My daughter had a strong conversation with me tonight about the lack or pro-activity toward breastfeeding. Women wait to be treated badly or have a law be unfair before initiating an action She said it would be so great to stir women to be strong lactivist long before someone treated them badly. When someone is told that they can not nurse in a store or restaurant, she turns to them and says shove it! I know the law and you can’t make me move an inch!
She said in our childbirth classes we teach women how to stand up for themselves but when it comes to breastfeeding we do not teach them the same resilient attitude. I took offense to her statements and started sharing how I feel in our classes we do arm moms to know the laws and try to encourage her to be her baby’s advocate in the area of breastfeeding rights.
She said she wishes women would sit together at the mall and all nurse their babies in their normal day- without hooter hiders or under a cloak of blankets or heaven forbid in the bathroom. She wishes that there were breastfeeding support group meetings in open places like the CNN center food court!
She feels women fight to have birth centers, VBACs, not being induced or forced into unnecessary cesareans, but somehow we soften our stand on feeding our babies the best way for them and for us. I had to admit she is right in so many ways.
I have women fight for the births they want- move to a practice that will give them the birth they desire, but then the nursing staff comes in and begins to undermine the breastfeeding relationship with misinformation- not enough poopy diapers, got to check blood sugar levels, need to give supplement, take the baby out of their arms to do the procedures that could wait… and the moms hand their babies over. Sometimes they ask for a delay but often times they feel compelled to comply.
I also have women who say no that is not what I want- no if the baby is cold- bring me a warm blanket, no I am not done nursing yet, no I do not want the baby bathed yet, no I do not care how much the baby weighs yet, no I do not want to have the baby supplemented… they understand these things are not benign at all. They demand to be respected and they take responsibility for their babies rights.
How do we arm the women who do not understand the importance of being their baby’s advocate? We need to do nurse ins- yes- but we need to act much earlier to arm women to say no when the laws are wrong, or the employee is misinformed or the nurse gives them misinformation. How do we do that? I am unsure. I teach and I try to teach it strong and powerful so that women will see they have the power to be the best advocates for their nurslings.
So if you want to use a blanket to cover up to nurse your baby- that is fine- but don’t feel compelled by society. If you want to nurse in the middle of Walmart do it! If you want to go to a nurse in to fight an unjust law- do it! But one of the best ways to promote breastfeeding is to make it normal. NORMAL. Something we see being done all the time everywhere! And that also means not under a blanket. This is the way to initiate rather than retaliate.
The way we begin to make it normal is to teach our daughters to breastfeed their babies. The way we do that is to have them breastfeed their dolls! The way we change things it to normalize birth in the media. It is to not buy wrapping paper for the next shower gift with bottles on it. It is to speak up loudly when we are being chastised for nursing a toddler. Just as homebirth is becoming more accepted, breastfeeding will also be more acceptable the more open we are about it.
We need to be more powerful lactivist! And I am glad my daughter challenged me tonight to see that I need to step it up even more than what I am doing now! I would love to hear what you think we can do to change this- don’t post on facebook- post here so it will be shared long before it becomes an old post on facebook. Together perhaps we can make a difference.