My name is Mariana Bigio, and this is my story...
When my first child was born, I was lucky to have someone at my side that helped me to breastfeed him at the delivery room. The next few feedings seemed to be fine, until we came back home. That first night at home was unforgettable. He simply couldn’t latch on, so we spent the entire night crying and trying to breastfeed him. The next morning Kate, my doula, came by, and she worked the entire morning with me trying to latch the baby on. But he was so upset, that simply was not able to grab my breast. I didn’t know much about breastfeeding at that time, I just wanted to do it, and I was willing to do whatever it took me; it was more like a challenge to me, or probably instinct. Finally, at 3 pm we managed to latch him on for 5 minutes, only five minutes; and then, he fall for a long sleep. Three hours later, Kate called me to ask about the baby. I told her he was still sleeping “everybody here told me to let him sleep”. “Ok..., that’s not OK”, she said, “you must wake him up; pump, and give him whatever milk you can get in a syringe; and then try to latch him on”; and then, she added: “it’s almost 24 hours for your baby without any food, you’re in the border line of an emergency; so, if this doesn’t work, we’ll have to take other measures...”
Woa! "Measures"? I didn't know exactly what that meat, but she sounded worried... So we did exactly what she said. I pumped, and got about 2 ml of colostrum, and gave it to my baby. Right after that, I began to nurse him, and magically he latched on! From that moment, I remember myself praying and thanking G-d every time he was able to latch on and nurse, it seemed to me like a miracle.
And that’s how this relationship started for good. But the most important thing that I want to highlight here is that I breastfed my child for the time I decided to do so, and no one else and nothing else interfered in my decision.
As a professional in law and conflict resolution, I always thought on breastfeeding as a health science, and probably thought about that very few times in my life. Breastfeeding certainly is a woman’s choice. Yet, sadly, most women lack of enough information and support to make it, and sustain it for the time they truly want to.
So, with this thought in my mind constantly, I decided to take a step forward -from being a breastfeeding mom to become a lactation educator/consultant- when I realized I was thirsty of knowledge, and I must be able to pass it on. In these industrialized formula-feeding times, breastfeeding is a woman and baby’s right. I want every woman to make a conscious choice for the sake of her children. I want to empower women in their right to feed their babies the way they believe is the best for them.
Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed a baby; but ironically, it does not come so “natural” to most women. The cause of that is not just the mother; the whole society is involved in this dyad. The well-known expression from that song “it takes a village to raise a child” is true! It takes a village, a whole city, to breastfeed. Mothers need support, not only from their partners and family; they need good laws, employers, health care providers, and facilities, all committed to breastfeed.
In my opinion, breastfeeding is a whole experience, it has its ups and downs, but it is definitely a privilege. Been able to feed your child, making him grow, to soothe him, and even to cure him, is such a blessing. I believe every mother should experience the joy of breastfeeding, as much as every child should receive the benefits of his own mother’s milk. That is my goal: to help every mother who wants to breastfeed, and to reach every woman I can to deliver this valuable message.