Nips, Lips, Hips, ‘N Fingertips

{November 18, 2006}   Everything I needed to know about Birth

…I learned from Breastfeeding. Yeah, you read that right. Because I breastfed a baby before I gave birth to one. My firstborn was delivered via Cesarean surgery, and it rattled me to my core, but was the stepping off point for many new truths that I now hold dear.

Here is what I learned from my baby, and all of the wise women of La Leche League:

  • The consumption of food and healthful drinks need not be restricted in pregnancy, labor or while breastfeeding. (“Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.”)  
  • Prenatal care that follows the Midwifery Model of Care supports the healthy growth of women and babies. (“Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.”) 
  • Pregnancy and labor are a time of complex, intense, symbiotic communication between the baby’s brain and his mother’s brain. (“Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.”)
  • The calendar is not helpful. (Watch the baby/momma, not the calendar.)
  • The clock is not necessary. (Watch the baby/momma, not the clock.)
  • Birth doesn’t have to hurt. (Breastfeeding doesn’t have to hurt- and shouldn’t.)
  • You can sleep between contractions (nursings) and must!  (Sleep when baby sleeps.)
  • Birth works best without intervention. (“Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.”) 
  • Natural birth is best for mom *and* baby. (“Breastmilk is the superior infant food.”)
  • Separation after birth (for “routine” procedures such as weighing, measuring, and bathing) is unnecessary and inhumane to the newborn baby and mother. (“Baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.”)
  • Mother is the only sustenance necessary for the healthy, newborn baby. She has the ability to help regulate his temperature and breathing- veen if he is premature- and can calm him with her voice alone.  (“For the healthy, full-term baby, breastmilk is the only food necessary until baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.”)
  •  It takes *at least* a year after childbirth to regain ones strength and recover from the stress of pregnancy, childbirth and the sleep-deprived, postpartum period.  (“Ideally, the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.”)
  • The experience of birth impacts the entire family negatively or positively, whether it is one that ends in surgery, a vaginal delivery, or loss. (“Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help and companionship of the baby’s father (partner). A father’s (co-parent’s) unique relationship with his (her) baby is an important element in the child’s development from early infancy.”)
  • New mothers need the encouragement and support of other mothers. (“From infancy on, children need loving guidance, which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings.”)

Thank you, La Leche League,  and thank you, “Yummy” boy!!

Inspired by Hathor’s Attending La Leche League Meetings Is Political Action, in her new book THE MILK OF HATHOR! THE BREASTFEEDING COMICS, available now at


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