It Takes a Village to Breastfeed a Child

Mona Hickey

Posted By: Mona Hickey

I went back to work at eight weeks. The biggest fear I have is that my milk is going to dry up. I can't stress out because it zaps milk supply! How do I keep zen about something I have become obsessed with?

I have had my personal website since 1999 when I was in high school and needed an outlet for my obtuse thoughts and general teenage malaise. It wasn't until 2004 when I was in college that I started actively blogging again, chronicling my life as a student, then graduate, then mom and now a frazzled woman who is trying to have enough time in the morning to eat properly and not just rushing out the door scarfing down some turkey bacon that was only fried on one side because I didn't have enough time to flip it over.

My website has changed along with me and so have my readers. While there is some risk in exposing the vulnerabilities I experience as a mom, the benefits greatly outweigh that. With breastfeeding, I had so many issues early on — from nipple trauma to low supply — that it was incredibly benefitting to tap into a resource much larger than the one I had offline. I could just post to my blog about how tired I was and even if the comments weren't solution-oriented and just like a virtual hug, a shout out that fills in the whorl of my ear, "Sister friend, hang in there."

When I have had moments of triumph, of pure happiness, the first thing I want to do is cast as wide a net as possible. When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I immediately posted the news to my blog and the wonderful, supportive comments filled my inbox. When I was feeling sad about the recent passing of my aunt, I received the same support, the same people and some new names who had said what I needed to hear, or read—we're sorry and we're here for you.

Breastfeeding has generated the greatest amount of response. It's a hot button topic for many reasons and I don't want to use my blog as a space for people to hash it out, I want to use it as a broadcast point for frustration or advice-seeking. And there is much advice to be shoveled my way.

I received comments on my blog that were all very helpful, eager messages that read along the same line: I bought this, it might help you! I did this routine, maybe you should try it! And it was great to file all these bits into what to do, to cherry pick out of all these words and continue to experiment until I had chiseled out what worked for me. That's what I do with any advice, online or face-to-face. I take all of it in, use what I want until it I have my own solution.

My blog has been the one asset I cannot give up. I will always pay for hosting, ad infinitum. I will always turn to it whatever state of emotion I'm floating in, whenever there is some absurdity or joy, whenever I am convinced that someone else has to hear this.

12:00pm on Monday January 17


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