Who are the jerks? Well…

I recently read an article titled, “Should We Stop Acting Like Breastfeeding is a Big Deal?” It’s an intriguing question and a well-written article, and when it was posted on the Best for Babes Facebook page, it sparked some interesting conversations. From the comments, it seems a lot of women have only experienced positive, open-minded breastfeeding support, which is AWESOME, but left them wondering why this was even an issue. One comment that jumped out at me was:

Just to ask a question: who ARE those “pushy rude judgmental” people?

*Raises hand* Reformed, pushy jerk here. Truth: I once was a BA (breastfeeding a-hole).

I used to be one of those hyper-judgmental women who thought breastfeeding was the only way to go and formula feeding was bad, mmkay? Then I had a kid, started my own breastfeeding journey, became an IBCLC and realized how wrong I was (I plan to write a more nuanced post about my evolution as a breastfeeding advocate at some point in the future). But, my point is that there are people out there who are more “strident” in their support. I think they are the minority, thankfully; also, obviously it’s not just on the breastfeeding end of the feeding spectrum that you see this level of “enthusiasm.” (Using euphemisms and quotations to avoid making overt negative statements about passionate activists – negativity never keeps the conversation going!).

Me, in the middle of my evolution
Me, in the middle of my evolution

I did see the author’s point that widely publicized incidents of nursing in public (NIP) issues may scare some moms off of NIP or breastfeeding in general; in my personal experience I’ve had mom friends say that very thing. I don’t think that’s a reason to stop the advocacy efforts altogether; as another commenter posted, we don’t want to leave the mom who was harassed while NIP hanging in the wind! Maybe we need to get more creative and find additional ways to make the point that nursing in public is not a crime?

HOWEVER, I do think there most definitely is a place for breastfeeding advocacy, as we still have a LOT of work to do to make this biological norm the cultural norm as well.

Breastfeeding Management: It’s so much more than just the latch

Love this…breastfeeding support needs to be holistic and not just focused on the mechanics of breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding Medicine

Breastfeeding initiation and the period of the first month after birth for the mother and infant can often be complicated by medical and psychosocial challenges which may be difficult for lactation specialists alone to address. In a published article in March 2014 in the Journal of Human Lactation, we describe an integrated mental health approach which we have coined the ‘Trifecta†Approach’ as a model of breastfeeding management. († We borrow the term Trifecta which is a betting term for predicting 1st , 2nd and 3rd places in a horse race. It is also synonymous with the likes of winning an Oscar award for a movie). Our breastfeeding consultation clinic developed a multidisciplinary team comprised of : 1) a pediatrician specializing in breastfeeding medicine (myself), 2) a lactation consultant (nurse with IBCLC), and 3) a clinical psychologist specializing in infant mental health and child development.

The Trifecta The Trifecta Conceptual Model

The lactation…

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Repairing the relationship at night

Repairing the relationship at night

My son and I are very much alike in personality. Too much alike, sometimes. We are both ridiculously stubborn (him because he’s 3, me because I’ve been doing it for 32 years). We both assume we are always “right” and know what’s best. We both like to “win” and hate giving in. Throw in my pregnancy hormones and his immature reasoning, and…yikes.

So what do you get when two stubborn people are together pretty much 24/7? And one of them is working on learning common sense, and the other is a small child?

You get tears. And frustration. And anger, annoyance, rage, whining, pouting, door-slamming, toy-throwing, mean-mugging, and a less-than-enjoyable day.

It’s not always like this; otherwise I’d probably have myself committed. Usually we get along famously. But on Those Days, where everything is a challenge and I struggle to stay polite in my words, I start counting down the minutes until Dada gets home from work. Then, at least, the two of them can go play their rough-and-tumble games and I can get a little time to myself to decompress (even if it is over the stove while cooking dinner).

On Those Days, I often skip out of story time. Dada does all the reading anyway; I just lay there and sometimes get a cuddle (or an elbow). More alone time = WIN.

But no matter how bad Those Days are, I always lay with him after story. Dada get his kisses and hugs, shuts off the lights, makes sure Bumblebee nightlight is activated, turns on the Avengers spotlight so Iron Man is on the ceiling, and then Colt and I lay together.

repair relationship

It’s a holdover from our nursing days, when I would often nurse him to sleep. When we stopped nursing, we transitioned to cuddling before bed. It’s my favorite thing. Especially on Those Days.

I always seem to lay with him longer on days that were particularly bad. If I give him a kiss or move slightly, he whispers, “Can you lay with me a little bit?” It’s like we both realize we need that quiet time together to sort of “mend” the relationship. Sometimes I leave before he falls asleep. Often on Those Days, I stay and watch his eyes flutter as he fights sleep. I get to see when they finally close, those gorgeous long lashes sweeping his soft cheeks. I hear the pattern of his breathing slow and deepen. I look at his angelic, sleeping face and my heart feels like it might burst. All the icky stuff of the day melts away, and all I’m left with is the love.

I treasure those nights. I know there will come a time when he won’t want Mama to lay with him. We’ll still have Those Days, but we’ll figure out another way to mend the relationship. Until then, I will savor our quiet moments at night together.