World Breastfeeding Week 2015 featuring Kate & Sheree

"To me it means the opportunity to have our voices heard. The more people talk about breastfeeding, the more people see other moms breastfeeding, the more normal it becomes. Some people claim to be offended by mothers breastfeeding in public but are more than okay with women walking around in bikinis. I'd like to challenge that idea and get people thinking a little more."-Kate

"World breastfeeding week has become very important to me now as a breastfeeding mama. I have come to realize the importance to normalize breastfeeding in the world today and to make it acceptable and comfortable for everyone. To have a week where moms around the world can promote such a special, healthy, and natural experience has become so inspiring to me. No breastfeeding mother should ever feel uncomfortable or judged for providing the best possible nutrition for their child. Helping to educate the public in normalizing this has become a huge inspiration for myself during world breastfeeding week. "-Sheree

"The first 6 weeks were so challenging. I had a 36 hour labor where I was pumped full of fluids which I believe inflated my babies birth weight. Birth weight is the "magic" number as far as weight gain goes for breastfed babies (according to MOST pediatricians). They like babies to get back to birth weight as soon as possible but it took us 4 grueling weeks to get there. Those weeks were filled with weight checks at the doctors office, constant stress about my supply, and of course, LOTS of support from the lactation consultants at South Jersey Breastfeeding Center. In fact, I saw them the day after I was discharged from the hospital before most of my friends had even met the baby."-Kate

"The best advice I could give, is don't compare yourself to others and don't give up without a fight. Breastfeeding doesn't come easy especially in the beginning when you are getting an hour of sleep. Also, every mom and their body is different, so don't compare yourself to everyone else and trust in your body. There will be bumps in the road but as long as you do the best you can that's what matters most!"-Sheree

"Have realistic goals. Make sure you understand that it can be very challenging for some moms and babies. Have a prenatal appointment with a lactation consultant and follow up as soon as you can after discharge from the hospital. While in the hospital utilize the LC that they have. ASK FOR HELP." -Kate

"Now almost 7 months in, NO! I never thought I would make it this far. Before giving birth I was so scared I wouldn't be able to breastfeed. I was scared that it would hurt too bad. I was scared my milk wouldn't come in or that my baby might not take to breastfeeding. All my friends who have had children only breastfed for short periods of time and so I set myself up for the same kind of journey. But now almost 7 months in on my own journey I was completely wrong and have found a huge support group of strong and supportive moms that have been so supportive to one another." - Sheree

"I love that it's natural (and FREE!). I love the special bond and alone time it gives me with the baby, I love when she's eating and just stares in my eyes. Lately she had been unlatching just to smile up at me. It is the best." - Kate

"I love that I am able to be the one to provide my child her nutrition in the most natural and healthy way!" - Sheree

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World Breastfeeding Week 2015 featuring Lauren J.

"To me, World Breastfeeding Week is an opportunity to celebrate the importance, joys, and challenges of breastfeeding and to show the world that it is a beautiful, natural, and normal thing to do. We all have to feed our babies, and if World Breastfeeding Week helps a few Moms feel less nervous doing so in public and educates a few people to be kinder and more understanding towards breastfeeding mamas than it will have been a success!"

I would tell a new mom wanting to breastfeed that she can do it! I would encourage her to trust that her body and her baby will work together in the way that is right for them. I would definitely tell her to reach out to community supports - like a local breastfeeding center - where she can meet with lactation consultants and build a network of support from other breastfeeding moms. There is so much conflicting information out there from pediatricians, well-meaning family and friends, and the internet that it can be easy to get overwhelmed and give up. Surround yourself with people who have the same goal as you and professionals who are trained in helping you meet that goal (whatever it may be)!

 When I was pregnant, my goal was to breastfeed until my baby turned one. Once she was born, I was lucky to have a (mostly) easy time learning to breastfeed and getting into a good routine with her. However, there were many times - especially early on - when I felt completely overwhelmed by the pressure to provide for her and not knowing 'if I was doing it right'. Exhaustion and self-doubt are a deadly combination and I definitely had my moments of thinking I couldn't do it any longer. Now that baby is almost 9 months old and the 1 year mark is quickly approaching, I find myself hoping we will surpass that goal. Breastfeeding provides us with a few minutes to really connect and put the rest of the world on hold, and I'll miss those moments with my daughter when they're gone.