Salt Lake City Based Photographer Timbra Wiist owns/operates Landslide Photography & Photographs the Journey of Motherhood (see bottom of page or sidebar for more info. . .depending on what this blog is choosing to do for the day).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Making it easy for everyone to nurse: Carnival Day 2

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about baby friendly communities. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st! 

Let me start by saying that my experience with early nursing varied SO greatly with my two daughters merely because they were born in two different countries. My first daughter was born in a country where women publically nurse. . . . older children. . . . and talk about nursing. . .two children AT THE SAME TIME. And I did not value this way of life, of mothering, of focus on breastfeeding, and never letting babies cry. I thought it was backwards, and I was going to stick to my "American culture" by doing it the "American way." I was going to nurse my baby for 6 months, I was horrified at the ideas of nursing older children, tandem nursing, or having my baby (kids) sleep with me past that same time period. Kids should be told NO and they should learn to self soothe and they shouldn't always be picked up. And then, at the magic SIX MONTH mark, our family moved back to the US, and still, I was seeking a group of mothers who were counter-culture, but this time, they were counter-culture to the American way, and in so many ways, mirrored the mothering ways of the country I'd just left. Funny the journey motherhood takes you on isn't it?

And the reason I share some of that background is because when breastfeeding started to become an important part of my life, when sharing breastfeeding information, educating women on the subject and myself as well, all became part of my LIFE, of my MOTHERING and of my PURPOSE. . . . I realized that positive things about breastfeeding that had been said to me, the gifts of encouragement that I hadn't taken to heart in the moment, the little reminders along the way that I was a loving mother to my baby girl.

When my daughter was just DAYS old, we happened upon a group of friends sitting in the park, while walking home. All were mothers, veteraned mothers, of multiple babies. When they saw that my little one was crying and wanted to nurse, they invited me to sit with them for a while and nurse her before continuing my walk home. I declined . . . I had been nursing this baby only a few days, it was not yet something SUPER comfortable or normal for me. . . but I did end up CARRYING my 6 day old baby half a mile home instead of leaving her to cry in the carseat/stroller. On another occasion, a friend told me that I was "so smart the way I breastfed my baby," because I would sit cross legged and prop my arm on my leg and my baby's head on my arm (in such a way that I didn't have to just hold her suspended, tiring out my arms and back, etc). I'm not sure now if she was complementing my "form" because she hadn't done the same, or because I was "kaivalagi" and she didn't know American women knew anything about breastfeeding (if that's the case, so sad that in the eyes of other cultures we have lost the ART of breastfeeding as American women). Thinking back on that invitation and then that comment, these were all building blocks that made it easier for me to nurse in public.

Then I joined a community of breastfeeding advocates. Of LACTIVISTS. Of women (and their families) who don't just want to normalize breastfeeding, but want to make it "ho-hum ordinary." And the knowledge and understanding and encouragement that I have felt during these past 3.5 years as part of that community, have made it easier for me to nurse in public. To want to pass that image on to my daughters, my family, my husband's family, my friends, younger women I might mentor and even mothers I do not know.

And so perhaps it is not the location, or the staff, or the accomodation that makes it easy for me to nurse, but it is the knowledge that by nursing my babies where others MIGHT see, I am saying that this is important, so important, important enough for me to do without worrying what others might think. I am not nursing to make a statement, I am not publically nursing to offend, I am publically nursing because, for me, and my family, it is NORMAL, it is ORDINARY and it is EASY!!! (And it should be for EVERYONE).

 Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Anonymous said...

Great post! It's so true that knowing that you're normalizing breastfeeding makes you feel more comfortable nursing. The other day I was at the zoo and Peanut was finicky so I decided to nurse her. I almost didn't because I was on the train, but I instantly decided that all those people SHOULD see me nurse because it will make it normal in their minds!

Anonymous said...

I also love how your viewpoint changed as you grew with your family. Excellent! Normalizing is the way to change our culture!

Family of 5 said...

i love about you that you are willing to change and adapt as your family grows and changes. there is always room for improvement, growth, change.

... ho-hum...

Brittany said...

Loved this. Thanks for sharing your experience. The more we normalize and support breastfeeding, the more women will do it.