…Contemplating the Core Elements of a Modern Breastfeeding Lifestyle
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Breastfeeding Success and Gratitude: Priceless

Almost Wordless Wednesday…

I am digitizing over 25+ years of memories.  Today I came across one of my favorite thank-you cards.   The layers of meaning were not lost upon this mother, or me, her lactation consultant.   Tongue-in-cheek, but so powerful.  Her cups, her breasts and both of our hearts runneth over.

There are so  many challenges that face modern breastfeeding mothers; quality lactation support can make such a profound difference.

Your successes are what keep us going.  We are here to assist you.  Getting “feed”-back from families is priceless for those of us who have dedicated our lives to protecting and supporting breastfeeding!

Your positive stories and comments are welcome here.  And…

Don’t forget to let your IBCLC know she/he made a difference for you!

February 22, 2012   No Comments

Conscious Breastfeeding is Integrative Nutrition

Geneen Roth, author of ‘Women, Food and God‘ recently featured on Oprah has a philosophy about food that is very much aligned with Conscious Breastfeeding. She has been teaching here in NYC at Integrative Nutrition and describes why this is a good fit in the video below.

A comment thread to my post: Breastfeeding Relationship Status Update: It’s Complicated made me reflect upon these very points.   Breastmilk technically is a food. The natural delivery system is breastfeeding.  In modern times, the relationship inherent in breastfeeding has taken a backseat to it as a nutritional commodity.  An integrative nutrition view blends these two, the  relationship to mother and spirit with the quintessential food for human babies.

Ms. Roth speaks of  “Looking at food as a way of exploring the health and happiness of our entire lives.”  This is my view of Conscious Breastfeeding.  It is feeding with intention and attention; being fully in the moment and as a consequence developing a very powerful. intimate relationship with your baby that informs every aspect of his/her developing life.

Breastmilk  is the conduit for this energy exchange.  Thus, even when apart from the baby, the expressed milk maintains the connection literally and figuratively.  It is quite understandable that food is often equated with love, especially in breastfeeding circles.

Both integrative nutrition and conscious breastfeeding take a holistic view of  mind, body and spirit in relationship to the experience of eating.  Balancing the sum of these parts can help us to set the tone for health and well-being in our lives.

What do you think?

August 30, 2010   No Comments

Beached Lactation Consultant vs. Baby “Nurse Ratched”

This photo was taken in Ibuski, Japan. I had sought out this detox spa adventure by the sea, but nonetheless felt stressed by the actual feeling of being beached and helpless. The smile on my face belies the sense of entrapment that I felt buried beneath the hot sand. I calmed myself by focusing on the cool breeze and the occasional ships that I could see in the distance.

This image popped into my mind last night while supporting a mom in baby nurse hell. Ironically, she is at the beach this week with her baby, toddler and “nurse” Ratched.

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I felt just about as helpless as I did in my photo listening to her saga of her breastfeeding relationship being continually sabotaged by a superstitious and obstinate baby “nurse”. This mom is being followed around and told her baby is hungry and in need of bottles of breastmilk. Icing on the cake would be comments like, “A two-1/2 month old baby should have formed stools.” In an email where she is sharing her efforts to observe the patterns of her son and focus on direct breastfeeding, the mom writes, “she [the "nurse"] is annoyed and told me she is getting a headache over this-”

I feel a migraine coming on and a panic attack. Is she kidding? How could this mom and baby ever get in synch with one another with this kind of stress and interference. It doesn’t seem to be cost effective on any level to have someone like this around.

I’m about to fly over the cuckoo nest myself if she doesn’t take my advice… LOOSE THE “NURSE”.

Am I crazy?

August 28, 2010   No Comments

A Breastfeeding Photo:Tagged with Love

World Photography Day has been celebrated on August 19 over the past 20 years; it commemorates the introduction of photographs to the public in France on August 19, 1839.   On this day everyone is asked to share their precious moments made possible by the invention of this medium.  It is even easier now thanks to the digital revolution.

This was the first breastfeeding photo sent to me after I began my private lactation consulting practice.   It has hung in my office throughout these past two decades.

We do not see baby Austin’s mother in this shot, but can sense from his calm and  tender embrace of  her bountiful breast, that they are sharing a sublime moment of love.   The focus here is on the experience of breastfeeding.  It was an amazing thank you to receive for helping them to establish this amazing connection.

Fast forward to today…

I  googled Austin and found him.  He’s a college student with an interesting facebook profile who is sharing his life with the world.  Unbeknownst to him, this photograph which was taken when he was one month old will now be entering cyberspace, virtually tagged by his mother’s breastfeeding love.

Have you started your own breastfeeding photo collection?  Is it on or off the Wall?

August 19, 2010   2 Comments

Breastfeeding Office Memorabilia

It has been many years since I first donned this button from the Florida Lactation Consultant Association (FLCA).  I found it doing the August Cleanup suggested by Dr. Jeanette Cates on her blog.

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I wore it on my lab coat while I was the first lactation consultant at a major NYC hospital.  It was a conversation starter.  People were intrigued and wondered what it meant.  The nurses thought it was a great button for me to wear as the representative of breastfeeding on our maternity unit.

I have to laugh as its message was unclear to anyone who was unfamiliar with my passion for breastfeeding promotion and support.  One day on the elevator a man asked me, “Are you a vegetarian?” His companion chimed in, “Are you Hindu?”   My Irish eyes were smiling as I explained to them the meaning of my button.  “Human babies should not drink cow’s milk which is for cow’s.  They should be breastfed by their mothers.”

Believe it or not, not long after that comical incident, I was called into the office of the Director of Maternal Child Health.  She told me that I was offending formula feeding families with my FLCA pin and demanded that I should remove it from my lapel.  I explained  its purpose in detail, but my protests fell upon deaf ears.

It should be of no great surprise that I resigned soon after that encounter to go into a full time private lactation consulting practice.  I figured I would be better able to help new moms and breastfeeding families on the “outside”.

To still keep a foot in the system, I  moved to another hospital to teach all their prenatal breastfeeding classes.   I felt that empowering mothers with information before birth, one of the Ten Steps, would be the best way to set them up for success.

What continues to distress me after all these years is that there still seems to be a need. here in NYC, to temper the endorsement of breastfeeding when dealing with the consumers of maternity hospital services.

You’ve come a long way baby or NOT?

Is this an only in New York phenomena?  Or have you also received  mixed messages about breastfeeding in the hospital or from members of your health care team?

Can you share what approaches helped or hindered you as you began your journey as a breastfeeding mother?

August 15, 2010   5 Comments