Ruthie is the mother of four children, ages 12, 10, 22 months and 8 months. She breastfed each of her three oldest children for more than a year and is currently breastfeeding her youngest.
What motivated you to breastfeed?
When pregnant with my first child, I read a lot. I learned of all the natural methods that were available to me. Breastfeeding was for me. I decided that early on.
What is the history of breastfeeding like in your family?
My mother and grandmother did not breastfeed. I was fed formula.
What was your attitude toward breastfeeding before having done it yourself?
I always thought it was the best thing for a baby.
What were the early days of breastfeeding like?
I was in extreme pain. My nipples bled, like many mothers. I knew that might happen though, because of the classes I took with a Bradley Method instructor.
What has been your biggest breastfeeding-related challenge?
Only the pain in the beginning. It was always the same pain in the early days of my newborn’s life.
What has been easiest about breastfeeding?
Not having to worry about buying formula. Its free!!!
How has breastfeeding changed from one child to the next?
Everything was the same. We always experienced the latching troubles in the beginning, but then after about 6 weeks we were good. I never gave supplements. I never listened to the nurses and doctors and mother-in-law who told me I was starving my child.
How long did/will you breastfeed? How long exclusively?
The first until about 15 months. The second boy, I breastfed until 27 months. The third baby girl (9 yrs later) breastfed until 13 months only because I got pregnant again, and my milk started to lessen. The fourth is currently breastfeeding and will until he wants to wean. I always let them wean themselves.
Who have been your breastfeeding role models?
Just my Bradley teacher in the beginning. No one else I knew breastfed except for La Leche League women.
How did you learn to breastfeed?
Bradley Method instructor who was also a lactation consultant.
What’s the best/worst breastfeeding advice you’ve ever received?
My MIL (Mother-in-law) said to her daughter she couldn’t breastfeed because she had small boobs.
Have you experienced any negative reactions from others regarding breastfeeding?
No, but I try not to be too controversial. I wear cover-ups, and I don’t make eye contact with strangers if I breastfeed in public. I’m usually at the park with other moms, if I do or (I’m) somewhere with my husband. I fixate on my husband or whomever I’m talking to and ignore everyone else. I’m sure some probably send looks of disgust but I try not to care.
Who has been your biggest supporter about breastfeeding?
My husband and mother.
What is/was your breastfeeding routine like?
Around the clock, all the time with the babies until they were 1 yr old. Then I may begin to run away from them and distract them with toys, so I can get things done and not be sitting on my butt all day. I can feed using a sling, but sometimes I need a break. lol
How do/did you handle separations from your breastfeeding child?
I didnt separate. I was lucky to be with them always.
Is there anything that you wish you would have done differently?
With my third baby girl who is now 22 months…(sigh), I wish I could have breastfed her through the pain. I became pregnant with my fourth child even though I was feeding her around the clock still. She barely ate any solids and was mostly on breastmilk. I wish I would have continued to breastfeed her throughout the feeling of drying up. I may have been able to continue the milk supply throughout the pregnancy like other moms have done. I’m sad that she was the only one who was cut short.
What would you say to a woman who is unsure about whether or not to breastfeed?
I always tell them to keep doubting moms and moms- in-law away. Lock yourself in a room with your newborn if they are around and ignore the negative input. Don’t believe your baby isn’t getting enough milk. It may hurt, but try it anyway. It will get easier. Call someone who knows to help you.
2 thoughts on “Ruthie’s Story – Preparation is key to success”
Thanks for sharing! Very encouraging. Way to go!!
I am happy to see your website which encourages black women to breastfeed.I hope you can visit our website which also encourages breastfeeding and offer some teaching techniques.
Would love to hear from you,not sure which state you are working from here in US.Thank you for sharing Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition pictures.
Your pictures are an example of what we wanted to reveal in the Naiomi and Ruth Project.
Good Luck and keep up the wonderful work you do for Moms and Babies.
Terry Jo Curtis IBCLC
Founder Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition