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You know how your brain literally shrinks while you’ve got a baby in the womb, causing what’s commonly and oh-so-affectionately known as ‘pregnancy brain’?
Though you might feel like the dullest knife in the drawer for about nine months, the fuzziness does work for a good cause.
The evolutionary view is that the resultant mental fog allows women to literally forget about everything else and focus only on their babies. ‘Pregnancy brain’ also erases traumatic memories of labor and birth so women will be, you know, tricked by mother nature into doing that all over again.
Last weekend I hosted a Peaceful Parenting table for Intact Houston/Intact Texas, local chapters for Saving Our Sons (the not-for-profit organization Peaceful Parenting/Dr. Momma‘s focus on circumcision).
My challenge was to include genital autonomy as one crucial component of the peaceful parenting lifestyle … without calling it by name.
I had spoken with a marketing director at my local Babies ‘R’ Us about setting up inside the store to hand out information. After browsing the Dr. Momma web site, she said she’d love to have us there. In fact, as a company they’re very welcoming toward many of the topics mentioned, she explained. Ones like co-sleeping, breastfeeding (they hold regular classes there for newbies) and child-led weaning, babywearing (regular classes at Babies ‘R’ Us for this too), encouragement of gentle discipline and alternatives to punitive parenting (i.e. spanking and crying-it-out) and so on.
But…(there’s always a but, isn’t there?)
I remember being a toddler. Breastfeeding was nowhere on my radar. At ages three to five (and before and beyond), I had no awareness of any of my peers being nursed at home or elsewhere.
I didn’t breastfeed at age three. I also didn’t breastfeed at age three hours or age three months, not unlike the majority of my generational comrades. My own home was a warm and attachment-friendly one of course, but breastfeeding was never part of it.
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!
I want to tell you I love you. So I say it,
and you hardly look up from playing
with your trucks. My words are hardly heard,
you are so busy. Then soon enough you ask to nurse
on the couch, you request, and we curl up together.
You teach me that actions do speak louder than words.
A few of the comments on a recent reactionary post I wrote are getting… a little out-of-hand, I’d say.
I don’t censor any non-spamming comments on my posts because I find great value in upholding the right to free speech and sharing of ideas. I personally feel that disapproving certain comments that rub me the wrong way could be likened to demanding that a breastfeeding mother throw a cover over her torso and child when in public just because someone can’t handle it.
Now I must learn how to handle things I don’t agree with too, such as antagonistic comments. (A heavy bet that zero of the nay-saying commenters would dare peep a word directly to me if they actually saw me breastfeeding in public).