Hi everyone and welcome to another round of Mom Chat! Today, we’ve had the pleasure to speak with Meigan Alexander, Founder of BettyRuth along with her Mom, Carla Powell. We reached out to them to learn more about the different generational knowledge that surrounded them during their breastfeeding journeys!
Carla: In the time in which Meigan was born, Lamaze classes played a big role in promoting breastfeeding. Couples who took their classes were encouraged to breastfeed their babies. Because of this, nursing was not a completely weird concept, but it wasn’t completely widespread either.
Meigan: These days, breastfeeding is the popular thing to do. That being said, it wasn’t the reason that I chose to do it. I grew up knowing that we had been breastfed and therefore, I was ready to do the same for my children.
Carla: We had moved to Dilworth in 1977 when breastfeeding was still not the norm. However, in addition to the encouragement provided by Lamaze classes, most of my friends who had babies, or were expecting, were already nursing and/or planning to. Because of this, many of us were on the same page when it came to breastfeeding which provided us with a sense of togetherness.
Meigan: Definitely my mom! During the tough times and the easy, she encouraged me to keep at it. When my son, JJ, was 4 months old, I made the decision to supplement with formula. My mom reassured me that we had to do what was right for us and that supplementing didn’t mean I would have to give up nursing altogether. For as long as I have been breastfeeding, my mom has been rooting me on!
Carla: I don’t really remember being given much (or any) advice! Breastfeeding, in my opinion, was going to be the easiest option for me, so I went for it. Between not running into any latching issues with Meigan and not having to wash extra paraphernalia, nursing was a win-win decision for me!
Meigan: You have to do what’s right for your family. Others will always want to weigh in on your breastfeeding decisions, but you don’t have to accept their advice! Also, don’t think too much about breastfeeding unless you have an issue. Using your natural ability to nurse will get you further than you think! And last but not least, RELAX, RELAX, RELAX & drink lots of water! Nursing requires you to be in good health, so take care of yourself.
Carla: I knew early on that Meigan was going to breastfeed to the best of her ability. Because of that, I didn’t really need to encourage her too much! Meigan did run into a few problems during her nursing journey that I didn’t have experience with. But because she is a researcher, she found the way to handle those issues in the way she was comfortable with. In those times, I told her to remember that “this, too, shall pass.”
Meigan: As a new mom, anything and everything is new and overwhelming! My mom didn’t find it necessary to always be the one to hold or take care of JJ, instead, she took the time to take care of me and make sure I was doing okay. That was more important to me than I can tell you! Because my mom would help with making meals or cleaning up around the house, I was able to focus solely on JJ. With that focus, I found the right path to begin a successful nursing journey with him. With Baby #2, I knew what I was doing, but my mom was still there for me during the tough days! There was one particular instance in which I had a clogged duct and my mom took care of JJ so that I could focus on nursing Kedar and getting rid of the clot.
Carla: Surround yourself with people who will support you! If you are not getting the support you need from your family, then use your friends as your support system. Additionally, if people are not helpful, smile & ignore! You don’t need to listen to everyone’s advice, instead, do what is best for you.
Meigan: Don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed by information you read or advice you receive before the baby arrives. Women have been nursing for thousands of years and our bodies are made to do this! While some women have trouble with breastfeeding, it is not always a major issue and sometimes can be corrected quickly. Like any good relationship, the breastfeeding relationship between you and baby takes time. There is a learning curve involved for both parties! In the early tough days of nursing both of my boys, I would tell them, “I know it’s hard, but we’re in this together. We can do this together, just work with me.” You have to put in the time and effort, but in the end, it is so worth it.
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