Kristen Umunna talks about being a first-time mom motivated to exclusively breastfeed. She describes the traumatic experience of her child developing jaundice and dehydration from insufficient feeding. She ultimately became a fearless exclusive formula feeding mom to all five of her children. She is a fierce advocate for formula-feeding families and feels strongly that they too deserve respect and support from the community.
Heather Curran talks about exclusively breastfeeding both her boys to 13 months. She talks about the challenges along the way including problems with mastitis, nursing strikes and transitioning to complementary feeding. She talks about the importance of getting support as a mom and being flexible when encountering challenges.
Stephanie is a mom and professional, working as an ultrasound technologist, who shares her own experience with breastfeeding, supplementing and formula-feeding. She talks about the postpartum depression and anxiety she experienced by while exclusively pumping for her first baby. She discusses how important getting support to feed her baby in the way that best worked for her family was and how important protecting her mental health was for her, her baby and her family.
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Brittany Littlefield is a mom who shares with her experience trying to breastfeed her children. She discusses the challenges she faced breastfeeding and needing to find a community that accepted her experience and ultimately, her decision to stop breastfeeding. She discusses the shame and guilt mothers are subject to based on how they feed their babies and calls for society to support every mother, regardless of how she feeds.
Mandy talks about her experience with her son who developed failure-to-thrive after a month of “cluster-feeding.” She discusses how it felt to find out her son was starving despite hours a day of nursing. She talks about how harmful it is for moms to be told that exclusive breastfeeding is the only way to provide the best for your child.
Dr. Beth Elston is a mother and a general pediatrician. She talks about her experience as a breastfeeding mother. She talks about how breastfeeding education taught to moms and health professionals often does not fit with reality and discusses the harm caused by programs like the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. She shares her insights on how to best support mothers regardless of their ability or decision to breastfeed and how to respect mother’s decisions, including breastfeeding, formula-feeding or combo-feeding. She shares how her experience has changed how she supports her patients in their unique infant feeding journeys.
Caroline Koen talks about her breastfeeding experience and how the pressure and guilt to breastfeed contributed to postpartum depression. She talks about how a more relaxed attitude about breastfeeding ultimately led to a more positive breastfeeding experience.
For World Breastfeeding/Safe Infant Feeding Month, we are celebrating by interviewing real mothers and talking to them about their breastfeeding/infant feeding experiences. It is my great honor to share with you my interview with Steph Montgomery, writer, public health advocate and mother, who talked about her breastfeeding experiences. She talks abut how safe, respectful and transparent breastfeeding support and education on breastfeeding and supplementation made a difference in her breastfeeding experiences. She goes on to talk about how mothers are treated in health care settings and how the current paradigm that respects only exclusive breastfeeding as ideal harms moms and babies.
Interview by Galit Romanelli, Founder of (M)OtherMilk.org
I founded (M)Other Milk because I felt I was ill-prepared for the struggles of breastfeeding. Ill-prepared, to say the least. I felt my mom had prepared me well for labor, telling me that it is called labor because that’s precisely what it is — hard work. Breastfeeding, however, was never really discussed.
I was old enough to watch my mom lovingly breastfeed my younger brother, since there was a 12 year difference between us, and it never seemed like there was much to it. Just bring baby close, and off you go.
I think this was part of what contributed greatly to my ultimate shock when I cried out in pain the first (and every time) my baby latched on. I was completely and utterly unprepared for pain, cracked nipples, low milk supply and overwhelming emotions when I realized this was an unpleasant experience (to say the least) and that my baby simply wasn’t getting what he needed.
In hindsight, I think I nearly felt betrayed. How was it women, my mother included, were not sharing any of the challenges surrounding breastfeeding?
As I began to source stories from fellow mothers, I realized there were so many stories, each unique and entirely different. Similar to birth, no two stories were the same.
For World Breastfeeding Month, Fed is Best and (M)Other Milk are collaborating to share mothers feeding stories and showcase the diversity of experiences, to both inform, empower, and support moms across the globe to do what is right for them and their babies. We hope you enjoy this very first podcast.