I feel like my life revolves around breastfeeding at the moment. Learning about it…not doing it. I’ve also been doing a lot of pondering about how, on the one hand, breastfeeding is a totally natural thing (I mean, women have been doing it for millennia), yet on the other hand it’s an incredibly deep and complicated subject. I mean that in terms of the physiology of milk production and release, health benefits for both mother and child, and the various problems (physical, emotional, logistical and societal) that can get in the way of this very natural behavior.
My knowledge about breastfeeding has grown exponentially in the past week, through reading, client sessions, discussions with the dietitians, nurses and nutrition assistants at my WIC clinic, and one very informative “baby shower” breastfeeding class lead by a very experienced, enthusiastic, caring peer counselor who has breastfed all of her own children. And, yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
For example, the WIC RDs know waaaay more than I do, and continue to attend advanced breastfeeding training sessions. But even they don’t know everything. In some cases, a WIC client will need to be referred to a lactation consultant, who knows even more about the topic, including how to troubleshoot when an infant isn’t latching correctly, or milk just won’t come in, or you have it. One of the RDs was studying to become a lactation consultant (she just took the test), and lent me her textbook for a project I was researching. A huge textbook, just on breastfeeding!
Again, it boggles the mind about how something so simple can be so complex. I’ve long known and believed that breast milk is superior nutrition for babies, but now I’m really on the bandwagon, 200%.
Less than two weeks left in my internship. I’m still enjoying it, but I am looking forward to being finished, so I can get back to writing the really big paper that is my thesis.