Sunday, February 26, 2012

I am a Community Lactivist

I believe in breastfeeding both for the healthy growth of a child and the healthy growth of a mother. When a new mother breastfeeds she learns to watch and listen to her child's cues. These simple facial expressions, body movements and vocalizations which trigger our innate response to nurture are the start of a life long conversation.With support the new mother comes to trust her baby's ability to know when they have a need and what it is they need. As she learns she can meet these needs through breastfeeding she gains confidence both in her mothering abilities and her baby's abilities. As she learns to let go of the need to quantify these abilities through weighing, measuring or lines on a chart she starts down the path of mothering wisdom. This path can teach her to relax. It can teach her to rely more on her child's wisdom than on professional experts. It can teach her she is more a witness to her child's life unfolding than a director. She is more an access to the resources needed  for her child to play their unique heart song than the leader of the band. Breastfeeding can be the key to a new way of parenting for life.

It is because I believe this in my heart that I am a Community Lactivist. I express my commitment to all the breastfeeding mothers out there by being an active member of several organizations that support breastfeeding in our community; La Leche League, Birth & Baby Resource Network and Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition. I am proud to say San Luis Obispo has a very high breastfeeding initiation rate. Unfortunately like most of the country there is a steep drop off from the second week to two months. We have lots of support groups and resources in our community and yet women still can't seem to make it through the challenging first six to eight weeks and into the months of breastfeeding bliss. As Lactation Consultant Julie Merrill said at Thursday's Farmer's Market, "It breaks my heart to see so many babies in strollers with bottles." The Coalition has just printed a new breastfeeding resource brochure full of places, people, books and web sites mothers can turn to for guidance and encouragement. Look for their green and white cover around town, at your doctor or midwife's office and baby stores. 
This baby wants all new mommies to have this brochure!

Stepping out of the shadows
Breastfeeding mothers need our support. We need to step out of the shadows and take a stand that breastfeeding is normal; formula feeding is abnormal. Babies need to feed when they need to feed and mothers need to feel comfortable attending to those needs; even in public. This is a national health issue. By continuing to pay money to formula companies we are draining our economic resources, environmental resources and our nations future health. Don't be blinded by the "Well I was formula fed and I turned out ok", way of thinking. Look around you we have an obesity epidemic, while cancer, diabetes, and heart disease run rampant in our nation. We are overly dependent on antibiotics and medications. While these may not be the direct result of formula feeding the studies clearly indicate that all of these could be lessened if we only chose to breastfeed for the first few years of our children's lives. I firmly believe some day we will look back on these years of our nation suckling at the teat of the Nestle Corporation and compare it to the time of America's romance with cigarettes.

Our bodies grow smarter healthier babies.

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. If you see a mom nursing her child, give her a thumbs up and a friendly smile. Each day she chooses to breastfeed she is giving her child a wonderful gift and performing a patriotic duty.

We gave a new meaning to "flash" mob at SLO's popular Thursday night Farmer's Market.An special thank you to Robyn Berry Photography.

Lactivistas come in all ages.
Educating the public on the benefits of breastmilk.

Demonstrating the miraculous work our breasts were perfectly designed to do.
Every baby deserves a booby!
Learning one generation to the next.
 Thank you to the mamas who chose to bare it all last night to demonstrate what breasts were actually designed to do.

Inspiring a new mommy.                BREASTFEEDING It Rocks!
Read about how I managed to juggle working and breastfeeding here.
This month's La Leche League meetings:
Monday, August 13th at 10 am:
Santa Lucia Birth Center 4251 S. Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo
Topic: Nutrition and Weaning

Monday, August 27th at 7 pm:
Santa Lucia Birth Center
Topic: Baby Arrives

Look for Los Osos meetings to start back in September!

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