Friday, May 30, 2014

And still, I live

Well, I have been MIA for months now. To be honest, I was feeling very discouraged with my blogging experience, and decided to abandon this blog altogether. But I received a really encouraging letter in my email inbox recently, and I've changed my mind.

Dear Elizabeth,

Hello. My name is Karla and I am a writing instructor at the University of *** as well as mom to my 15-month old daughter. In my spare time (ha) I also do research and am currently working on a project about pro-breastfeeding in public resources. I came across your blog several months ago while logged in to my birth club on BabyCenter one night, and after reading your most recent post from January I wanted to reach out to you to encourage you to keep going with the blog. You mentioned feeling redundant since there are already lots of resources out there, but honestly, I think every resource, including your blog, adds something new and important. And, I really haven't found
that many blogs of women sharing their stories/photos of breastfeeding in public, even though you might expect there to be lots.

There are academic studies I have read recently that address the reasons why women do not start breastfeeding or stop before reaching their goal, and one reason has to do with society's perceptions of breastfeeding in public. Many women feel embarrassed about breastfeeding in public and fear the responses they'll get for doing so, and various studies show that women are right in their concern about backlash since many people find breastfeeding in public inappropriate (or if it's okay then only when it's done discreetly). I really appreciate that your blog celebrates breastfeeding in public, whether you choose to cover up or not, and some blogs I have looked at support breastfeeding in public but seem to emphasize doing so with a cover (or going to a nursing room or other more private area, such as a booth at the back of a restaurant). If we want to change attitudes about breastfeeding in public then we need to quit telling women it's not okay or that it's only okay when you're covered or hidden away; so, thank you for delivering the message that there's nothing shameful about breastfeeding in public, which is what telling women to cover up or go somewhere out of sight says.

My daughter has already weaned, but while she was still nursing I breastfed her a handful of times in public. I always used a cover due to my own personal preference, and thankfully I didn't have any negative reactions to what I was doing. But, I admit that I prepared myself for what I would say to anyone if they challenged me about my choice to nurse in public, and that's something no nursing mother should have to do. So again, thank you for the work that you are doing to help nursing mothers be able to breastfeed in public without fear of repercussion. I think the confidence you convey on your blog can help other women feel more confident about nursing in public, and maybe also help some people who would otherwise consider the practice disgusting or inappropriate to realize it's not.

I don't necessarily expect a response to this email, though of course I'd be happy to get one. I really wanted to send some encouraging words to let you know your blog makes a difference, even if it may not seem like it.



Karla, thank you for your encouraging letter. Expect some new blog posts from me soon. :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Well then. I'm still alive.

I have been experiencing a lot of writers' block for the past few months. Even though there's a lot of breastfeeding issues that still deserve to be explored, part of me just gave up on ever making a difference. Most of what I'd love to talk about has already been discussed and re-discussed all over FB, what with the jillions of groups and pages dedicated to motherhood and breastfeeding. I kind of felt redundant.

Hopefully over the next few days I'll be back again with some actual material to share. I'm thinking of asking a few of my friends from FB groups to guest-blog once in a while, to share different perspectives on public breastfeeding and motherhood in general.

See you soon!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Triumphant Return

Yes, I've been slacking for a few weeks. But those days are over, and I'm back with a vengeance. Who am I seeking vengeance on? Who knows, but the important thing is I've returned. Much to your delight.

We've done lots of things as a family these past few weeks, so I'll just update you by sharing some photos of all the wonderful stuff that's been going on. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Janet learned to make use of her bumbo, and her sense of humor!
I pumped 10 ounces of milk in one sitting! Yes, that's a mason jar.
My sister, my mother, and I are sexy. Are we know it.
We took the kids up the mountain for a concert. Janet rode in her ring sling for the first time.

Once we were up, Janet needed a snack! That's right, no cover!
There's obviously more, but once again Janet is hungry and we've got somewhere to be! See you all again soon!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Militant Lactivist

Pink recently got harassed in a restaurant for nursing her daughter Willow, even though she was using a cover. Link Here.

I have to say, she is one of my newest heroes. Since I began this new journey into "lactivism", I have yet to be harassed by anyone about BIP, although I know it happens to other women.

My dream is to live in a country (a world, even!) where breastfeeding is not only tolerated, but normal. Where nobody thinks or looks twice at a woman nursing her child in a restaurant, store, or park. While it's unlikely that this will happen in the next few years as I nurse my daughter, I do hope to see it in my lifetime. I'd like for my daughter to be able to breastfeed her own children anywhere and anytime. Perhaps one day my son will grow up and get married, and I'd like his wife to be able to nourish my grandbabies the way God intended, without fear of getting the stink-eye.

I guess I'm very lucky; I have never been harassed or given a dirty look when nursing in public. While my husband isn't necessarily thrilled about my BIP crusade, he has always been supportive of my decision to breastfeed our children, and he understands that sometimes, babies get hungry while you're at the grocery store or the park. He gets it.

The community we live in is very open-minded and tolerant of public breastfeeding, in my experience. Nobody seems to think twice about it, or if they do they keep their negativity to themselves. I am grateful for that. Now, I want that attitude to be more common. I want women to come out of their homes, breastfeeding their children proudly no matter where they are. In a world so full of fear and hate, why should we hang back and let it control our lives? Why should we allow ourselves to do less than what is absolutely best for our kids, just because we don't want to "offend" somebody? When you really think about it, negative attitudes toward BIP are probably not as common as most women fear. If we just shrug our anxiety away and do what needs to be done, the majority of women will most likely be pleasantly surprised!

That is why I am hosting our local Big Latch On. I want every nursing woman in my community to realize how supportive our neighbors really are! I want us to be a beacon of hope and restored faith in humanity, a sign to other women that YES you can feed your baby here! YES you are doing a good thing, a normal thing, a beautiful thing for your child! That kind of support and caring is what brings communities together and strengthens them.

If you are a nursing mother, I urge you to locate your nearest Big Latch On and join in, or start your own if nobody else in your community is hosting. Even if its just you and a friend or two, your numbers count! Meet in a park, a church, a back yard. Meet on a corner in the middle of town, if you want to!

I'd love to receive some more BIP stories to share on this blog. Pictures are great, too! Show the world you are not afraid to do what is right for your child.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mother Nature!

It's been a while since my last blog post, and for that I'm sorry. I've been quite busy, organizing our local Big Latch On and trying to get people to attend. It's only 2 weeks away!

Any way, the Hubster and I recently took a walk with the kids through Glenwood Canyon and found a nice little picnic spot along the Colorado River. So we decided to hang out, eat some cherries, and put our feet in the water!

A view of the canyon from the trail.

Lander was disappointed that I wouldn't let him go out on these rocks.
Janet watches from the sidelines. She's not a big fan of water.

And of course, no family outing is complete without a little BIP!
We had a great time, and can't wait to do it again. This might just have to become a "regular thing" for us!
I am looking forward to getting some great pictures at the Latch On, and hopefully I'll get permission to share some of them with you. It's going to be a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Big Latch On!

Yesterday I came across a website: After perusing the site, I came to a conclusion: I have GOT to be a part of this.

Basically, it’s a worldwide nurse-in. Local chapters can meet at the park, somebody’s back yard, a business, a WIC office, anywhere! As long as there are two or more women and their babies present, it’s considered part of the Big Latch On. Nursing mothers and witnesses meet in their pre-chosen location and at 10:30 am (local time) the women put their babies to the breast and have them latch on for at least one minute. The witnesses count the women with babies latched on, and after the event is concluded the event host/hostess reports the numbers back to Last year’s total was over 8,800 latches!

This year, the event is being held on two days. Friday, August 2nd and Saturday, August 3rd. I decided, within an hour of learning about this, that I was going to host the local chapter of The Big Latch On. I can’t help it, I’m impulsive and spontaneous like that. Anyway, my new friend Cynthia has offered to assist me in hosting this event. We have already made a Facebook page for our local event and begun to brainstorm about possible local sponsors.

Militant Lactivists of Garfield County, Colorado UNITE!

We have exactly one month to plan and prepare for this event. We are holding ours on Saturday, August 3rd. I figured a weekend would work better for the majority of possible participants. I’ve even contacted our local parks & recreation department about reserving one of the larger parks for the event. Hopefully we’ll have a big turn-out.

Because I’m so excited about this, don’t be surprised if I blog about it a lot in the next 30 days. And possibly after that, too, if all goes well.

And if you’re a nursing momma in Garfield County, be at Two Rivers Park on August 3rd to join The Big Latch On!

Friday, June 21, 2013

BIP-- Animal Style!

 Armadillos do it.
 Cats do it.
 Cheetahs do it.
 Dogs do it. To tigers.
 Dolphins do it. Underwater!
 Foxes do it.
 Pigs do it.
 Polar bears do it.
 Doing it on porpoise.
Even seals do it! Aren't they sweet??
Don't you just love baby animals? Isn't it cute when their animal mommies feed them? Look at that dog, she's even cross-nursing baby tigers. It's so adorable, I could spray milk across the room! (I'll let you guess from where.)
Why is it that nobody freaks out and says "EEEWWWW" or "Gross!" or "Ugh, cover up, will ya?" when animals nurse their babies? I'm pretty sure everybody who looks at those pictures says "Awwww" or "How sweet!" or "ERMAGERD SO KYOOOOT!" And if you don't actually say it out loud, that's only because you are dumbstruck by the adorableness of it all. Don't lie, you know it's true.
How ridiculous, then, to expect a human mother to be ashamed and cover up while nursing her own baby. Even worse is when women are expected to feed their babies in closets or public restrooms. Breastfeeding is nothing new. If it was wrong to breastfeed, then the milk wouldn't be coming out of our breasts in the first place.

If animals (who can't even READ, for Pete's sake) are allowed to breastfeed in public, what harm can a little human BIP do?