This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.
Our first child, our unexpected son, was born only 1.7kgs (3lbs 12oz) while I was unconscious. Instead of being introduced, he lay in an incubator under Daddy's hands while I was treated with increasingly painful measures to stop my haemorrhage. While my life was saved with drugs and transfusions, my sister singlehandedly prevented the routine formula feeding of our tiny boy. She quoted to the special care department the WHO recommendations for supplementation when mother's milk is not available...and did not back down.
- In fact, it is standard hospital policy to formula feed babies who are small (so they can gain chart weight) and babies who are big (because mum couldn't possibly produce enough milk for a big appetite). A friend of mine with a large baby was told she would need to supplement before she had recovered from her epidural!
During our stay in special care, Alex and I were on a frequent feeding schedule and I pumped after each feed. I was just able to supply the tube-feeding supplement schedule the hospital prescribed - they were clearly so reluctant to use the donor milk available. Alex was judged by staff to be feeding very well, when in fact he was too weak yet to do it properly. We learned by ourselves at home instead.
I nursed Alex on cue, round the clock, while in an as yet unrecognised state of post traumatic stress disorder from his birth. If I couldn't nurse him in public, I couldn't have left the house. I nursed him above 2 kgs, and 3 kgs (a normal birth weight), and exclusively until about 7 months. I nursed him past 1 year, and 2 years, and sometimes painfully through my second pregnancy. And we all learned a new relationship when Nadia joined us.
- It's my right to feed my babies in public. I've earned it.
- It's my duty to feed my babies in public, so other children won't grow up as I did, with no memories of seeing a baby at a mother's breast.
- It's my pleasure to feed my babies in public, to show that a good baby is one who trusts her mother will respond to her needs, not one who has given up asking for a response.
- It is my habit to feed my babies in public without even stopping my conversations, and I hope that my nonchalance will be contagious.
I feed 2 year old Nadia only in friendly places, and the only friendly place to feed my 5 year old (18kg) Alex is at home. Because we still have a long way to go, baby....
Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public
Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.
Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.
This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It