This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed from the beginning, but I had very different ideas about it then than I do now. For example, I believed that every woman should cover out of respect to those around her, and I was sure I’d stop when Baby Love got teeth.
Now that I’m nursing my very active toddler regularly in public without a cover, I think it’s safe to say those beliefs have changed! Much of why I was able to adopt what I learned fit me and Baby Love in our breatfeeding journey was the support I found online.
When Baby Love started flailing and pulling and kicking at the cover, and popping off to attack it better, leaving me exposed, I realized a cover was not going to work for us anymore. I was willing to continue nursing in public, even without it, because of many mommy bloggers who had written of how they nurse without a cover as if it was no big deal. Mommy bloggers who have shared their breastfeeding stories have helped me realize there are many women out there who do the things I learned were necessary to make my breastfeeding journey with Baby Love practical and enjoyable for both of us, such as nursing without a cover or nursing beyond one.
While I have long been a supporter of breastfeeding, I had almost never actually seen anyone breastfeeding until I had Baby Love and started doing it myself. Being raised in our culture with the hypersexualization of breasts, and having that compounded by being raised in a religious purity culture, I had a very hard time with seeing others nursing or being willing to nurse in public myself, because it was so ingrained in me that exposed breasts were wrong. I have since subscribed to a handful of Facebook groups which support breastfeeding, and pictures of happy mamas and babies breastfeeding regularly pop up on my feed. This repeated, positive exposure has normalized breastfeeding for me, and made me more comfortable both seeing others nursing and being that kind of model for others when nursing in public.
I have also managed to find my tribe online. Since I have learned (to my surprise) that I am an attachment parent, I was invited to join an Attachment Parenting Facebook group by a friend, and these women are my people. Not all of us breastfeed, but all of us are open to gentle parenting styles and support each other. The other day during a flight delay in a busy airport full of grumpy people I plucked up my toddler from where she was running in circles and popped her on my breast for some nursing without batting an eye or worrying about the thoughts of those around me. I then pulled up the AP Facebook group on my phone and told these women what I had done and shared my pride in it, since a year ago I couldn’t have imagined acting in such a way. The women there understood my pride and celebrated with me. They’ve also supported me when I’m down and offered advice for many issues that respect and embrace my desire to continue nursing Baby Love as long as she wants to nurse. I have yet to find a tribe of like-minded mamas in real life in my area, but this online tribe makes my mothering journey so much easier.
The internet has made motherhood much more challenging in many ways, but it has also made it much more supportive. The trick is to find the parts of the web that support your journey while blocking the parts that do not. I have unfollowed Twitter users, left Facebook groups, and unsubscribed to blogs that are contradictory to my parenting philosophy, because I do not need the stress of regularly hearing how I’m doing it “wrong” in my life. I am aware these other philosophies exist, and I know where to seek them out if I am interested, but for now I have chosen the path I am on and I will follow it happily. I am grateful to the internet for allowing me to reach out and find the supports that do make me a better mother and that support my breastfeeding journey.
I hear people say that friends you meet online aren’t “real”, but the impact women I’ve only connected with online have had on my confidence and my mothering are very real, and I count their friendship as real as well.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today’s participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:
(This list will be updated by afternoon August 1 with all the carnival links.)
- If You’re Worried About Your Kid Seeing Me Breastfeeding, You’re Doing It Wrong — Dionna at Code Name: Mama is living the breastfeeding-as-a-cultural-norm dream. She has first-hand experience that kids, teens & adults who see breastfeeding accept breastfeeding.
- Supporting Breastfeeding Online — Wendy at Breastfeeding Utah reaches out to birth and breastfeeding support professionals who are interested in knowing more about supporting their clients online.
- Breast Friends — Mama Bree, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center, shares a baby’s journey to blissful breastfeeding with a little help.
- World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Online Breastfeeding Support — Other than buying and reading up on books, Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy finds that it is useful to read up on other mums’ breastfeeding experiences and how they deal with their obstacles.
- It Takes a Village… — Meredith at Thank You Ma’am talks about the support she got from her family, especially from her own mom, who is a lactation consultant.
- Community Support — Ashley at ModerationMama tells about her supportive community surrounding her breastfeeding journey, and she talks about the importance of the breastfeeding class she took while still pregnant.
- Finding a Nanny to Be Part of My Village — Before returning to work, Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen, posting at Natural Parents Network, needed to find a trusted caregiver for her daughter. Someone who supported her parenting goals and was ready to become part of a family.
- A Nursey Love Letter — When asked about her nursing support group, KassK of Get Born Tribe surprised herself with the answer: her husband!
- We are mammals. — To be a mammal . . . what does that mean? Practicing Mammal educates us.
- Building a Solid Foundation for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey — Tia at Tia’s Sweeps Go ‘Round shares how she built a strong support network to help her successfully breastfeed her newborn daughter.
- Stubbornness and Support: My Breastfeeding Journey — Diana at Munchkin’s Mommy shares her breastfeeding journey, from unhelpful nurses to a gentle guide, and her sheer stubbornness.
- Looking online for breastfeeding support — The author at “Just” A Mom has found many ways to use the internet to support her mothering and breastfeeding journey, and she has learned how to keep her online experiences positive.
- The Village that didn’t feed — Nona’s Nipples at The Touch of Life explains how our communities influence our choices. She explains how she came to breastfeed and how it was taken away.
- Nursing By Example — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births decided to nurse through a pregnancy and to try tandem nursing thanks to the support from her La Leche League leader and another mother in her community. Read about the resources that were helpful and the lessons she learned on her journey into tandem nursing.
- A Burden Shared: How my IBCLC Lightened my Load — My IBCLC rocks!! smscott at In All Things…One Step at a Time‘s journey would not be possible without a huge contribution of time and energy from her IBCLC. Her difficult times were measured in weeks and months instead of moments.
- Fathers Need Breastfeeding Support Too — Destany at They Are All of Me recalls that the biggest detriment to her breastfeeding success was her husband’s strong disapproval.
- Breastfeeding Support Over the Years — Valerie at Momma in Progress discusses the range of support she received over her seven-year breastfeeding journey.
- Uncharted Territory: Breastfeeding — Michelle at Oh, The Simple Joys describes her change of heart regarding breastfeeding and the kind souls who helped along the way. From thinking formula was the norm to extended ecological breastfeeding, this is her story. Her story also includes breastfeeding after a hospital birth, dealing with inverted nipples, and the lactation consultant who helped to name her daughter.
- Online Breastfeeding Support: Finding Success, Acceptance and Friendships — Author and CLEC Lara Audelo of Virtual Breastfeeding Culture shares how online breastfeeding support changed her entire life, and why so many mothers are drawn to it, rely upon it, and place such value on their virtual mother-to-mother connections.
- Staying Connected—Online Breastfeeding Support for AD Military Moms — Breastfeeding in Combat Boots shares how important online support is to the success of breastfeeding for mothers serving in the military.
- Breastfeeding and Community — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work discusses ways in which community affects breastfeeding dyads and makes suggestions for accepting and supporting nursing as normal and necessary.
- World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Community Support — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy has been breastfeeding NON-STOP since 4th March 2009, the day her first child Benjamin was born. Jenny shares who has been in her community of breastfeeding supporters.
- Oversupply as a Blessing in Disguise: Milk Sharing and Wet Nursing — Tooele Birth and Breastfeeding, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, tells how she ended up donating breastmilk and wet nursing several babies. She shares the benefits from both a recipient and a donor.