Breastfeeding is so easy for some...and so incredibly difficult for others.
If - like me - you find yourself in the latter of these two groups, it's possible that you will need more than just your breasts alone to make breastfeeding sustainable.
It could be that you need to seek the help of a lactation consultant, or that you have a thousand questions that you need to find the answers to.
A crucial part of the #NoShame project is to offer resources to moms who find themselves struggling. While I cannot enlist a virtual lactation consultant to visit every single mama in need, I have managed to team up with Lansinoh to ensure that the resources and information available are reaching the moms in need. So if you have a question about breastfeeding, I can recommend visiting Lansinoh's Ask The Expert page, where you have the option to read through past FAQs and even ask your own specific question, too.
Because information is power.
Another important component of the #NoShame project is to encourage and support one another along our individual journeys. Support doesn't come in a neat little tube or package - we can't buy it from Amazon. Yet it is actually all around us, we just need to be aware of it.
For me, one of the most critical methods of support along my own breastfeeding journey has been solidarity and shared experience. I've found a true sense of inspiration and self-assurance just by listening to other mothers' tales and sharing my own.
So when I encounter shaming, criticism or weighted questioning about the fact that I breastfeed my baby in public, for instance...it's the sense of sisterhood that I find in my breastfeeding community that empowers me to nurse on, without shame.
Mama Melissa says:
"With my first child I was the only one in my group of friends that was breastfeeding and always felt the need to cover up. People were always giving me comments to switch to formula in public and they couldn't believe I was still breastfeeding after 6 months."
"Now with my second child (and the support and encouragement of groups like the Mama Bean Facebook page), I feed her openly and am proud to do so. I love everything about breastfeeding. My daughter is 10 months old and we have no plans to stop."
I cannot tell you how much it means to me, to read feedback like this. The thought that our community is helping a mom to rise above the pressure to hide herself away to nourish her own child, is nothing short of inspirational.
I started this blog by accident, I truly did. I never imagined that it would grow into this active and supportive global community. But I am so happy that it has. You see, when I write, I am writing to myself. I am writing to new-mom-me, when my daughter was still squishy and my brain was a fog of self-doubt and shock. I am writing to tell myself that I am enough. That I can do this. That there is no shame in breastfeeding my child.
I remember the sneers when I first dared to nurse in public. Sneers. About a mother feeding her baby. It boggles my mind.
And yet even though the sneers were based in ignorance and social conditioning, they were still real. It took me a long time to figure out that those people's sneers had nothing to do with me. They were simply a reflection of their own lack of education.
It took me too long to figure out that Nursing In Public is No Big Deal.
I wish I had been a part of this community that we have built together sooner than it came about. I wish I had read story after story and seen picture after picture of other moms and other babies breastfeeding. In a million different ways, in a million different places, with a million diffiernt struggles and triumphs.
So I am honoured to share these stories, friends. I am sharing them for you all and for myself.
Nurse on, mamas. You're doing great.
Thank you to mama Melissa for allowing me to feature her story in this piece. For more glimpses into real life breastfeeding, join the Mama Bean village on Facebook!
- Do We Really Need To See It?
- 4 Words Every Breastfeeding Mother Needs To Hear
- Why Nursing In Public Should Be No Big Deal