We need to open an honest dialogue about the first raw days of new parenthood and how we can help each other through it. That can start by acknowledging the offensive and hurtful things we sometimes say to each other.
"What nobody made clear to me was how difficult it might be to actually have children if I waited too long. At age 39, no husband in sight, I decided to conceive on my own. Somehow that decision sent a message to the universe because my husband showed up a few weeks later."
This week, a widely reported sibling study by Colen and Ramey concluded that breastfeeding has "no effect" on "child well-being." But, what's the truth here?
No one should ever feel embarrassed or ashamed to feed her baby in a restaurant or mall. Moms should feed their babies anywhere they like.
When my newborn daughter came home from the hospital, her weight dropped because she was not receiving enough milk from me. I felt utterly helpless because my body was not able to do the one thing I most needed it to do: supply nourishment for my newborn daughter.
What the Golen/Ramsey study shows should not be controversial. It's proof that whether a woman chooses, or is capable of, feeding a baby from her breast is not what defines her as a mother.
If we are going to create a place where all of us can feed our babies without fear, then we need to stand together and say out loud that we are stronger than the voices that try to cover us in shame.
How is it that a woman breastfeeding her child is responsible for the feelings and discomforts of other grown people?
I do wish I had realized that just because something is biological or natural, doesn't mean it comes without struggle. It's such a simple thought, but I think it was lost on me in those early days when I was short on sleep and high on anxiety.
I was proud to work to require insurance plans under the ACA to cover services vital to new mothers, which include access to breast pumps, as well as lactation support and counseling. Unfortunately, TRICARE, the health insurance provided to members of the military and their families, does not cover some of these same critical services.
It doesn't make headlines, but every year 800,000 children under five die because of poor breastfeeding practices. Scientific evidence about breastfeeding's extraordinary benefits continues to grow.
All those people who said, "Don't worry, your baby will be sleeping through the night soon enough!" have been lying to you. Or maybe they've blocked out their own sleep deprivation memories like childbirth because the pain is just too much.
We all need to be ready to throw ropes to other moms when we see them struggling; we are, after all, the ones who know how long the rope needs to be to reach them, because we have been there.
By now I've learned that other people's comments are inevitable, and that they really don't matter. But here is what does: My daughter is healthy. My daughter is thriving. My daughter is dearly loved.
The learning curve of parenthood is steep. There are too many things that we're supposed to know, and not enough daylight hours in which to learn them.
What your post-pregnancy body weight comes down to is taking a healthy approach that caters to you and your baby's needs. Regardless of your timetable, here are breastfeeding perks and basic tips for your post-pregnancy body,