Would you run a marathon in chancletas?

The message behind my #breastisgold campaign

I didn't resonate with the other hashtags #breastisbest #fedisbest, these campaigns actually pinpoint women against each other. I instead do believe there is a standard, whether you breastfeed for 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, breast milk is the best beginning you can give your child - think about it: how would humanity have evolved to where we are today had it not been the standard way to feed an infant back in the cave days? Well, that and a bunch of research exists to back it up, including new research about how breast milk components are helping cure cancer! Google it!

I don't want any mother to feel bad about her choice. When you think of it as #breastisgold, you can think of it more of as a standard. The APA indicates that children should have breast milk for their first 6 months of life, then introduce solids, and continue breast milk until 1 year. The reality is you will be targeted by formula marketing campaigns, friends, family, and by the will to survive, to quit breastfeeding. You are going to be in pain, and you are going to be tired, and you might do it wrong because you might not get the help you need off the bat. Or maybe help is not available to you, or you won't know how to seek it or you can’t afford it, there are a million reasons why you might not have a good breastfeeding relationship at the start. If you think of it as a goal you want to accomplish, as something that you won't let anyone get in the way of,  then you should set yourself up for success. This is why I compare breastfeeding success to accomplishing a marathon. 

People do marathons all the time, but what are they really winning? They are winning a medal. What is the point of running so many miles? Someone who isn't bought into it may see it this way. A lot of people find pride in that, and why? It is a very difficult thing to accomplish you can’t just go into it- you have to train, qualify, baby step up to it. That is what a breastfeeding journey is, you can't just jump into it. You should prepare - know some info, have the right tools. Would you run a marathon in chancletas? No! You are probably going to buy the right sneakers, so you should buy the right supplies for breastfeeding and USE them properly. That is why I am such an advocate because I don’t think there are enough people out there in the sidelines of the breastfeeding marathon saying “Go, go! You can do this, keep going!”. Instead you have a long line of people saying “Why do it? Just give a formula bottle.” By the way, breastfeeding can also mean you pump and give your baby bottles! For some women that is the answer and that works for you - and that is such a harder job - power to you! It is NOT easy. Some women say they don’t make enough milk, I hate hearing “I didn’t have enough milk, my baby was always hungry, I dried up “. The reality is you don’t have to nurse 24/7 or 100% of what your child needs, you can supplement! I know friends who only nurse their kids at night, for comfort/bonding. You need people cheering you on, the same way people do it for marathons. 

My other analogy is you don’t just go to a drivers test without being prepared and expect to pass the first time. You might fail a lot of times until you get your license. Here is the thing about breastfeeding, there might be a next time and there might not be. You might need to use a nipple shield, fix a tongue tie, pump for a bit until your nipples heal, consider this the time it takes to study for that repeat drivers test. But with breastfeeding you aren’t always promised tomorrow. You can’t just tell your body you don’t need milk. What does that mean/what does that look like? Well that means going long stretches of time without breastfeeding or pumping, or even going an entire day. That means you told your body for hours or days that you didn’t need milk and once it dries up it can be gone - although I’ve hard there are methods to make your body lactate. But that’s when you hear moms say “I dried up”. The message here is you want to get it right and get it right the first time. If you go in unprepared you are setting yourself up for failure. Call me before you are in the thick of it and suffering. Let’s have a conversation - a FREE conversation- whether you are in the process of conceiving, pregnant, just gave birth, or want to nurse your next child or not nursing at all and just curious. Let’s get you to that proud place of rocking #breastisgold!

Marilys Vega