When we envision a newborn baby and mother, most people will instantly conjure up an image of mommy and baby sitting quietly in a cozy chair, looking at one another with love-filled eyes. Both are calm and content, happily playing their given roles.
For those who haven’t experienced infant feeding first-hand, it is no wonder that this image is considered the norm! This image of the peaceful pair is what is typically depicted in TV shows and movies. It is also—incredibly enough—the type of image that appears in so many pregnancy books and gynecologist offices.
It is not surprising that many parents first entering the journey of child-rearing expect the act of breastfeeding—or any feeding, for that matter—to be so much easier than it actually can be.
When I had my first child, I was astounded by the fact that it took my body two days to get the memo that the baby had been born. I sat up those first to nights in tears thinking that my baby would starve to death under my watchful care. Though I had read in the books that it could take a few days before one’s milk came in, when living it, all those words go right out of the window. And while those first few weeks were bumpy at best, it did get easier in time.
Now, two children in and several years wiser, I know two things to be certain:
1. Breastfeeding can be extremely rewarding; and
2. Breastfeeding can be extremely challenging!
This month, people across the United States are celebrating National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. While this is a time for people to celebrate the act of breastfeeding, it is also an opportunity for people to stop and think about what each and every one of us can do to make breastfeeding a bit easier for parents and caregivers.
In preparation for this year’s awareness month, a group of Skagitonians have gotten together to draft a proclamation declaring August as National Breastfeeding Month. In this proclamation, the Skagit County Breastfeeding Coalition recognizes the abundant health and bonding benefits of breastfeeding, while also recognizing how difficult breastfeeding can sometimes be for parents and caregivers in our community.
While I struggled to adjust to motherhood during those early days…the football hold, the latching, the midnight pumping, the many tears…I was thankful for the those who supported me in my breastfeeding journey. There are so many things that can act as a barrier to breastfeeding and can jeopardize a person’s chances at a happy and sustainable breastfeeding experience. Our friends, family, work environment, and policies can all affect the likelihood that a parent will continue to breastfeed; an important fact that was never once covered in my pregnancy books.
In Skagit County, there are resources and supports available to new parents—many of which are breastfeeding-positive and inclusive. That said, it is the hope of this proclamation, and this year’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month, that many barriers to breastfeeding that currently exist in our community are removed in the days, months, and years to come.
Are you pregnant, preparing for a baby, or a new parent?
For a list of local resources—classes, support groups, clinics, and home visiting programs—go to: https://skagitbreastfeeding.org/resources/.
Proclamation Recognizing August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month | SKAGIT COUNTY
Tuesday, August 10th at 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
This event is open to the public!
Attend virtually: https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/CountyCommissioners/main.htm#A
Attend in-person: Commissioner’s Hearing Room, 1800 Continental Place, Suite 100
Mount Vernon, WA 98273.
Masks are required for all individuals 5 years and older, regardless of vaccination status.