Today is the first day of World Breastfeeding Week, and so it is with great pleasure that I kick off API’s World Breastfeeding Week celebration with API Speaks’ very first giveaway! Read on for contest entry details!
Why Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week?
I believe that the breastfeeding support I received when I was a new mother from the wonderful women of Peaceful Baby and Cherished Children API, and great online resources like attachmentparenting.org, La Leche League, Kelly Mom, and AskDrSears, was critical to my breastfeeding success.
I started out, like so many new and expecting moms, with very little knowledge of breastfeeding. I was breastfed for about six months, and the few things I’d read indicated that trying to nurse for a year was an admirable goal. So that was my intention–to make it to a year–when Gabriel was born four years ago. Then I met someone who was breastfeeding a toddler, and talked to someone else who had tandem nursed her children for quite some time, and I started to think maybe I should adjust my goal.
I was one of the lucky folks who had no problems nursing beyond some very mild cracking, easily rectified with self-care, in the first few weeks after Gabriel was born. Even my emergency c-section did not affect my milk supply (despite dire warnings from my OB). So Gabriel’s first birthday came and went without any thoughts of weaning.
Then along came Lily, and again, I had my goal in mind. I’d nurse her for two years, as UNICEF recommends. By this time, Gabriel had weaned (never a comfort nurser, he was pretty put off by my lack of milk during pregnancy and only nursed occasionally after Lily was born and my milk returned), so I never really experienced tandem nursing in the true multiple-feedings per day for both children sense of the word.
In May, Lily’s second birthday passed, and again, no signs of weaning 😉 We have some boundaries set around night nursing (so mama can get some sleep) and around nursing in public, but for the most part, she has full access to the breast and still nurses 4-6 times per day, more when she’s teething, overstimulated, sick, growing…
Now I’ve been nursing more or less continuously for what will be four years at the end of next month. I feel so grateful for the women who have taken this journey with me (thanks CrunchyDomesticGoddess, A Mama’s Blog, Feeding Time at the Zoo, and many others who are not bloggers!), and know that I wouldn’t have made it through Lily’s marathon nursing sessions without that support.
So celebrate World Breastfeeding Week because we already know breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in life. Celebrate because public perception of breastfeeding makes a huge impact on a new mom’s personal decisions about breastfeeding. Celebrate because we have come so far from the formula craze that began in the 1950s. Celebrate as a confirmation of your commitment to creating a breastfeeding-friendly world.
And celebrate because you never know what just a little bit of support might mean to a new mom. In my case, it helped me become a committed extended nurser and breastfeeding advocate.
How to Celebrate
La Leche League provides the following tips on how to support a breastfeeding mama:
- Give a mother the phone number of an LLL Leader.
- Tell a first-time breastfeeding mother she is doing just fine.
- Bring the new mother a nutritious snack and a big glass of water.
- As an employer, accommodate a mother’s need to pump with a private comfortable space.
- As the baby’s father, intercede with family and friends so that mother and baby can feel confident.
- Write to legislators to support the enactment of laws supporting paid maternity leave and mother-friendly workplaces.
- Contact an emergency relief organization and request training to help in emergency situations, especially in breastfeeding support.
- Take care of your health and nutritional needs during pregnancy and lactation.
- Set up or join a network of lactation experts in your community.
- Provide transportation to a mother to attend an LLL meeting or visit a lactation consultant.
- Advocate for legislation that enacts the provisions of the WHO/UNICEF Code of Marketing.
- Ask for support and offer support to others.
Check back all week long as API Speaks features guest bloggers and other breastfeeding-related posts during World Breastfeeding Week! And don’t forget to visitor API Speaks Contributing Editor, the Crunchy Domestic Goddess’s great WBW giveaway for more chances to win great breastfeeding books!
And finally, the Contest Rules
Simply comment on this post and you will be entered to win a copy of LLL’s seminal book on breastfeeding: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. If you’re a blogger, give this contest a mention, note that in your comment and you’ll get an extra entry in the prize drawing. Non-bloggers can get an extra entry by going to API’s home page and subscribing to our monthly eNewsletter–make sure you mention that in your comment! Winners will be announced in Friday’s WBW Wrap-up! Don’t forget to check out the other great giveaways on Bloggy Giveaways.