Welcome to the place where you can easily access TONS of FREE Breastfeeding information and GAIN valuable insight on best tips, how-to’s and “ need to know” about all things breastfeeding related.Please enjoy this All About Breastfeeding podcast with Lori Isenstadt, IBCLC Beauty and the Beast
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Episode 77 Lori talks Beauty and the Beast of Breastfeeding
I thought it would be fun to talk about a subject that is not frequently discussed. The subject being: For some breastfeeding comes really easy to mom and baby and apart from a normal degree of worry and concern about your baby getting enough or is everything going okay, everything is actually going fabulous. This is not what I will be talking about today. This show is about breastfeeding and hard times.
Why? don’t you typically hear about moms who have hard times BF I think it is because as a society we want mothers to have an enjoyable pregnancy and look forward to the times they will be breastfeeding their baby. We want them to look forward to snuggling with their baby, holding them skin to skin, and watching them thrive with every breastfeeding they have with their baby. It is a wonderful and beautiful sight to behold. Believe me, I love nothing better than to see a mom, peacefully, lovingly and joyfully sitting down and relaxing and feeding her baby and getting some of the much needed pp rest she deserves.
It is because of my yearning for all moms who want to breastfeed, to have a positive experience, that I run the risk of being annoying and be THAT person who talks not only about the joys of breastfeeding, but of the early difficulties of breastfeeding. In this way, I can familiarize them with what are the common issues that occur in the early weeks, how to recognize problems, how to prevent them from occurring, and if they do occur what can be done about it.
I hear so often the frustration from many mothers about how difficult breastfeeding is and how they had no idea it would be so hard. If you are a fan of the show and have listened to most of the shows, you will hear that one of the running themes is exactly those sentiments. Almost every guest has shared these thoughts: I just did not really prepare for this. I thought it was natural and that it would come naturally, and when it did not, I was shocked. When it was really hard, I became incredibly frustrated and sometimes depressed. Those are quotes I have taken from some of my guests. Most mothers have no idea that even if it goes well, there is still this huge learning curve and this realization is not comforting to pp mothers. They frequently express feelings of being overwhelmed, angry that they were not prepared and frightened that they might quit as it is just too hard and their problems are mounting.
I am often asked: If breastfeeding is a natural thing to do, don’t moms and babies know what to do? Why do we need lactation consultants to help with breastfeeding. I honestly don’t mind this question at all. I silently giggle when in particular guys ask that question. They really and truly do not understand why a mother would need help with breastfeeding. And I get it! Lots of women think the same.
Well, here is my response: There basically should be no need for me to be in business. How’s that for transparency?
We have taken the normal out of normal. The natural out of natural. And made breastfeeding into something private and hidden and not normal and not natural and hard and difficult and unknown.
Several generations ago, whether you liked it or not, your mothers and grandmothers and aunts and older sisters and other female members of your family, would be right by your side. They walked beside you during your pregnancy, guided you through your labor and helped you with the early days of breastfeeding and postpartum. New mothers were rarely left alone, to fend for themselves. They were rarely left alone to care for themselves and their new baby. They were mothered, taken care of and others around them made sure they rested and were well fed and taking care of their every needs.
New mothers already had an innate wisdom that came from being a little girl, growing up in a household, in a community and being a part of the normal happenings postpartum. They may have been in the same room as their mother birthed, they certainly watched her thousands of times putting her babies to the breast and they watched her care for and snuggle with and hold and wear her baby. More than likely she watched the new baby of the household sleep in moms arms and in moms bed.
This was all normal to her and when it was her turn to give birth and breastfeed, while this was her first time and she had never been down this road herself, it was a familiar road, once that she had seen many times before it was her turn. She already knew the sights, the sounds, the smells of labor. She already knew that babies were fed at the breast and she knew what babies acted like when they were showing hunger cues. A young girl was so use to seeing breasts and nipples all the time.
They were not isolated incidences seen when they were just a young girl. and so when it was her turn to breastfeed, there was so much that was familiar to her, that she didn’t even realize that she knew and it was easier for her to follow her instincts. Most women breastfeeding now, well we have a huge learning curve. for most of us, absolutely nothing about breastfeeding is familiar. By the way, boys were not hidden from this most normal act of mothering and feeding and neither were men. Women openly breastfed their babies wherever and whenever they were hungry. There were no laws saying it was okay to feed in public places. Noone was telling a mom she needs to cover up and noone was telling moms they needed to go to another room to breastfeed.
Generations ago, babies were not separated from their mothers to be weighed and measured and wiped down, and given eye drops and shots and then dressed and swaddled. All these things that are typically done now, literally put a baby into defense mode or shock mode and they tend to shut down and not respond in the way they might otherwise if they were not taken away from their moms for any particular reason in the first few hours after birth. This is another whole subject itself how the birth process and the first few hours have an impact on breastfeeding. I sense another topic for another show coming up…
When mothers are frustrated with breastfeeding and their partners are not understanding why such a natural thing can be so hard at times, I explain all of this to them. I also will usually say, that just because something is natural, does not mean that it comes naturally, or in other words what many people feel, come easily. Yes, babies were born to breastfeed. Women get pregnant and women give birth and both are natural. However, this does not equate with being easy. Most women giving birth, are seen throughout their pregnancy by their HCP. They are given lots of information on how to have a healthy pregnancy and lots of information on how to prepare for the birth. Pregnancy and birth and normal, but not necessarily easy.
Most woman are not alone during this process either as they hired physicians or midwives to help guide them through pregnancy and birth. They discuss many things birth related during their prenatal visits and They take childbirth education classes that could easily be 12-20 hours or more of information on giving birth. Don’t you find it pretty interesting, amusing and sometimes annoying that so much attention is paid to the birth which is relative short period of time and very little is paid attention to breastfeeding, which is an activity that is going to last for many months or even years.
I speak to so many moms pp and talk about breasts sizes and shapes and nipples – flat everted, inverted, very large and meaty, small like the tip of a pencil erasure and anything in between. I have had many mothers tell me that they have not even seen another womans bare breasts in real life. They tell me that they never really looked at and thought much about the shape of their nipples. When I talk to mothers about hand expression, a fair amount tell me they feel weird touching their breasts in such a way and squeezing out the milk. They are not use to handling their breasts except for putting them in a bra.
One of my previous guests Melanie Scholz just cracked me up. You may remember her from the previous episode # 76. She designed the breast bowl and beautiful bowl that you can hand express into. She said to me that she was glad her midwife or doula taught her how to hand express during her pregnancy. Mel said that she had lived with her breasts for 38 years and nothing every came out of them before. She said that it gave her confidence to hand express when she was pregnant as she now knew for sure she had milk for when her baby came. Otherwise, like she said she lived with those breasts for 38 years and nothing like that ever happened before. If you missed that interview go back to episode # 76 as Mel had me doing some belly laughs, which I actually edited out so as not to hurt your ears!
You can begin to see why mothers can be frustrated pp. If all anyone talks about is how great and wonderful and loving and beautiful breastfeeding is… that is the Beauty & you never really hear the hard stuff ( the Beast), you can be quite shocked when your beautiful perfect nipples that you never thought much about before, are now throbbing and stinging and have some cracks in the tissue. When your baby pushes away from the breast or won’t latch on and you can’t figure out why, you begin to get annoyed that noone talked about what to do if your baby cries and pushes away from the breast. Haven’t you felt like that in any other part of your life… where something unexpected happened and you were like: Well, this would have been a nice to know. Why didn’t anyone enlighten me.
Well, I am the one brave enough to share the beasty side of breastfeeding. That is what the AAB show is about. For you to have access to woman, from all walks of life, who run the gamut from – BF went well, but there was still stuff I would have liked to have know. I would have liked to have know that it is not all sunshine and rainbows.. so you have heard from moms who had a pretty good start with breastfeeding , to moms in between, to the moms who had really painful and difficult beginnings. It is all here for you, in the archives and many more interviews to come. I know I wish I would have had access to this info and the moms stories when I was pregnant for the first time. Just knowing that I was not alone, would honestly, have made a huge difference. Even as a student studying lactation, WOW would this have been a huge help for me. To hear mothers share their stories would have been so valuable to me and definitely helped me with my learning curve.
I titled this show Early Breastfeeding – Beauty and the Beast. If you were at all like….. huh? I don’t get it? Hopefully we have come full circle and it all makes sense to you.
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