“You can’t breastfeed. You don’t have enough milk.” “Breasts are playthings. They aren’t meant for your offspring.” Trust me. I have heard it all. Take it from me. I studied Science growing up and Mammals breastfeed their offspring. It is what makes us mammals. I am a mammal. I drove over an hour to support a new mother who felt all alone in the world of breastfeeding. She was empowered by my visit there because I helped her more than the breastfeeding nurses at the hospital. A month later, she gave up breastfeeding and her marriage.
Today, Breastfeeding is considered a choice in America. Years ago, survival of the human race relied on breastfeeding, hiring a nursemaid, or owning a slave kept for nursing. I remember the day I lost respect for my mother. I noticed a white substance dripping from her chest under her bath robe. I questioned the contents and origin. “God made my body to produce milk for your baby brother, but I choose to use formula.” Out of her own hypocritical mouth, she taught me daily to obey the god she served, but she explained her choice trumped science, her god, and the health of my brother? When I carried my firstborn, my mother explained it was her biggest debate with my dad. He wanted her to breastfeed, but she felt it was sexual.
Lacking family support with my ‘decision’ to breastfeed my youth, I sought researching the bible, legends, and limited access to research on the internet. Struggling in the hospital during latch on stage, I found little to no help from the nurse. I planned on breastfeeding him until 3 because the world and biblical average dictated 3. Moses had breastfed until 5. His brother came along and the doctor said, “If you got pregnant when you were breastfeeding, then you can continue to breastfeed throughout delivery.” I had changed his mind about nursing toddler especially after my eldest grew his first tooth at age one year and a half. I breastfed both boys. My eldest fought me about eating hardly any food. I noticed his attitude going downhill and I pulled him off two months before he turned 3. He was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. The doctors were threatening a feeding tube so I asked if I could offer him the breast again. I mean his brother nursed, what was one more? My husband was not too excited, the doctor could not ‘tell me what to do’, therefore I was left on my own at the hospital. Son refused to hold still for a pokie from the nurse so I bribed him with breastmilk which he fell for. Hubby arrived back at the hospital to greet yet another doctor, but this time the doctor literally jumped up in the air at the decision to breastfeed. I somehow managed to stay alive during the pregnancy of a third child while I breastfed two kids. Still not very educated in herbs, I fought to stay alive through breastfeeding, chemo for my son, and without support. My family supported the breastfeeding because of the doctors’ encouragement. The chemo doctor’s nurse abhorred the breastfeeding, but the doctor made us sit down and ‘talk it out’. My son skipped obnoxious trips to the hospital unlike the other children forced on chemo. We also led a better life because we visited museums, zoos, and restaurants. I knew a family who drove more than 6 hours to arrive for chemo, but they didn’t stop anywhere because they were afraid of germs plus their spiritual and local community packed them lunches. My son missed one chemotherapy treatment because I had been squirting the milk in a cup. For some odd reason, I tired of breastfeeding 3 kids at the same time.
There are plenty of other stories about breastfeeding I could share that are more cutsie-good-feeling, but I started with this because… The fact remains. Choice and follow through. On another day, I can add a whole lot more including herbs I learned over time. However, today you need this because you and your children learn off of each other. There will be difficult times throughout breastfeeding and even raising your children, but I believe in you. Marriage, commitment, and goals do not revolve around butterflies and sugar all the time. Times will be difficult. You can do it. The first step is choice. You can survive this. You are a survivor not matter what trials and tribulations you endure. You got this! I said so. If our forefathers can do it, so can you! Just because you are not breastfeeding or you are a man, what I shared can empower you to make it through another day.
May Your Life Be Electrified.
Jae Byrd Wells
Jae Byrd Wells, author of the science fiction Tales From School Series and the inspirational humorous series, Get the Bubblewrap, Jae, is a national speaker, social media consultant. She graduated with a Letter & College Scholarship for filming football. After dabbling in modeling, she studied Marketing and Media in College which semi-prepared her for her career in the world of Entertainment. Her colored and rocky past in the desert called life has not robbed her continued thirst for adventure which enables her to inspire those around her to not lose faith, love, chivalry, and respect. When she’s not busy engaging on social media, writing, teaching, consulting, cohosting radio shows, or speaking, Jae enjoys life as a pioneer, geek, cosplayer, and movie buff. She lives with her husband, four children (5, if you include the parrot) and her ‘petting zoo’ in Kansas.
Jae Byrd Wells is available for speaking engagements, keynotes and conferences. Please contact her through LinkedIn.