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Tuesday
Jul092013

Breastfeeding Lyra, or why I love Laid-Back Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Lyra at four months old.

I have been trying to get a photo of breastfeeding Lyra that captures how much I love both her and my ability to happily, successfully breastfeed this sweet baby, and I finally captured it in the photo above.

Breastfeeding Cora was not easy, and I expected the same challenges with Lyra. When they did not occur, I was taken aback. Breastfeeding was a breeze? Enjoyable? Relaxing? Beautiful? These are not things I had known with Cora and I rejoiced. One of the major reasons why this time around it is different is because of learning about 'laid-back breastfeeding,' or the movement to literally lay back, or recline, and place your baby on your body in a way that has them do the work (also called gravity feeding, also called natural breastfeeding.) Now I find myself looking forward to each nursing session as it means I can stop, sit back, relax, and connect with my child, while, really not doing anything at all, other than of course, nourishing her with my body. (Here's a link with a great video and further explanation.)

This is how I used to breastfeed with Cora. Using a breastfeeding pillow, more support pillows, sitting bolt upright, back and shoulders killing me, for hours and endless hours. No more!

No more sitting bolt upright. No more managing a nursing pillow. No more holding my baby in funky positions. No more slumped over shoulders and heavy breasts. Because of learning about laid-back breastfeeding, I've finally mastered a modified form of side-lying nursing, and I can now sleep while she nurses. Again, a huge personal accomplishment. (I didn't even think it was possible for me.)

All it took was a knowledgeable friend and a baby doll as a model to show me a new approach to breastfeeding.

My friend Liz, a Canadian La Leche League leader, and fellow boat mama, showed me how to do this, and I'm eternally grateful to her for it.

One last thought on breastfeeding. For one moment, I considered not posting these photos. I thought things like, these contain portions of my breasts in the photos, I'm posting these on the internet!! What will people think? And then I remembered how many times I've posted pictures of myself in bikinis, or low-cut dresses. I've posted pictures of my children's births, of my pregnant belly, all normal, natural things. Why this feeling of "uh oh" don't post these? Our American culture has somehow just freaked out on seeing mothers breastfeeding, and I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the hypocrisy. Of seeing internet ads, billboards, magazine photos, tv shows, and movies....FULL of sexual images of women's breasts, but GOD FORBID you post a photo of the beautiful, natural act of breastfeeding. 

And then I saw this spoken word, and decided to write this post for sure. Help spread the word and normalize images of breastfeeding every chance you get.

Reader Comments (7)

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy for you! Funny enough, I had the opposite experience. Zach was a JOY to breastfeed. All blissed out, no issues, relaxing and loving. With Naia I had latch problems (ouch), over supply issues (ouch, but laying back helps that too!), and even now at 2 1/2 we keep going but it's never been as Zen as it was with Zach. I am glad I stuck with it though, but had I not had the wisdom of the first experience I might not have, ya know?

Anyhow, yay for nursing babies whenever and however and wherever they need it.

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercindy

I'm so so happy for you that it went better. I have seen that video circulated around but from your website is the first time I've watched it. And I watched it with tears. Poor babies. Poor mamas. Guess it may be that my job is important with all this breastfeeding :) and babies and birth and stuff. Such beautiful pictures of your baby all blissed out. You always have a classy way of being honest. ;)

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

So glad to have been a part of your nursing journey. Thank you for spreading the word about laid back nursing. Your pictures are beautiful, and I am so glad you posted them. Thanks to Hollie McNish for giving us all a boost of confidence! Love, Liz

July 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

This is so beautiful. You've made me miss all the bliss of nursing my 5 little ones. Nothing shameful about it. Good for you for promoting the non-sexualized truth about this sacred little experience.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertricia

Tricia, thank you!!! Wow, five kids! My mom had seven. You are my hero! I'm so happy that I can tell people about my positive experience breastfeeding this time around!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Wonderful pics, wonderful story. I am even more 'laid-back' - I just lay down the most I can.

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBettina

Bettina, tell me about it!! I strategically place pillows now, lie back, and just relax!

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

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