Finding my Sisters

Abigail Walston

Posted By: Abigail Walston

I'm returning to work as a teacher in September. I'm not a big fan of pumping and my son has rarely used bottles so I know that going back to work is going to be a big adjustment for both of us.

When it comes to breastfeeding support, I'm pretty lucky. My whole family supports my decision to breastfeed. I grew up seeing my mom nurse my little brothers for what some might call an extended time but was quite normal for us. It's my culture, and it has come pretty naturally to me. However, how many of my friends are currently breastfeeding their children? ZERO.

I do have friends who nursed their children or exclusively pumped but none right now. I talk to my coworkers about it a lot, and they offer advice and tips about pumping at work. It's been valuable, but I kind of wish I had a comrade; I wish I knew someone who is currently breastfeeding and pumping, just like me. A sister, so to speak.

I found that sisterhood online. There are tons of nursing moms writing about their experiences on blogs, Facebook and Twitter. So far along the way, they've been there to answer the questions I've asked: How much milk should be in Joshua's bottles, and how many should I leave with my childcare provider? How do you increase your milk supply? What's your best pumping tip?

These online sisters inspire me, too. I've made friends with so many different nursing moms. A mom who stopped nursing her son sooner than she wanted to, but is determined to nurse her second child for longer. A mom who is nursing through pregnancy. A mom who tandem-nurses her toddler and infant. A mom who worked and expressed milk for her first child and is now back to work after giving birth to her second child. A mom who pumped and donated milk after a heartbreaking miscarriage, so that something good could come out of it. Moms who have nursed 4 or more children. Moms who have nursed their children for extended periods of time. Moms who have co-slept and nursed their babies all night. Moms who have persevered through rough starts to nursing. And lots and lots of other moms who are inspiring in other ways too.

My online sisters cheer me on, especially when I'm down, reminding me that I'm doing what's best for Joshua. A simple "You're awesome!" from a Twitter friend really brightens a rough day!

It means so much to me to have found this sisterhood online. Now I do my best to cheer on other moms who are talking about breastfeeding online, just like I would if I saw them nursing in public. I join breastfeeding groups on Facebook and attend #breastfeeding Twitter parties. I ask questions, share my stories and encourage other nursing moms, in turn becoming part of their support network.

12:00pm on Wednesday February 2
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6 comments

Comments



Adrienne
6:34pm on Friday February 4

Hi Abbie,
I taught with your lovely mother for 2 years and am now a stay-at-home mom of 2 boys.

I nursed my first son for 2 years and am now nursing our second son for nearly a year. I co-slept with both infants (still with the second) and nurse throughout the night on demand. I love it and don't really care that my pediatrician (who is generally fabulous) thinks I'm crazy!

Thank you for your blog. We nursing mamas have to stick together and spread the word.

Amanda
5:29pm on Thursday February 3

From one sister to another, I have felt your pain girl:)
When my first child was born I wored full time as a nurse. I would head down the hall every 3 hours with my medela and pump away. I wish I had known bloggin then, because most of the women I worked with were formula feeders and the other mamas stayed at home and didn’t have to worry about it.

Im expecting my third child now and am home full time. It took me 6years and laying down {for me} my dreams to follow God’s calling for me to be mother…
simply,humbly…full time.

How blessed you are to have that online sister hood. I think it’s easy to give up on breast feeding because of lack and support.

I could rant on and one.

***something that helped me when I worked full-time and and pumped everyday was to not slack. The more I pumped, the more my milk supply was kept up. Its easy to slack at work, because frankly, it's not that rewarding feeding a pump. But it's important to keep it up if you plan on extended breast feeding.

Good Luck!

Julia @ Natural Parents Network
11:08am on Thursday February 3

The internet is a wonderful place to find like-minded mothers when you feel all alone in the "real" world. I have found such great support from moms I've never met.

Ruth
6:22am on Thursday February 3

How wonderful that you've found that sisterhood online! Have you ever thought about becoming a Lactation Consultant, even an online one?

I'm so glad that you saw extended nursing in our family as something natural, which it is!

Love,
Mom

Amber
1:18am on Thursday February 3

It's funny how you move from the person being supported to the person doing the supporting. It's a great feeling, honestly, when you know that you're able to help someone else.

To sisterhood!

2bkate
1:34pm on Wednesday February 2

Glad to go through our first babies together. It totally helps to have cheerleaders. You've been one of mine too.

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