This year's BLANQI x World Breastfeeding week we did something different.
We reached out to Milk Snob for their super soft nursing covers, Wash With Water for their amazing skincare that helps with sore and cracked nursing nipples and a bottle brand called Smilo to participate in our BLANQI x World Breastfeeding Giveaway. The bottle brand may have not initially made sense, so let me explain. Our once-yearly BLANQI x World Breastfeeding Week had me reflect on how even after extended breastfeeding my 4 babies, number 5 needed a different feeding style. I never thought I’d not nurse, and then give up pumping, and then exclusively bottle feed, but the stress of him NOT gaining weight and thriving outweighed what I wanted. Because that is what we do as mothers. We sacrifice our wants and needs to do what is best for our babies. During our transition home from out of the NICU, a kind hearted acquaintance made a comment to me after finding out that I was exclusively feeding with formula saying ‘...wellllll even just 6oz of breast milk a day would be better than nothing’ ..and it stung. It stung because I had 4 other kids who all nursed like pros and I felt like I was depriving Silas of something he deserved. It stung because even 6oz of breastmilk was just not possible. In my situation it was not that I could not produce milk. It was not that I didn't want to nurse, or that Silas wouldn't take the pumped milk in the bottle. It was that we needed to track his nutrients so he would gain weight and LIVE, and the best way to do that was to bottle feed him. The I could have, would have, should have already haunted me- so the last thing I needed under these traumatic circumstances was to hear words that seemed to undermine what I was doing as a new mother during this already hard time. I remember when my sister in law had her first child and he wouldn't latch. She had experienced some major birth trauma during the postpartum healing process just hours after giving birth and it was taking everything she had to recover both mentally, physically and emotionally. The added challenge of a baby not latching was crippling I'm sure. Someone who she considered a friend was visiting her and the new baby just days after coming home from the hospital and told her "ohhhhh, you're not breastfeeding? ..you know that is really better for the baby than the bottle." Yes, we all know it is. Here I was- a HUGE proponent of breastfeeding and my heart hurt for her that she had to hear that. Not because it wasn't true, but because it was true. I think we need to help give women and babies every advantage that will help them choose breastfeeding and continue beyond even the suggested 6 months. But sometimes it's just not possible- so we need to show those women the same type of support. All women need affirmation that we are doing our best for our babies. The days of motherhood are long, exhausting and often we feel like failures. Perhaps there is additional stress of marriage troubles, job stress and financial demands that weigh on our hearts. Motherhood is hard- so we have to find ways to make it easier for one another. When we designed our line of Postpartum and Nursing Collection, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the "how" of how I breastfed- and the 'action' behind how all women nurse. I didn't want to wear 'nursing-access only' clothes. I wanted to have a full life and be active out and about with my kids- which meant a lot of nursing in public. I wanted to be modest, but not smothered by blankets, and bulky clasps, and covered with layers that I was hot and sweaty. What I found was that we either "Lift-up" our shirts to nurse, often exposing our stomachs or we "Pull-down" which results in dealing with bulky straps and clasps. Like how we approach all design at BLANQI- we knew there HAD to be a better way. So we did something about it. And that same change is why we decided to be inclusive of all mother's this week. To fully support breastfeeding, is to fully support all feeding styles. Our Postpartum and Nursing Support Tanks do it all- they make breastfeeding, pumping and bottle feeding easier, because they support the mother. We need to work together to support one another and be mindful that sometimes the best way to support is by sharing our own, unique experiences
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