As a professional looking to change the breastfeeding trends of our culture, I am constantly questioning what the biggest obstacles are to not achieving our goals of exclusivity, longer duration, and public acceptance. It's challenging not only to understand our stumbling blocks but how to overcome them. I have concluded that a breakdown in family community leaves a woman unprepared for specific challenges of motherhood, one of them being lactation but also, a lack of and dire need for a community of women in general. Not only do we moms need to be able to lean on our moms, grandmas, aunts, sisters, cousins, but we desperately desire having friends, peers, even coworkers who will be supportive and who would find ways to encourage our pursuits as mothers. Very few areas in this country nurture an environment of community and unity of like-minded ambitions.
...And so, we look to the Internet! A place of information overload and tons of "friends" across seas and countries; the internet is the new facet for community. I'm not gonna knock it because, for many of us, it feels like the only place we can go to escape judgment and befriend people with whom we actually see "eye to eye" and can raise our spirits without having to change out of our PJ's! However, not only is face to face contact with others important to our sanity and vital to keep a balance of normalcy and humanity, but it has a much more significant positive impact on how we feel about our trials.Prenatally, it can also help us build the confidence necessary to have the courage just to try breastfeeding our babies. Breastfeeding is daunting, and motherhood itself can be very lonely at times. When you feel like you're on your own, you don't know if what you're doing is right or not and you can quickly lose all confidence in your ability and instincts. You need that person behind you telling you to trust yourself and how great a job you're doing, especially during those hormonal swings and anxiety-ridden nights. In my job, that's where I come in. I am that person to take your 1 or 2 am texts and calls, listen to your fears and frustrations, and turn everything upside down by, not only giving you tips and suggestions, but even more so by being your cheerleader! Every mom needs her own personal 24/7 cheerleader (or even group of cheerleaders). We need to push every state, county, city and neighborhood to create more places in the lactation field for people like me. But even before accomplishing that, we need to unite as women and support each other as mothers. We're all struggling to do this job right; let's come together and applaud one another for putting in her best effort EVERYDAY!!
So, I leave you with this question:
Did you have someone key to your success in breastfeeding; if so, who?
If you're pregnant or planning to become a mom, who would you want cheering you on to reach your goals with nursing?