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As a mother of six, I’ve been breastfeeding babies and toddlers for a cumulative 10+ years of my adult life (and counting!). That’s more than 3,650 days and nights I’ve spent nursing. For someone to spend that much of their lives committed to something, clearly they must believe it is worth the time, effort, and personal sacrifices involved. I do, and it is. Here are just some of the reasons I’m still happily and willingly breastfeeding my toddler: 1)     ...

  During the more than 30 years I’ve been helping breastfeeding families, it’s been thrilling to see the rise in U.S. breastfeeding rates. In the early 1980s, only about 50% of American women breastfed even once. Now nearly 80% of new mothers breastfeed. But this picture is still far from rosy. The sad truth is that most women today are not meeting their breastfeeding goals. Three recent studies shed some light on the issues. Here’s what they found: More than two thirds of women...

  I grew up in a time and culture when nursing was done behind closed doors, or hidden from view under a nursing cover. Public breastfeeding was so rare, it was like catching a glimpse of a mythical creature. If a child was hungry, there were secret places mothers would scurry off to so they could feed their child safely out of sight from everyone else going about their day. I’ll admit that on the rare occasions I was confronted with it, it did make me profoundly uncomfortable. When I...

  So, you’re about to embark upon the journey of motherhood. Or maybe you’re a new mom breastfeeding for the first time. I’m sure you’ll hear the question “Are you planning to breastfeed?” more than once. You’ll probably hear the term “breast is best.” You’ll hear all kinds of things, both positive and negative. The truth is, we’re mammals and our babies are born to breastfeed. We mothers were born to breastgive. Just as our bodies innately know how to grow and birth our babies, we...

  As featured in Issue 8 of HPM, written by Teglene Ryan Yes, you can breastfeed a baby to whom you did not give birth. In fact, breastfeeding an adopted baby is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is even possible to breastfeed if you have never been pregnant or have reached menopause. Breastfeeding an adopted baby is different than breastfeeding a baby after being pregnant, but it can be achieved through the process of induced lactation.

If you’re a breastfeeding mom and you’re on Facebook, chances are you’ve heard of The Badass Breastfeeder.  Abby Theuring used to spend her days as a social worker, helping abused and neglected teenagers and advocating for the rights of children.  Now – as a mother of 2, wife, writer, public speaker and activist – this dynamic woman devotes her time to advocating for and empowering fellow breastfeeding moms (while simultaneously tandem-nursing and parenting in a respectful, gentle...

  As featured in Issue 6 of HPM, written by Dana Ben Ari.  One of the most common phrases I have heard thrown around when discussing breastfeeding is that it is natural. That nature gave women breasts, and therefore women should breastfeed. This attitude often coincides with the romantic notion that nature is beautiful and benevolent even though we know this isn’t always the case. Furthermore, many of us believe strongly that breastfeeding is beneficial to both mother and child,...

  I stand in the ocean. The water is warm, placid, and crystal clear. Little translucent fish swim around my legs. I hold my 22-month old son Taber in my arms. He rests his head on my shoulder. My husband puts his goggles on to check out a nearby Needlefish. It’s our family morning time at the beach. Having recently moved to south Florida, we are amazed by the world-renowned beauty found a mile away from our doorstep. My son pulls my blue swimsuit to the side and begins to nurse. I...

  I never saw anyone breastfeed before I was in the hospital with a nurse hanging her head over my boob trying to get my first son to latch. Before this moment the only things to touch my nipples were me, my bra and men. I probably had some unspoken idea that I would breastfeed for about 6 months. Once we got rolling I pushed that to a year. I worked so damn hard to get started, I wanted to breastfeed as long as I could. A year was surely as long as people breastfed. Not that I...

  My breastfeeding years are long behind me, so while the teenagers were out, my husband and I snuggled up on the couch to watch the latest Game of Thrones DVD that had come in the mail. It was the episode where we first see the castle known as the Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn. It is beautiful, almost a fairytale kingdom, but somehow slightly odd and foreboding. In the throne room sits a regal woman, Lysa Tully Arryn, and, sucking from her breast, a child aged around 6, the Lord Robert...

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