The Beauty and Normalcy of Breastfeeding: Part 1

by Birth Without Fear on August 3, 2011

As many of you know, breastfeeding pictures are routinely removed from Facebook, while raunchy pictures and pages remain. Don’t worry, this isn’t another blog post to bash FB and their policies. While I do not like it and do not agree, I have accepted that it is their site and we are all using it for free. They own it, we don’t. Their rules, not ours.

However, it did get me thinking. This is my blog, I own it, my rules. So, I want to show you have beautiful breastfeeding is and hopefully this will be another tiny tiny thing that will help seeing a woman breastfeed in our society as ‘normal’. Thank you to all the BWF Mamas who sent in their pictures. They are all so great! (There were an overwhelming amount of submissions, so I am doing more than one post!)

Cassie and her son Davey around 20 monthsNursingBWF Mama: “This was taken inside an old cave church in Cappadocia, Turkey.  The sunlight was streaming through a window that had been carved out of the stone and the entire cave was dark except for that beam of light, where I sat feeding my daughter.”

Nursing

Here is Radha doing the “C” hold on her breast while nursing her newborn. It’s extra sweet that he is signing ‘I love you’ with his little hand.

Nursing baby

Brenda nursing Frankie in a wrap! Superstar!

Jennifer breastfeeding her son Wesley at 15 months old.

Melinda nursing her daughter Kaelyn, 34 months old.

One of my favorites. A mama who has true problems breastfeeding, still wants the experience and bonding with her little one, so she is using a SNS to nurse.

You can view Part 2 here.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

mik August 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Love :)

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Brittany J August 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm

<3 the SNS photo :)

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mik August 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I used an SNS to nurse for a while, but zander wasnt having much of it :/ SO THRILLED TO SEE OTHERS WHO USE IT THOUGH 8-)

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MamaPsalmist August 8, 2011 at 1:05 am

I’m a little confused – what constitutes a ‘true problem’ versus a fake one? Are there pretend breastfeeding problems?

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Mrs. BWF August 8, 2011 at 7:57 am

Those were the words of the mama who sent in the beautiful photo.

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Lindsay August 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

I think that far too often people *think* they have low milk supply and that they need to supplement, when in reality their supply is fine and baby is just going through a growth spurt, has a high suck need, or many other normal things that feel like low supply. Sometimes a poor latch can cause low milk supply, and it just requires some help from an LC, not an SNS.

An example of why a woman might truly need an SNS is that she had breast surgery done in the past that ruined her milk ducts and now she cannot produce enough milk.

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Juzza Mumma January 5, 2013 at 4:53 am

I am not sure about the words used here by the mum who sent in the photo but I had “pretend problems” with breastfeeding. The men in my fathers family and my husbands have all been tall and thin at birth and in the months after. I was really hassled by my community nurse telling me he had a range of “suspected health problems because of “not putting on weight properly”. She told me that “a few formula feeds” would make him “normal again”. I am pretty committed to breast feeding so I did not want to instead I sort second opinions from my maternity hospitals “lactation consultant” and my family doctor. My family doctor tested for all the problem that low weight could indicate like urinary tract infections, she listen to his heart (cardio problems), checked his responsiveness and asked me a range of questions about his digestion. She ruled out any problems. The Lactation Consultant checked my latch and a few other things. Both deciding I had a healthy thriving little boy you just didn’t follow the chart (I think the accidental rebellion thing runs in the family too).

I learned too things out of my experience one that giving a bottle to him would not have fixed any underlying problems and two that I was incredibly vulnerable (even if I had always thought of myself of very strong) this woman’s bad advise robbed me of what should have been a happy time with my thriving son – if I had not been so stubborn it may have robbed my son of breast feeding totally.

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nikki August 8, 2011 at 7:48 am

I hate, hate hate that I would not allow anyone to take a photo of me breastfeeding while using my Lact-Aid. I was so ashamed and resentful of that damn bag and tubes. I would do anything now to have photos to show myself, my daughter, and everyone else how hard I worked to keep her at my breast.

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Janie O August 8, 2011 at 8:31 am

I think there are plenty of fake problems – like the moms who supplement because their milk hasn’t come in yet – then are shocked that breastfeeding didn’t work out for them. watch a baby story you can pretty much predict the ones who will still be breastfeeding at the end of the show about 2 minutes in.

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Mrs. BWF August 8, 2011 at 8:47 am

We need to get more info out so that doesn’t happen. I remember not knowing where to turn for help!

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Zanie August 9, 2011 at 11:19 am

Nice… ‘fake’ problems? Who are you you to judge?

I can’t breastfeed because I’m on medication that could kill or cause significant organ damage to my baby. I’m also not keen on telling every single person I meet exactly what type of medication I’m on, so I tell them “breastfeeding wasn’t for us, but isn’t this bean dip delicious?” My sister had a double mastectomy in her early twenties and couldn’t breastfeed either – a fact which she shouldn’t have to share with whoever asks. That’s why when someone says “breastfeeding didn’t work out for us” or “breastfeeding just wasn’t for us”, you should just leave it alone.

We don’t want our birth choices judged? They should stop judging other womens’ choices.

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nikki August 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Uh, that is something that causes you to not be able to breastfeed, period. Do or do not, there is no try, as they say. Some women are still able to breastfeed if they have help in the form of an at-breast supplementer, which we choose to use to maintain a milk supply and a good latch, and avoid pumping, but it’s an incredible amount of work and it’s much easier to just use bottles. Yours is not even the same issue at hand here. But thanks for minimizing the struggle of keeping a baby at the breast…a struggle you apparently have not endured. (When women are told to supplement with formula on day one because there aren’t gallons of milk flowing, that’s a FAKE PROBLEM.)

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Zanie August 10, 2011 at 12:38 am

But my point is that you still shouldn’t judge. You don’t know what else is going on, and a new mother shouldn’t have to explain her entire life history to you. It’s not up to you to decide whether other people’s problems are fake or real.

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Tina August 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Zanie, if that is your pic of the SNS feeding- it nearly brought me to tears. It is beautiful. I really don’t think it matters at all whether you breastfeed or not (did not w/ DD1, am w/ DD2)- It’s the beauty of trying to still establish that connection with your child. Don’t take to heart what other’s have posted- chances are it started out as a genuine concern, not judgement. The fact that you take even more time than ebfers or bottlefeeders means that you are an excellent mommy :) Kudos!

Marisa February 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm

The lady who created this blog said that those were the mother’s words, not hers. She was not judging at all. You should not be so quick to anger. If anything, the people on this blog and website also share your point, that no one deserves to be judged.
Take care.

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susan August 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm

i personally love the sns photo. i am currently using one to feed my long awaited for daughter. i have pcos and liver and thyroid function problems, but love breastfeeding and plan on doing it as long as possible. dd was in special care for severe jaundice when she was born and nurses gave her bottles which she became accustomed to. so after a battle i have managed to get her back on the boob even if i have to have an sns. it makes me happy to see that other people are using them too and takes away some of those feelings of failure. i would love to be able to have the confidence to just put her to the breast anywhere. unfortunately for some it doesn’t come as easy as that even if we want it to be. we shouldn’t judge others decisions cause sometimes it can just cause more pain!

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Utopia August 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

I also had to start out with the SNS. I have very small, flat nipples and my little guy was having a lot of trouble latching on at first. It was a great stepping stone and allowed me to get him my milk (which I was/am seriously overproducing). Now I use a nipple shield and we seem to have it down. I am slowly trying to ween him off of it as his mouth gets bigger and his muscles get stronger.

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Nicole August 26, 2011 at 7:40 pm

@ Utopia, I too used nipple shields for severly inverted nipples. I am so glad you continued to put the effort into breastfeeding. It certainly would have been easier to say “I tried, but it didn’t work” because SNS and shields are a lot of work. Chances are, that as your baby gets older you WILL be able to stop using the shield. I don’t know if you’re seeing a LC, but the first thing you could try is to nurse with it for a few minutes then remove it. If he latches, GREAT! If not, put it back on and continue. Luckily, that worked for me.

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Rose October 5, 2011 at 2:45 am

Personally I love the SNS because of something that happened in my life. When I gave birth to a baby that I chose to place for adoption, I really wanted to find a way for him to get as much breastmilk as possible. The adoptive mother felt the same but, though she had successfully breastfed her 2 biological children and prepared for weeks in advance, she had trouble producing enough milk. For several months she used both my pumped milk and formula to supplement while nursing him. It was difficult and time-consuming (for me, as well, with the pumping) but she has said multiple times that she would do it again and that it was worth every minute. I love her all the more for her efforts.

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Lisa Schneider November 18, 2011 at 12:39 am

the sns pic made me tear up. love it.

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Nichi Hirsch Kuechle January 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm

These are awesome to see…I’ll share the link with my FB page as my clients get empowered by seeing there are lots of ways and lengths to go to if breastfeeding is their choice.

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Olivia January 19, 2012 at 1:19 am

Wow Rose, that is a great story! We don’t hear much about adoptions (except the negatives), it’s so wonderful that it has worked out so well. Although I’m sure it hasn’t been a walk in the park, I can imagine that it is a really positive life experience for all of you involved- rather than the secret, shame induced loss that it was for so many in the past.

As far as REAL BF problems go- I’d have to say I agree with all sides here, and I’m sure if it were phrased differently everyone would also agree. Of course women shouldn’t have to explain their stories and feel ashamed of themselves. On the other side of that, so many women are let down by our culture. When for eg, a woman is encouraged to give formula on day 1, this is a unnecessarily created problem that will complicate her BF experience to some extent. Lack of knowledge about breast feeding in the general community means that women are sitting ducks for getting it wrong. When a professional/grandmother/friend etc tells them they need to give formula- what else will they do? Often exhausted and shocked following birth, & overwhelmed by the responsibility, the last thing they want to do is starve their child! And so the cascade of intervention begins (or continues…).

That is why this site and others are SO AWESOME!!!! We need people to have a basic understanding of these things that ARE so basic. Breastfeeding is tough at the very start AND for the vast majority of women it can be wonderful, healthy, bonding, fun, convenient and easy later on.

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HDKozak1026 May 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I wish I could get my husband to take photos of me feeding Thomas, while he supports me breastfeeding, he thinks it should be done in private. These are such beautiful photos that I want some of me and my baby!

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Sara December 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm

The desire to nurture & how you carry it out is your business. Not long ago I was able to help a new mom get her baby latched on. The LC at the hospital gave her a shield to nurse with and told her she had flat nipples. UGH! Long and short of it, the baby was 2 weeks old, losing weight and sucking through a shield. In less than 5 minutes she was latched on and nursing to contentment. The baby is now 3 months old and mom & baby are enjoying a wonderful nursing relationship!
It is enough to get a nursing relationship going when all factors are working but why on God’s green earth did that LC do that??? I was given the honorary title of Baby Whisperer… I love it! BTW I nursed both my girls and now my daughter has nursed her 2yr old and is currently nursing 7 month old twins, she’s doing her momma proud!

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Melissa December 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I’m so glad you posted the picture of the mom breastfeeding at 34 months. I just stopped a month ago, even though I told others I had stopped months ago because daughters father and other not so close friends seem shocked that I was still breastfeeding after two. It angered me that they thought something beautiful and nuturing was embarassing or ridiculous.

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