Perfectly Practical #137 - Sustain Life
And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. - Isaiah 7:22
There is so much emphasis, dare I say, pressure on new moms to breastfeed. For the most part, I feel like most women agree that it is best for the baby and for momma. But what if you can't feed naturally? That's the position I was in when Diva was born.
I had heard all the stories of my family members and how they could have fed multiple babies with as much milk as they produced so it never occurred to me that I would have any problem whatsoever.
And in England, the midwife led system practically forced you to breastfeed whether you wanted to or not. I wanted to, but my body was not compliant.
Here I was, an inexperienced new momma in a foreign country in an unfamiliar health care system with no family around and a newborn who needed feeding and I wasn't getting the job done.
As it turned out, I didn't know from the start that I couldn't feed, only that I had a tiny fussy baby. Knowing how much we all love food around here, we all get fussy when we are hungry so it's no wonder the child was cranky! It was only after our many wellness check-ups for Diva that we realized she wasn't growing and it was due to me not producing milk. After 6 weeks, I was reluctantly released by my midwives (and specialists) to feed Diva formula.
Amazingly enough, she started sleeping through the night, she began putting on weight, and she wasn't fussy; it was like a different baby. All the sweet thing needed was some food in her belly. Bless her heart.
I would have fed her naturally. I would have fed her myself if I could've. I believe the "breast is best" mantra and being fairly competitive yet crunchy myself, I didn't want to give up or give in but at some point, what's best is just getting the job done. Period.
I recently came across this article on how a group of women rallied around a cancer patient they didn't even know to help her in her time of need. No, not to raise money or to do a walk-a-thon or to raise awareness or to wear pink. Instead, they donated breast milk for her newborn baby girl.
What a beautiful way to give. A community of moms blessings other moms out of their abundance.
I didn't have this option and so wish that I would have. Wet nurses were still common as recently as the 40s because again, I've heard the family stories, so why is it not an option today?
I can tell you from being on that side of the very sleep deprived stick, it's not fun being judged from every angle and people telling you how horrible of a mother you are if you're not feeding naturally. And if you are already facing struggles like cancer or post-partum depression, you don't need that extra worry to push you over the edge. You never know on what kind of path someone else is walking.
Breastfeeding is still such a taboo subject and I apologize for any offense but I do find that it is a very important and special way to give. You have the opportunity to sustain life and give those moms who are struggling a little comfort knowing their babies are getting what's best for them. It's a giving 2-fer! You get to bless the momma and the baby.
If you are one of those moms who are blessed with an abundance of milk, please consider donating. You can find information on the Human Milk Banking Association of North America
This is the third in this 30 Day Giving Challenge series. Here are the others:
Give Life - Organ Donation
Share Life - Blood Donation
This is part of the 30 Day Giving Challenge.