Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Breastfeeding with Love and Respect: November Carnival of Natural Parenting

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: What Is Natural Parenting?
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and
Code Name: Mama. This month our Carnival coincides with the launch of Natural Parents Network , a community of parents and parents-to-be who practice or are interested in attachment parenting and natural family living. Join us at Natural Parents Network to be informed, empowered, and inspired!

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Breastfeeding with Love and Respect

Kieran was born at 37 1/2 weeks - just past the cutoff line for me to give birth at the birth center. After 31 hours of labor, Kieran was born sunnyside up. We were both tired, and our midwife insisted that we transfer Kieran to the hospital, because she thought he was having problems breathing. He spent his first five days in the NICU, but Tom and I were lucky enough to room in with him.
What we were not lucky enough to experience was an easy start to breastfeeding. Ironically enough, Kieran latched on with no problem less than an hour after birth while we were still warm and skin to skin at the birth center. Once we got to the NICU, once he was connected to machines and an IV and placed under bright lights for most of the day - separate from me - that's when our problems started.
He was diagnosed as a "lazy nurser" with a "bad latch," and my lactation consultant spent hours every day with me - soothing my frustrated tears and helping me position the tiny tube that dripped in the precious colostrum that I worked at endlessly to pump.
My milk didn't come in until day four; two days after Kieran's doctors started putting major pressure on me to supplement with formula. I held my own: we never supplemented, and by the time we were discharged and Kieran was nursing better, breastfeeding had become a symbol of perseverance for me - latching and relatching and pumping and tube-feeding and crying and standing up to the doctors, those things were all a part of me falling fiercely in love with my child.

Just as my body nourished him when he was in my womb, so my body continued to nourish him when he was in my arms. After we got out of the hospital, we finally got into our breastfeeding groove. Kieran loved nursing. He could - and did - nurse for hours at a time. He wasn't interested in anything else - bottle, pacifier, food.
And so I fed Kieran with love and respect.
Kieran nursed exclusively for 10 months, and he still nurses today at 35 months.
Dionna is co-founder of NursingFreedom.org. She blogs about natural parenting and life with a toddler-almost-preschooler at Code Name: Mama. She also co-founded Natural Parents Network, a community of parents and parents-to-be who are interested in attachment parenting and natural family living.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaStop by Natural Parents Network today to see excerpts from everyone's posts, and please visit a few to read more! Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Three of the participants below will instead be featured on Natural Parents Network throughout the month, so check back at NPN!

This list will be updated by afternoon November 9 with all the carnival links. We've arranged it this month according to the categories of our NPN resource pages on "What Is Natural Parenting?"

Attachment/Responsive Parenting

Attachment/responsive parenting is generally considered to include the following (descriptions/lists are not exhaustive; please follow each link to learn more):
    • "Attachment Parenting Chose Us" — For a child who is born "sensitive," attachment parenting is more a way of life than a parenting "choice." Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares her experiences. (@CodeNameMama)
    • "Parenting in the Present" — Acacia at Be Present Mama parents naturally by being fully present.
    • "Parenting With Heart" — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment parents naturally because healthy attachments early in life help our little ones grow into healthy, functioning adults.
    • "Sometimes I Wish We Coslept" — Sheila at A Gift Universe has started to add cosleeping into her sleep routines and has found frequently unspoken benefits. Watch for her post, which will be featured on Natural Parents Network on Tuesday, November 30. (@agiftuniverse)
    • "Unconditional Parenting" — The philosophy of Alfie Kohn resonates with Erin at Multiple Musings, who does not want to parent (or teach) using rewards and punishment. (@ErinLittle)

Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature

Holistic Health Practices

  • "Supporting Natural Immunity" — If you have decided against the traditional vaccination schedule, Starr at Earth Mama has some helpful tips for strengthening your children's immune systems naturally.

Natural Learning

  • "Acceptance as a Key to Natural Parenting" — Because Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog values accepting and responding to her daughter's needs, she was able to unravel the mystery of her daughter's learning "challenges." (@myzerowaste)
  • "Let Them Look" — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy makes time to look at, to touch, and to drool on the pinecones.
  • "Why I Love Unschooling" — Unschooling isn't just about learning for Darcel at The Mahogany Way — it is a way of life. (@MahoganyWayMama)
  • "Is He Already Behind?"Ever worry that your baby or toddler is behind the curve? Danielle at born.in.japan will reassure you about the many ways your little one is learning — naturally — every day. Watch for her post, which will be featured on Natural Parents Network on Tuesday, November 16. (@borninjp)
  • "How to Help Your Child through Natural Learning" — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now offers tips on how to understand and nurture your child's natural learning style. (@DebChitwood)

Healthy Living

Parenting Philosophies

Political and Social Activism


Thanks for posting such a beautiful story of breastfeeding success! I'm still nursing my son at 15 months, despite strange looks and judgmental comments. Reading about other people's breastfeeding experiences, especially positive ones (or those that began negatively and then became positive), keeps me going when things get tough.

It's so good to hear someone whose early breastfeeding struggles didn't result in an early weaning. I would like to nurse my son a nice long time, but there have been times that I worry that he'll just never "like" nursing the way other babies do.

So far, though, he's growing to really love his nursies. Yesterday I was lying on the floor with him when he crawled over and lunged at my chest with his mouth open! He'd never done that before, and I was so happy.

Congratulations on your success! Now is when all that hard work pays off.

I love this post! I struggled with both of mine - the "early" baby for 6 weeks and the full term baby for 7.5 weeks. I completely recall that feeling of being "fiercely in love with my child" and standing up to the NICU doctors.

I love hearing from other mothers who persevered even when nursing wasn't "second nature." My first baby had a long, sunny-side up birth as well and we had a hard time nursing but we never supplemented because our doula and midwives assured us that it was normal for milk to come in on day three or four or five. . . not always right away!

I always love reading stories of triumph over early breastfeeding difficulties. I think they are very important for new moms to hear so they know that, while it's not always easy, breastfeeding can work in the long run.

Thanks so much for sharing your story.

Wow, I have finally heard of another mother whose milk came in on day 4. Whenever I tell people that is how long my milk took to come in, they look at me with horror. "Were you worried? Did you supplement?" I think because I was home without anyone but my husband the first few days, I was able to not worry about it. Our baby seemed satisfied and I knew it could take a while so no biggie. :)

I love how persistent you were! What a great success story and inspiration for moms who have difficulty at the beginning of breastfeeding!

What a beautiful post about the beginnings of your nursing relationship and, really, the love you share with your son! It saddens me a little to read of women having to fight so hard for that relationship, but I'm proud of you for your victory!

1 request - that first pic looks like such a beautiful family pic, but the link pops up the image in that same small size. Not sure if that was on purpose, so thought I'd mention it.

Thanks for sharing! Beautiful!

Hi Dionna,
It's you! I didn't realize you blogged here, too.

I love how you list all those things in bold -- frustration and standing up and falling in love. Welcome to 35 months, and beyond, as long as you two choose to continue. :)


Aw, thanks for sharing your early breastfeeding story. Its so good to hear success stories like this! I also had issues with my milk coming in slow both times (more like 6 or so days, here, and not enough even then) and it was a huge challenge, but we made it through with luck and perseverance. I'm so glad I had good support and stuck with it!

How very frustrating that pressure to stop breastfeeding, or to at least start supplementing with formula, turns up at the slightest hint of trouble. I love your fighting spirit and perseverance!

This is such a beautiful and inspiring post! I love it. I really appreciate that despite the tears and frustration (which I can well imagine), you were determined to stand up to the doctors and persist in feeding your baby. Not every parent would have had the strength, so it's really a testament to your courage and your foreknowledge of how important nursing would be.

It's interesting/scary to note that even a gentle birth-center birth can end up in a non-gentle hospital atmosphere; and very interesting to note that it was in the hospital that all his problems with nursing started. That picture with all the wires — oh, sad! How much does even routine hospital trauma affect nursing, I wonder? Because I know we had a rough start in the hospital, too, and we didn't have any NICU issues.

Maybe it's because I'm pregnant, but that line about "Just as my body nourished him when he was in my womb, so my body continued to nourish him when he was in my arms" is making me tear up. Breastfeeding really is so precious and powerful. Thank you!

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