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End The War, Share Your Milk

The Village Love Doula Tuesday, May 5, 2015 End The War, Share Your Milk Before I gave birth to my first son, I was ignorant when it came to the subject of feeding a baby.  I was slightly disturbed by the idea of nursing past a year.  I was anti-formula and a little judgemental of anyone who used it.  I thought if you fed your child a handful of goldfish crackers that you were indeed a lazy parent.  I have lived and learned and I feel like I've stepped down from my sancti-mommy pedestal quite a bit. After struggling to breastfeed in the beginning of my nursing relationship with Tucker I realized that breastfeeding struggles are real!  The blood, the blisters, the supply issues...these things are real, and they are mentally draining.  There is nothing worse to make you feel like less than a mother than when your body isn't doing what it was made to do.  We did power through and with the help from LCs and support from my husband we were successful! But I finally understood...I was just a few blisters away from making a bottle.  I was no longer anti-bottle or anti-formula.  However, the more I read and became involved in the breastfeeding community, the more I realized I am anti-formula company.  I also realized how many issues lie within society that are negatively affecting breastfeeding and the relationships between women.  I wont get too much into the politics of formula companies and hospitals, but I will say that they don't care about you or your baby.  So what do you do when you want the best ingredients for your baby, your body wont work the way you need it to, and you don't have the support system you need?  What do you do when society has shamed you for showing a few square inches of your breast in public when your baby is crying to be fed?  What do you do when your group of friends are breastfeeding and you have to pull out a very expensive can of formula and feel embarassed?  Why have our fellow females left us alone in this journey?  Shouldn't we all be helping and empowering one another?  Why aren't we sharing the gift of this liquid gold?  Why are we keeping our milk to ourselves?  Why are we so selfish and judgemental?  You don't deserve your milk supply any more than any other just got lucky!  I was a lucky one.  After a few weeks my supply was flowing, I made it through the first few weeks of struggles, and I had a huge support group.  I had the best ingredients for my baby.  I had worked through the pressures of society and I was giving the middle finger to anyone who shamed me for feeding in public.  I didn't have to pay to feed my baby.  I was not alone in this journey, and I was being empowered by my network of friends.  I knew that if I want to make a difference in taking down these formula companies and supporting my fellow women that I had to do my part.  I needed to donate my milk. I began to imagine a world without formula.  Not out hate or judgment, but out of sympathy and love.  We don't need formula.  We should not have to pay to feed our babies.  We should not be leaving one another alone in this journey.  The world survived for thousands and thousands of years without formula, so what happened these last hundred-ish years making formula the norm?  Have we become so disconnected from one another that a bottle of strange ingredients was more acceptable than someone else's milk? I wanted to reach out to a mom and help her the only way I knew how.  Wet nursing is a beautiful thing, but I wanted to feed a baby while helping another mom still have that bond and connection that breastfeeding brings.  So I began to pump.  If I gave a mother my frozen milk then she is left with the option of how to feed her baby how she wants without the guilt of not knowing the ingredients, and without the burden of paying for it.  She can bottle feed, she can use an SNS, she can mix it into a puree of vegetables for her growing toddler.  The option is hers.  This made me feel like the power was being given back to women and I was doing my part to help.  I was bringing down the need of formula.  Formula companies are like our milk supply...they are supply and demand.  The less they are demanded of the less they will supply.  The more that women seek the help from one another, the less that these companies will prey on exhausted and frustrated mothers.  So if you are one of those moms who have cringed at the idea of formula.  If you have had the blessing of being able to walk right past the bottle isle at the store.  If you have never had the very real struggle of wondering how you will afford another can of over priced powder for your hungry baby.  If you have had the privilege of being annoyed at your soaking wet shirt from leaking an over supply of milk.  If you have gotten that moment of celebration when you've weighed your baby and the doctor has patted your back as if you are somehow responsible for how fatty your milk is.  Then please, share your blessings.  God does not bless you so you can keep it for yourself and look down on others who are struggling.  God blesses you so you can bless others.  Take what you need, give the rest.  Go to your local WIC, get a free pump, pick up discounted storage bags from your local baby thrift store, and commit to just one pumping session a day.  Clear out some space in your freezer, watch your milk stack up, and start networking online to find a mom in need.  Humbly offer your milk, go deliver it, and feed a hungry baby!  Do your part to reconnect mothers, to take the formula companies down, and give a desperate and exhausted mother a chance to feed her baby guilt free.  Let a mother save some money, help her feel supported, and give her friendship.  Sharing milk can change this war.  Sharing milk is love. Human Milk for Human Babies on facebook Eats for feets on facebook Women Infants Children [WIC]

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