World Breastfeeding Week 2015 featuring Nicole K

"World Breastfeeding Week means that we have a week to focus on getting out information to the public as to why breastfeeding is normal and natural and the preferred feeding method for all children.  If we can help to normalize breastfeeding just a little bit and un-do some of the damage done in the United States with views towards public breastfeeding then we have achieved a lot!"

" What I love the most about breastfeeding my little girl is the bond that I know we have.  At 10 months old now, although very distracted when we are out and about, she gets so excited when her she knows she is getting her "milkly!"  I also love that I know she is getting so much nutrition everyday" 

" I think the most important thing is to be confident and nurse in public to help normalize breastfeeding.  Also, the support from healthcare professionals is crucial!  Doctors, nurses, etc need to support and educate on the importance of breastfeeding and get proper training and be able to recognize that they are not the breastfeeding experts and always defer to the experts (Lactation Consults) in the hospital.  Also, any mom who is breastfeeding in the hospital should be scheduled before discharge with a lactation follow-up with an IBCLC of their choice. "

"The greatest challenge was the first few weeks of nursing as my baby had a posterior tongue tie and nursing was extremely painful.  I was 100% dedicated and determined and I did not care how much pain I was in in order to provide the best nutrition for my child.  After all...I just got through natural child birth!" 

World Breastfeeding Week 2015 featuring Lara B.

"World breastfeeding week is a way for everyone (not just breastfeeding moms) to come together to recognize and support the awesomeness of breastfeeding. I think so much more needs to be done in the U.S. to support families who breastfeed. Dads, grandparents, siblings should all be celebrated because sometimes in a breastfeeding journey, it really does take a village!"

"I absolutely love the bond. The quiet and peace I feel when she's in my arms nursing is something I can't describe to people and am so grateful to have experienced. I had to have an emergency csection and didn't get to hold her for over 12 hours and couldn't nurse her for 24! But the second I held her skin to skin and she latched, she looked at me like "hey, I know you. I like it here". I love that I can comfort her in a way that no one else can. "

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"I can't stress enough how important I think paid maternity leave is. I had to return to work at 10 weeks...to a job as a nurse, working 12 hour shifts overnight. Keeping up with pumping while taking care of patients was incredibly difficult. I had to start supplementing my daughter way before I was ready because I just couldn't keep up with my supply while being away from her for so long. I think more women would continue breastfeeding longer or exclusively breastfeed longer if we allowed women to be with their babies for longer than 6 weeks!!"

"My "baby" turned one yesterday! I never had a goal and I'm glad about that. I always thought we would do it as long as it worked for us and I'm very happy to say it's still working for us!"


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 Jenny M.

"World breastfeeding week is a celebration of all women, globally, who choose to nourish their babies in the most natural way possible.  For some cultures there is simply no other way, but for women in the United States breastfeeding is somewhat controversial." 

"Breastfeeding aids in the development and growth of a baby with residual affects that last for years. Breastfeeding provides nourishment and antibodies that protect against diseases while enhancing intellectual stimulation. Most importantly though, is the bond that breastfeeding creates between a mom and baby. Breastfeeding gives me an overwhelming sense of joy and love and pride."

"We need to educate people on breastfeeding. I have co-workers that think it’s completely unfair that I get to take breaks to go pump milk for my baby. I am questioned as to why I have to pump at 10 am and 3 pm, and not during the scheduled lunch break.  I’ve tried to explain the physiology of breastfeeding, the supply and demand aspects, and of course the unwavering benefits of continuing until my baby is 1 year. Despite my efforts it is still the opinion of my co-workers that I’m just taking a leisurely break and enjoying myself. Thankfully I have the law on my side. Why can’t we support each other though? Women have dual roles. We give birth to and nourish babies and we are a part of the workforce. We need support from our co-workers…from our fellow human beings. A baby needs special attention that only a mother can provide."

"I set a goal to breastfeed for at least 6 months.  Well, I’m 2 weeks shy of my goal now and there’s no end in sight.  I know without a doubt, I will continue breastfeeding my baby for at least the first year of her life."

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. 

World Breastfeeding Week 2015

What does World Breastfeeding Week mean to you? 

"This World Breastfeeding Week, WABA calls for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work. Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed."-worldbreastfeedingweek.org

Over the month of July I photographed several mamas in the South Jersey area and asked them what breastfeeding meant to them. Why is it important to normalize breastfeeding? What does it mean to be able to breastfeed in public? How can we make breastfeeding a better experience for working moms? Each day this week I will feature a mama and her personal experience with breastfeeding because everyone's journey is significantly different. Thank you to all of the mamas who participated.