Sunday, June 3, 2007


I came across this "letter to the editor" about the WIC program. It's written by a WIC coordinator in response to an editorial piece she felt was unfair to the program. She does mention the program's efforts to support women while pregnant and while breastfeeding. I felt it only fair to include the link since I had discussed the program previously.

Also, I was emailing with a reader over the weekend, she will be having her first baby this summer and I feel a bit sheepish. Why? I realized that I often talk about how hard the first few weeks of breastfeeding were for me. I was afraid that perhaps by referring to those first few weeks of breastfeeding in such a negative light, that I am unnecessarily scaring new mothers. It's a fine line between being honest to help one emotionally steel oneself and just plain being negative. Yep, the first few weeks of breastfeeding ARE hard, but to be fair, the first few weeks of MOTHERHOOD are hard. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to separate the two so there's no point in determining "who's zooming who??". If breastfeeding were the only thing a new mother had to worry about, maybe breastfeeding would be a piece of cake!

With the 2nd time around looming ahead for me, it's actually sorta nice. I do know without a trace of doubt that no matter how hard it might be, it is totally, completely, and utterly worth it - even if this time is more difficult. I would be heartbroken if it turned out I couldn't breastfeed my daughter. I don't think formula is poison per se, but it was a HUGE relief to me that my son never had a drop of it. It was one less thing to worry about. And all those hours of sitting with him and nursing are precious hours that I will always cherish. Also, I love to travel and as a breastfeeding mother, I appreciated not having to cart bottles and such when we went on trips (my carry-on item was usually ONE bag - that's all I ever needed!) Once he got past the newborn stage, running errands was a cinch - I just always made sure the diaper bag with diapers and a small blanket was in the trunk. The past 8 months or so, I rarely carry more than my son and my small clutch purse around. And speaking of diaper bags, since I don't have to worry about bottles and sippy cups (my son uses straws), I don't need tons of complicated pockets and compartments. It allowed me to get a nice, leather black Coach tote to use as a diaper bag, instead (Coach outlets totally rock, BTW. So do birthdays. Ahem.) It's a bag that I will be able to still use long, long after my kids are out of diapers. For someone like me who adores a nice handbag, it's a little perk that I definitely appreciate because my first diaper bag was chipping away at my soul.

So, yes. The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be rough - I think it does a huge disservice to new mothers to pretend otherwise. But, those first few weeks can also be awe-inspiring. I remember being so relieved that my body stepped up to the plate when needed. I remember being so amazed in those early weeks that my body was providing the sole sustenance for my son. It was crazy to me that when my son was 6 months old and such a little chubby, roly-poly thing that my body was totally responsible for that! And I remember those first initial latch-ons in the first few days before my nipples mounted a rising protest.

Words fail me at how natural it all felt.

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