I've already written about our struggles to initiate breastfeeding and milk supply. To many, the subject is gross, or something they think should be done in complete privacy. In fact, I know many friends and women who feel they need to hide behind closed doors, in back bedrooms, and sit on bathroom toilets to nurse their babies solely due to the fact that family/friends around them aren't accepting or an encouragement when it comes to their efforts to breastfeed. In college, I worked extensively on a project that culminated with the importance of support and encouragement breastfeeding mothers need in order to be successful. In our early days of nursing Bonnie, the support stage was set. It was set beautifully, with great respect, and importance.
It started with how my husband reacted to the crazy amount of time it took to do each feed. Complete patience. So much patience. And, help. Out and about, he'd be sure we brought everything I needed to be most comfortable nursing (boppy pillow in the car for those early days + all things required for pumping). As somewhat of a people pleaser, I hate to inconvenience others! Oftentimes, breastfeeding does just that. I was not expecting the act of nursing to sometimes literally be all we did... all day... every day. Running a simple errand was quite the task! But, through it all, he was so loving. He knew that nursing was my desire and he knew full well how much I wanted to be successful at it for our baby. The way he upheld breastfeeding's importance and significance gave me confidence and validation that this hard work was indeed important and worth the effort.
I am blessed to have a mother and mother-in-law who are also greatly supportive. By simply asking how nursing was going and being present during many a feed meant the world to me. Those 'let's get out of the house days' with my mom were quite unproductive due to such long feeds and newborn needs, but my mom displayed so much patience as we'd roam and shop with many a feeding stop. When out to eat, the following has become a common phrase amongst my entire family, "Let's make sure we go somewhere that is nursing friendly for Jenna and the babe." It doesn't get any better than that. My entire family willing to change plans just so that I can comfortably nurse Bonnie while out to eat if she needs. That's love, folks. That's support. And, that is what makes me feel encouraged in such a difficult task.
My point here isn't to say that everyone needs to breastfeed their babies. It's also not to promote public breastfeeding. I realize that many women prefer complete privacy and struggle to feed in public for many reasons. Ummm, I sure know that it can be awkward. (I breastfed half-way in the hot tub the other day.... yepppp, hello awkard! I had a towel mostly covering, but you get the picture). It's simply to advocate for more support. I've just seen too many moms discouraged, struggling, and agonizing over nursing. And most of all, not feeling supported by those around them. I can only imagine how my own experience would have been different had those around me not been as supportive. Who knows if I would still be breastfeeding Bonnie if that were the case. Support, support, support! Those early days depend on that support from all sides. Hang in there mamas!
Each Friday will be the "Friday Feed." Meaning, I'll do my best to focus on all things feeding related. Breastfeeding, recipes, feeding the soul spiritually... you get the picture! Thanks for reading!