…Contemplating the Core Elements of a Modern Breastfeeding Lifestyle
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Conscious Breastfeeding: Avoiding Assumptions

Your input… thoughts and questions are invited.

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My friend Chip was an eye-catching man when I met him many years ago. He stood out and was literally above the crowd… 6′ 5″ and elegantly dressed in clothes and shoes made for him in Hong Kong. We have not seen each other for many years. Our paths crossing at that time probably was a subtle catalyst pointing me toward Japan. I visited him there on his own turf several times in the intervening years.

Early in our friendship he had shared a comical story with me. He was born in Tokyo and was an avid runner. He told me that even though their were quite a few foreigners or “gaigin” visiting and living in Tokyo many Japanese still assumed they did not understand Japanese. He told me one day he was running along his usual route and overheard a bunch of runners talking to each other about him. To their surprise… this giant, Chip, turned around and spoke to them fluently in perfect Japanese. They were mortified to say the least.

All of us can get caught in this same trap if we are not careful. We are constantly making assumptions on a daily basis…not all of them serve us.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson says…

“The assumption that seeing is believing makes us susceptible to visual deceptions”

This is so true with breastfeeding. This week I have encountered several different scenarios which illustrate this very point.

The size of your breasts does not tell you anything about your ability to produce milk. It is a function of genes and fat distribution. It is not how your breasts look, but rather how you use them that will impact your milk supply.

Another assumption is that if only one breast is being used to feed you will have an inadequate amount of milk. It just means that if you have one breast activated for milk production and the other is not that you may have a “visual imbalance” in the size of your breasts.

There are women in Vietnam who only breastfeed on one side for convenience while they work in the rice paddies. Mothers of twins are essentially sustaining each baby on one breast. If you have only one baby, you have an extra breast and a surplus of milk. Using only one breast requires that attention be paid to optimizing the latch and removal of milk at every feeding.

Nearly every mother, and most doctors and nurses believe, that what a mother pumps is what her breasts produce. This is absolutely not true. If you are breastfeeding well… the amounts will be much less than what the baby can get through direct breastfeeding. It always depends on when pumping is done in relation to breastfeeding.

If the breastfeeding is not optimized or your baby has a smaller appetite the amounts pumped may appear to be larger. However this volume will diminish over time as the quality of breastfeeding and your baby’s appetite improve.

Don Miguel Ruiz on Page: 78
of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book), reminds us…
“The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions.”

Much of the Conscious Breastfeeding approach is predicated upon the fact that what we see is not necessarily telling us the whole story. Relying mainly on what we see can lead us down the wrong path and cause us to supplement and may lead to early weaning.

As Conscious Breastfeeding mothers I encourage you to focus upon the quality of your breastfeeding connection with your babies and not allow assumptions to guide your experience of Breastfeeding.

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