Sometime ago I wrote a piece about the reasons why I believe our society has 'lost touch' with breastfeeding.
I believe that one of the biggest factors behind the struggle some women have with both the concept and practice of breastfeeding, is that they no longer have access to support and knowledge from their fellow women. They don't see others breastfeeding - except if they attend specialist groups. The knowledge has been lost and breastfeeding is no longer considered normal.
The mothers, sisters, aunties, and grandmothers of these women quite possibly never breastfed. Even if those close to them are supportive of their desire to breastfeed, they most likely have no understanding of how to get a baby on to the breast, or of how to manage and cure common breastfeeding problems.
I was reminded of all this earlier today when a member of the DBM Facebook group wrote a question on the wall. This happens quite a lot and without fail the other members of the group bring forward their collective wisdom and empathy to help. Sometimes we share our own experiences and sometimes we post links to other advice available online.
I remembered seeing a picture in a blog piece which I thought might help the questioner, so I set about finding it. It turned out the picture I was thinking of was posted by a fellow blogger and myth-buster, the Leaky B@@b. She had written about her own struggle with mastitis and included a few fairly intimate photos. One of the things she did to help ease her mastitis was not the sort of thing most doctors would suggest (although I do believe there are a few out there who do!), but it was exactly what several of the mums on DBM had suggested.
Her blog was both helpful and informative, and I was struck by the fact that she had (to some extent) shared herself and her journey online with a bunch of strangers. It felt like the writer was taking on the role of an older sister maybe, demonstrating a technique which was utterly female and no doubt harks back a long, long way in time.
I have posted a few intimate photographs here and there too - and to be honest sometimes I feel a bit uncomfortable having them 'out there'. Some of you have shared personal pictures too, and I'm extremely grateful to you all! Despite any personal reservations I might have about my own pictures, I think there is real power in sharing information a visual way, so I will continue to promote it here on the blog.
I 'follow' a good number of mother-bloggers out there. They provide an amazing resource. They all bring their own gifts to the table. Some are funny, some are quite factual and well-researched, some are personal and some are contraversial.
I learn from all of them and I want to say thank you.
In no particular order, I thought it might be nice for me to show my appreciation to some great websites and bloggers, and share their sites with you.
It isn't always easy to 'put yourself out there'. Although you can receive appreciation and support yourself, people do sometimes respond in a critical or negative way. That can be hard. No-one likes criticism or confrontation.
The bottom line is, we are all helping each other. Whether you have a blog, offer support online by responding to another mother, or simply show you support by increasing the numbers of a group - it all matters!
The shared experience, empathy, and wisdom we are all accessing through the medium of the internet is priceless. It is the C21st equivalent of the wisdom which was removed from our communities over a century ago.
It causes ripples which travel a long way - both around the world, and down through time to our daughters and grand-daughters.
It makes a difference. Thank you to all of you! It makes me feel very hopeful to see the wisdom of women being re-connected and re-shared in this way!
The Leaky B@@b
Eats on Feets
Attached at the Nip
Phd In Parenting
Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council
Breastfeeding Resources Northern Ireland
Real Baby Milk
Simply The Breast
PS - I'm almost BOUND to have forgotten someone I value - so if I have PLEASE don't take it personally, just drop me an email ;)