This is the beginning of a month long celebration of the joy, the pain, the challenges & the triumphs of breastfeeding. Mother Nature is deeply invested in breastfeeding & we are uniquely designed to feed our young. Breastmilk provides information, not just nutrition- it’s a complex form of communication that is dependent on the endocrine system, the emotional body, the brain and the physical body.
Besides the wonderful life long bond & deeply rooted connection you establish with your baby, breastfeeding also encourages the uterus to contract back to its normal size. Breastfeeding can burn up to 600 calories daily- so you need to eat & stay well hydrated to maximize production. From breastfeeding alone you may lose a pound of pregnancy weight every week. Breastfeeding is also linked to lower lower incidences of breast cancer later in life.
I’d like to honor the serious challenges that can make it difficult & nearly impossible for some women to manage breastfeeding. These are the result of policy gaps & a culture that doesn’t honor women, the sacred birth process, motherhood or women’s bodies. Some of the manifestations include stress and anxiety, challenges at home or work; extended separation of mother & baby at birth; having to go back to work shortly after birth, difficulty latching that results in pain for the mother and frustration for both mother and baby; & low milk production. These issues also exacerbated by existential stress, PPD, dehydration, & poor diet. Engorgement & improper latching are two of the most common hurdles to comfortable breastfeeding.
Many women give up breastfeeding after the first few weeks postpartum due to pain, discomfort & no paid maternity leave. Support and community is key. Having healthy models for breastfeeding and advocates can increase breastfeeding success. #normalizebreastfeeding
- this is Anacan 3 months old -