to explain what led her to this place of passion for normalizing breastfeeding in public.
She recalled a time she went into the museum bathroom, and an uncomfortable scuffling drew her attention from one of the farthest stalls. She realized almost immediately there was a mother inside that stall, breastfeeding her baby on the toilet. It broke her heart.
Emily was pained to realize a mother could so greatly fear the stigma and criticisms (whether quiet or loud) that come with public nursing, that even with laws to protect her right to naturally feed in many states, she still doesn’t feel welcome enough to care for her baby where people can see her. A place of isolation and privacy only… a toilet.
She planned to close out this year’s World Breastfeeding Week in a very special way by hosting this museum presentation by Leilani Rogers, an Austin photographer and founder of The Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project. The exhibit called “Cradle Me Here” featured mothers nursing their babies and children throughout the museum on demand –“live breastfeeding art,” if you will — in response to a need, just like they would any other day or place.
Emily wanted us to know how thrilled she felt to host the event for us and that the museum not only welcomes breastfeeding mothers and our “SO beautiful babies!” but cherishes and respects us, too. After all, the museum board is on track to refocus what their education is “all about.” Now the museum touches most upon “the things that make us human,” and recognizes breastfeeding as one of the first major (and most normal) impressions upon childhood and lifelong physical and emotional health.
Despite all the attention given to those who just don’t “get it,” many people like Emily and Leilani do commiserate with the plight of a publicly breastfeeding mother. I myself have endured a few disappointing experiences breastfeeding in public (read about two here and here), but I’ve enjoyed some memorably positive ones too.
By sharing a few personal stories of positive NIP experiences, I hope that any mother who fears or hesitates to feed her child in public may be encouraged to do what she feels is best for her child — which will never be, at any age or level of publicity or food type, to serve him a meal on the toilet.
“This is not child abuse, this is child care.”
So we heard on Good Morning America. But what did everyone else have to say about the woman named Jessica Anne Colletti who proudly shared the basics of her special infant feeding arrangement with a close friend?
She started watching her friend’s 5-month-old son when his mother went to work and he no longer tolerated the formula she’d provided for him in her absence. So she offered to nurse the baby as well as her own then-3-month-old when she was tasked with their care.
Both women had discussed and agreed to the idea and it allowed the working mother to breastfeed for 9 months. The mothers publicized their situation to raise awareness of this option that continues to work well for their families.
The mother shared a photo of her and two nurslings, one of whom is her friend Charlie Interrante’s son, on the Facebook page for Mama Bean Parenting with the caption:
“My son on the right is 16 months and my friend’s son is 18 months. I watch her son while she works and have been feeding them both for a year! So much love between these milk siblings, it’s a special bond between us all.”
And then… the internet exploded in a firestorm of hatred and disgust!
Before tackling that, let’s get our definitions straight. (For the purpose of this post, I’ll refer to these interchangeably as “wet nursing”):
Wet Nursing — the complete nursing of another’s infant, often for pay.
Cross Nursing — the occasional nursing of another’s infant while the mother continues to nurse her own child, often in a child care situation.
Here are 9 perspectives (paraphrased) seen repeated on every thread that shared this story, making it even more difficult for us to understand and appreciate the concept of wet nursing:
Way to try raining on our parade with something other than, you know, breast milk — which would’ve been very welcome this week!
There’s a piece circulating on the internet, made popular recently due to the fact that it’s World Breastfeeding Week and August is National Breastfeeding Month (let’s call these WBW).
Many people (even those who aren’t breastfeeding) have been celebrating in different ways. Some haven’t been celebrating because they had no idea it’s a week and month designated to breastfeeding. Or they do know but don’t really care.
And then, some are actively NOT celebrating because they do know and they do care. So much that they publicized their refusal to celebrate. One author who goes by the name of Dr. Amy Tuteur did just that. (Edit: Originally I linked to her full article, but I’m sure it’s received enough clicks at this point).
Now a few quotes from Dr. Amy’s article and what I think she needs to hear in response:
If you never see breastfeeding, you’re missing awareness of a few things, or a true understanding of the whole thing — just like I was before I eventually saw it.
This way of child nurturing is so natural it can easily blend in with everything else we attend to in our domestic, professional, and social lives. But blending in is not equal to disappearing.
If you never see it, you may not know it’s how many women learn to become mothers. You may not know it’s how they continue to learn about who they are as mothers. So we must make a point to not let the image and act of breastfeeding disappear.
This was my job as a mother to an infant: to nourish and love and protect my baby. Usually I could do all three with one tool… breastfeeding. During MaiTai’s infancy, it seemed breastfeeding was the best answer to almost anything.
Hungry? Nurse. Thirsty? Nurse. Overtired? Nurse. Bored? Nurse. Hurt or sick? Needing closeness? Feeling affectionate? Nurse, nurse, nurse. Of course, other types of attention and problem-solving were plenty helpful (looking at you, Sofie the Giraffe), but nothing quite like offering a breast in those early months.
In “My First Year of Breastfeeding”, you can read about how we managed from the first feed until the first birthday. I also posted a child-led weaning series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) where I explained the whys and hows of nursing beyond infancy, sometimes known as full-term breastfeeding/natural-term breastfeeding (I avoid the label “extended-term” because it’s a sustained practice rather than an addendum).
Here I’ll share what’s changed (or not) in toddlerhood nursing from the earliest days.
A historic moment witnessed today: Same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states of the U.S.!
Now that I’ve cried all my happy tears, I’m thinking back on the great struggle it took to get us here. A stigma still exists against same-sex couples adopting, for instance. But same-sex couples know love is love, and many of them wish to share that love with families of their own.
Have you given much thought to the issue of infant feeding by same-sex parents? For the vast majority of babies, breast is best. And the vast majority of all couples, regardless of sex, want the best for their babies. So how does that work — is it even possible?