When I became a mom, I knew very little about the art of motherhood, except that I was passionate about breastfeeding. Growing up, I never knew of nor saw anyone breastfeeding, and yet I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed my babies.
As I think back to the first days of my first daughter's birth, I remember how breastfeeding overwhelmed me. After a highly-medicalized birth in a big Boston hospital, followed by hospital nurse instruction that babies should only need to nurse every two hours, I became deflated, thinking that I wasn't producing enough milk for my newborn. A few days later when the pediatrician said that M's weight was sluggish, I wondered whether I could continue breastfeeding.
And then I got my groove. I found an amazingly supportive lactation consultant who helped me to discover the power of my body and who assured me that it was not only ok, but natural and healthy, for babies to nurse on-demand continuously during their early days.
It wasn't until A's homebirth in January that I fully discovered the power of a woman's body to carry, birth, and nourish a baby without waiting for medical instructions. That life-changing process made me realize how much our culture tends to rely on "experts" for basic health and wellness issues. I shook my head in disbelief at how I allowed my first two pregnancies, deliveries, and early breastfeeding days to take place under the watchful eye of interventional medical professionals.
I am extremely fortunate to live in a city where it is not only common but expected that moms will breastfeed their babies and do so for longer than one year. I hope that by raising awareness of the countless benefits of breastfeeding to both moms and their babies, World Breastfeeding Week and other WHO initiatives will continue to help women discover their maternal superpowers.
I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!