Everything about breastfeeding seems pretty second nature to me. I breastfed my four children and have been helping mothers breastfeed for over twenty years. I can speak comfortably about breastfeeding to politicians and high school students, in front of television cameras and to people I meet in elevators and at parties. So when the Fusion Project asked me to teach a breastfeeding class to a group of eight moms, I did not even think twice. Until I showed up and learned my lesson.
What lesson did I learn from them? That I had absolutely nothing to teach them about breastfeeding. They are all pros. Their mothers taught them to keep their babies close, be gentle and breastfeed. And they have followed their mothers’ advice.
When I asked the mothers what they appreciate about life in Lincoln, they all said, “Freedom.” This made me think about American women who have many freedoms, including the freedom to choose to breastfeed. At the same time, American mothers often lack a support system that makes breastfeeding work for them.
The women from Thailand know breastfeeding intimately because there is no choice - it is how the women in their culture feed their babies. America is a free country and while our choices are not always easy, we wouldn’t want it any other way.
I want to welcome the new Americans, the mothers in the Fusion Project, who will now have more choices available to them. Hopefully they will continue to breastfeed their babies because it is second nature to them. Maybe we can learn from them and realize that when we have a culture that truly provides the support that mothers need to make breastfeeding work, the choice to breastfeed will be much easier!