Baby Steps Blog

Breastfeeding Communities

I’ve just returned from a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska – my daughter and her family live there. We had a lovely time, and because my grandsons are four and seven, we spend a good bit of time in places where there are lots of families.

One thing really struck me. (Of course you are going to laugh at me – it has to do with breastfeeding!) If I didn’t know you could feed a baby at your breast, I would never know it from my time away.

Why does that matter? Well, we have a breastfeeding initiation rate around 90% here at the hospital in Brattleboro. Sometimes people will say, “Oh, you have made such a difference there.” But I know that my presence at the hospital isn’t the big factor.

It’s healthy, beautiful babies and their healthy, beautiful mommies, out in the community, that make the difference.  At least – that’s a part of what the research says!

Quick – what made you decide to breastfeed? When I was asked this question, I said, “Oh, the health benefits for the baby.” Really? “Well – the allergies thing.” Really?? “No – it was seeing Betty Keate nurse her baby – I was six years old and I still remember how beautiful she looked, and she looked like she was going to eat that baby up!”

Another mom said, “I saw a woman breastfeeding on a bus, and I wanted to do it!”

The research I am thinking about was done in California, with moms who were pregnant and on WIC. You can read about the research here:  http://www.mich.gov/documents/mdch/preference_for_formula_318901_7.pdf

The big surprise in this study was what a difference it made if a mom felt comfortable with formula feeding. If she said she felt very comfortable with formula feeding – that’s how she was likely to feed her baby. Now, I’ve had local moms tell me they felt persecuted when using a bottle in Brattleboro (and that’s a whole ‘nother discussion about motherhood and womanhood and persecution!) – so how comfortable would you feel with formula feeding in that case?

So enjoy your baby, practice breastfeeding in a way that makes you feel comfortable – you can come practice at New Moms Network on Wednesday mornings – and know that you are a Public Service Announcement for breastfeeding every time you show off your beautiful baby – not just when you are breastfeeding!

By the way – I’d love to know your answer to “What really made you decide to breastfeed your baby?” Look inside your heart and tell me!

Email Updates Sign Up

Fill in your email address below to get email updates when new content is posted to the BMH website.

Leave a Reply