Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7!
One particular way I had a much better experience breastfeeding my fifth child was through supportive connections made using social media.
I will be the first to admit I spend a fair amount of time on social media. It began almost 10 years ago as a way to stay awake at night while working a graveyard shift. First MySpace, then Facebook and Twitter, these social media sites provided a way to search for interesting information but, more importantly, a way to connect with people.
With a 10-year time span between my fourth and fifth child, I found breastfeeding was receiving a whole new (outlook). The connections I found available through organizations online made finding information, supplies, and most importantly fellowship so much easier than 10 years ago! Many things are easier than 10 years ago, right? Nursing mothers are using technology to return to (a modern custom).
Learning from other nursing mothers at any time of the day helped build my confidence. I found camaraderie in their daily posts, news articles, and even memes!
I had become so confident in fact that I wrote about my experience in my English paper titled “Virtually Connected, How Gordon Allport’s In-Group Theories Explain the Significance of Virtual In-Groups Formed Through Social Media”
Here’s the excerpt on nursing mothers –
Allport would agree the Nursing Mothers in-group exemplifies his theory of out-grouping. An example of an opposing out-group for a nursing mother would be those who believe nursing should not be done in public. As exclusive nursing continues to regain acceptance, nursing mothers face ridicule when feeding their babies in public. At this time in my life, I feel confident nursing in public because of my membership to this in-group. I know I would be able to face a confrontation because I have the support of my in-group. Allport would explain my confidence is due to “emphasis … placed primarily on the desire for security” (57). Within this theory, Allport states “one does not necessarily despise the others” (57), but the firm distinction has proved to be helpful for nursing mothers. It is a California State Law (Cal. Civil Code § 43.3) passed in 1988 that “a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private.” Recently, “Starbucks pledged to support breastfeeding mothers using its 800 (United Kingdom) branches, to help promote a more “parent-friendly” environment,” as told on ParentHerald.com. These examples show how alignment with nursing mothers affects aspects of daily life.
Finding supportive connections to help promote my desire to breastfeed was key! With my older children, I stopped nursing at about the sixth-month mark. With Titus, I was able to confidently nurse through his first birthday. That’s something I never thought possible until I saw and heard from so many women achieving this milestone.
Connect locally with The Breastfeeding Coalition of San Joaquin County on Facebook using @BreastfeedSJC
Connect nationally with La Leche League USA on Facebook and Twitter using @LaLecheLeagueUSA
Connect with your own community through groups like Latina Breastfeeding Coalition. Once you start searching you’re sure to find women you can identify with!
Whether it is for 1 month or 1 year of breastfeeding, celebrate yourself and the nursing mothers you know this week!