Don’T get ready for your company. Don’t change out of your pajamas. Don’t brush your hair. Don’t do anything to indicate that you are not where you really are. So, they come in and see that you are in your pajamas. They know that she just got out of bed or are on your way to bed.
A bereaved mother, Midwife Assistant, Doula, Certified Dancing For Birth™ instructor, Arizona Breastfeeding Bag Project Volunteer, East Valley Birth Circle regular, etc. etc for natural birth/parenting community groups; she grew up around bottle fed babies and yet when her time came she felt a strong instinct to breastfeed. That was almost 11 years ago and she’s since clocked 7+ years breastfeeding 3 children! The breastfeeding relationship has been a very powerful dynamic in her life and she feels compelled to help spread the word to others about the benefits to both babies and women’s and families whole-health.
Darcy grew up in Phoenix, AZ in a town called Maryvale. She was born at St. Joesephs Hospital in the late 70s Her parents were from Bisbee and they lived in Bisbee and Phoenix and then moved to Sierra Vista when she was born and settled down there. She had a wonderful childhood with a large extended family. She loved babies and little kids all her life and spent a lot of time babysitting. All these kids were bottlefed and this was the norm for her.
She did somehow know though that when she was young she wanted to have children. She is reminded by family members that she use to always say that she always wanted to have a big family. Darcy told us that she always knew she wanted to help people. She is happy that now she gets to do that as she feels it is such important work.
Her first baby turns 11 in August. Her second living child turned 4 this Spring and and she also has a 19 month old nursling.
Her second baby, Lukas, was born still on May 31st, 2011
Darcy knew she wanted to follow her instincts. She looked out at what was going on in the world and she knew that she was just going to do her own thing. To her surprise, the breastfeeding did not turn out to be what she had imagined it would be.
How did she imagine it would be?
She thought the baby would go on the breast and some kind of valve would open up and it would just pour into him. It would sit in his belly and he would be satisfied for hours, just like it feels for her when she eats. Darcy realized quickly that this is not how it works. She had no breastfeeding background and the first few days were very awkward. She felt modest and had some inhibitions and it was not easy with family members around. So she went into the nursery and would sit there and hear all these adult conversations going on in the other room. She would wonder how long her baby would take to eat, so she could go out in the other room. It felt like a lot of pressure. You have to feed the baby and be there for the baby and then share the baby with the family. She was given a clock by her mother-in-law, however, this did not make things any better. She said: ” I am in the room by myself, I would feel isolated. You just watch the clock and see that you have now been in here for 20 minutes They are going to leave and if I don’t come out they won’t even get to see the baby.”
The early days were difficult trying to figure out how she was going to honor her instinct to be a mother, and honor her babies need to be fed and cuddled, while honoring her family because they love him and want to connect with the baby also.
Friends and relatives with us while we are breastfeeding.
We are not use to sitting around with our family and friends and breastfeeding a baby. Even if we are not shy, it is still odd for many of us to bare our breasts and sit in front of others with them watching us figure out how to position ourselves and latch our babies on. So, we wind up alone in another room, feeding our baby and wondering how long this feeding is going to take. As a doula, Darcy prepares the families that she work with for the early days of breastfeeding. She feels this is a huge hurdle with many moms. Some have blended families where it might be a step dad and perhaps she is not as comfortable in front of him watching her breastfeed. Because f her own experience and what she has observed with other families, Darcy understands the important of moms thinking about how they will respond to family memories during this time period.
Darcy acknowledges that while she has an awareness now and works hard to prepare the families that she works with for this time period, she did not have the insight at that time. She had just given birth and was hormonal and says that 7 years later, it all makes sense, but it didn’t then.
Specific challenges with early latch:
She had a friend who was her guru for her birth. She had a baby a few months before her, so she was helpful to her. She called and offered to come over and check on her. Darcy was grateful for her help. Her friend made some observations and gave her some pointers which helped her a lot. She invited her to go to a La Leche League (LLL) meeting and she was grateful for this suggestion. Darcy described that meeting as mind blowing. She watched toddlers running around and hopping on their moms lap for a feeding or comfort. The message that she got from this meeting was that she could do anything she wanted with breastfeeding. There did not have to be specific rules around how you feed your baby, how long you feed your baby. The message she took away from this meeting is that you can give yourself permission to do whatever you want to feed your baby. Right in front of her were 20 different examples. She just kept at it, working on breastfeeding, each feeding trying and gradually finding her way.
She has a background in social science and she loves observing people. She realized that it was new and not something she witnessed everyday. Darcy took it as something very beautiful happening. She admits that she never had any intentions of having a toddler nursing. She was of the mindset that when her baby gets teeth, she would be done. Darcy laughs about this now as she now understands how breastfeeding works and that most babies are not biting down/chewing to feed, like they do when they are eating solid foods.
She also did not want to be one of those moms that when the baby can come up to you and pull up your shirt and want to eat. When that happens, we will be done. However, her kids start to walk at 10 months and she realized quickly that – there goes that idea! We get pretty good at eating our own words. Our children will come along and prove us wrong every time!
Her husbands role:
You get really thirsty when you sit down and breastfeed. As soon as my husband would walk to the other side of our townhouse, I would always call out for him that I was thirsty and needed some water. he would joke that he was the water boy. Other than supporting me with, I need a diaper, I need water, it was really all me – just breastfeeding. He did have to find alternatives to feeding when she went back to work as her baby was not interested in drinking from bottles.
Breastfeeding her other 2 babies:
She says that with her 3rd baby, who was a rainbow baby, she was that much more vigilant. She was a home birthed baby, born in the shower. It was a big and beautiful walk in shower, with a midwife in attendance. I ended up kneeling down in the shower, there was no water running, however, there were hands waiting to catch her.
Breastfeeding was very good. The labor was long and she was really tired. Darcy remembers waking up in the early morning hours and feeding her and remembers thinking… how long are you going to take to feed. Darcy finds that massaging her breasts helps the feedings be quicker.
She did have mastitis a few times and talks about how uncomfortable this was. She noticed that a delay in feeding her baby is one of the situations that caused this to happen. We talked about how mastitis negatively affects breastfeeding and makes it more difficult. Darcy reinforced the need to be aware of taking care of yourself and your baby first.
Don’t get ready for your company. Don’t get dressed. Don’t brush your hair. Don’t do anything to indicate that you are not where you really are. They see you are in your pj’s and this sends an obvious message that she is not prepared for company.
Research safe co-sleeping – Resting and being rested and present for your baby is a huge part of being able to breastfeed your baby for as long as you want to do that.
Volunteer and work activities:
East Valley Birth Circles – monthly meetings with other parents and ask all your questions.
Arizona Breastfeeding Bag Project – distributes information and products that is going to help families meet their breastfeeding goals.
Dancing for Birth – This was a program created by midwives. If we move during labor, we are creating a bigger outlet for our baby to come through. Staying vertical when you are giving birth and allowing gravity help you. Tapping into the old ways of how things were done. Reminding us of what we already know. Helps moms feel stronger, get back into shape. Learning that we have transformed into a whole new person.
It is based off belly dancing which the philosophy shares that belly dancing was originally created for women where they were hanging out and singing and dancing and sharing wisdom of how to have babies. It was about moving your body in that region of your body in these circles. These are dance moves that support good positioning for your baby. Postpartum these help with movements that strengthen your core and help with your pelvic floor.
Darcy is also attending births. She is birth companioning. She wants to be free to companion women how to birth however they want to. Indie birth that is head quarted in Sedona and I have been listengin to the work that they are doing. She continues to evolve and learn
What does Darcy really love about breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding takes care of so much. I still breastfeed my daughter who is 4 and the way that I can comfort her and solve a fight with my breast, I can take care of a tantrum. There is so much power at the bosom. It keeps the whole family at peace. You can diffuse a tantrum and the rest of the family does not have to dwell in that environment. For moms – It helps them settle down and relax also.
Darcy’s contact info:
You can text her at: 602-402-0855
Facebook – www.facebook.com/darcy.newlin
Email – [email protected]
Dancing for Birth
Website with evidence based research about biologically normal sleep for human babies.
James McKenna’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory
Podcast on Bedsharing
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