Updated: Nov 24, 2019
Spotlight on Tarina Szemzo Fremming:
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, which took place the first week of August, we've asked our very own Tarina Szemzo Fremming to offer a few thoughts on breastfeeding. Tarina is a certified lactation counselor and postpartum doula who supports families throughout their breastfeeding and lactation journeys. You may have seen her at one of our bi-weekly breastfeeding support drop-in events!
"What I Wish I'd Known (A reflection for World Breastfeeding Week)
Most clients I work with have one thing in common when seeking breastfeeding support: they felt wildly unprepared for how much of a mental, emotional, and physical demand nursing their newborn would really be. Some of them feel overwhelmed and even traumatized by the extent of this demand. But if I can help just one client learn to balance these new feelings, together we can start a ripple effect to lessen the burden for others new parents around us.
Breastfeeding is natural, but it is not necessarily intuitive. A baby's arrival brings with it a significant learning curve for both baby and parent, as they learn to work together for milk transfer. Latch, position, the height of the baby's palate, and even the length of a nursing person's torso can all impact establishing a breastfeeding relationship.
Some families choose to exclusively breastfeed. Some choose to exclusively pump. Some choose to exclusively bottle feed. There is no right or wrong answer... only what is right or wrong for you and your family. But for this to be true, access to information, options, and support is essential.
Preparing for breastfeeding may be the all-too-often missing piece of preparing for baby's arrival. In a digital age, it's all too easy to look upon glamorous and perfectly curated photos of stylish new parents nursing with apparent effortlessness. Unfortunately, social media noise interferes with our ability to set reasonable lifestyle expectations, communication, and routines. In the sanitized world of social media, we don't see the very real struggles and challenges of learning about lactation options and techniques.
The antidote to this "false advertising" for life after baby? Presence. Make the time to have a cup of tea in a friend's home, and extend honest breastfeeding advice and guidance. Reach over to help your friend who struggles to unlatch that complicated nursing bra, while newborn baby's head is bobbing looking for milk. Offer hugs and healthy snacks as the new parent works through these early days.
In our attempts to connect with each other in more tangible ways, we can hear stories of normalcy, success, and failure... of what we wish we'd known and what we can plan to do differently with this baby or with future babies.
I know we hear this all the time, but... truly, the key to change is to share your story. Speak honestly and openly about how difficult this time of nursing is. Share a piece of advice that made things easier for you! Whether over the first week, the first month, the first year and beyond, together we can help other new parents better prepare for the challenges and triumphs they will face. Together, we can help to build our village.
This is what I wish I'd known: that we don't have to be alone in this new chapter. In talking to new clients during this vulnerable time, when they feel as though they have nothing more to give, it's others who have walked this same path who can give back to them. Whatever your situation is, pass along your stories -- so that there will be fewer of us out here clinging to what we wish we had known."