Breastfeeding from the beginning of time has been a necessary exchange of life-giving nutrients. A means by which the whole of existence could survive and thrive. For some it was out of necessity, for others duty and then there are those women who bring breastfeeding to a whole different level. Breastfeeding as a way of life, as art and a way of expression, willing to open themselves up and share visually with everyone. This is the first interview in a series of inspiring breastfeeding mamas, just like yourself, who take the art of breastfeeding to another level. My first interview is with a lovely woman from Queensland, Australia, named Jolene Reyes. Jolene is a mama to five wildlings, a wife and a lover of life itself. I have had the pleasure of following Jolene through her Instagram feed @little.olive.bird for several years now. The way in which she writes is both honest and refreshing. She speaks very candidly about many subjects with breastfeeding being the main focus at this time in her life. I had the great fortune of interviewing Jolene this week and this is what she shared with us about her breastfeeding journey thus far.
Aimee :: What has been your biggest challenge when breastfeeding?
Jolene :: With my first, Milo, it was the pain of having my milk come in for the first time. I had knockers from hell. Swollen, red, leaky, sensitive boobies. I used cabbage leaves to help soothe and I let Milo feed as often as he could. It soon settled into a supply demand situation after the first 12 weeks with my second, Archie. I thought it would be breeze having done it before, but I actually found it all new feeding a different baby.
There was a 'clucking' sound when he fed suggesting he was taking in air, so I tried often to re-latch. I tried different positions and stuffing as much nipple in as possible. With Jasper, I had no trouble, and when it came time to tandem feeding the girls, I just knew what to do by then. We had a beautiful time feeding on demand, helped mainly by co-sleeping. I'd simply have them snuggled in the crook of my arm, sucking as I drifted back to slumber.
Aimee :: How have you changed your diet to support breastfeeding your children?
Jolene :: In the early days as newborns, when wind was a factor, I eliminated chocolate, citrus and dairy as possible triggers, along with foods like cabbage, broccoli and onion. I found this to be effective along with the use of babybiotics (a probiotic to help with digestive and gut health). As a mother tandem feeding toddlers, I just eat ALL THE THINGS. Depending on what part of my cycle I am on dictates how nutritious or sugar binging I am! I just go with whatever my body craves. For a while there it was smoked salmon, heaps of avocado, baby spinach, olives, cheese. When I start to bleed, I crave all the sweet things and go nuts on crunchy bars, ice cream, juices. I'm ravenous all the time. And when I eat at meal time, I wolf it down and take seconds and thirds. When I can remember, or when I feel depleted, I take magnesium, vitamin B, maca and probiotics.
Aimee :: Would you please share with us some of your favourite authors/bloggers/Instagrammers that you've found most inspirational.
Jolene :: What inspires me most is when I see an everyday mama feeding, at home, in a restaurant, at the tire repair shop, walking through the grocery store.... Everywhere! Also seeing pictures come up on my Instagram of women feeding their babes, I love it! I like following @empoweredbirthproject, @documentingdelight, @bosomnectar, @themelroys and @breastfeedingart.
Aimee :: What is your typical response when someone noses in and asks when you plan to wean?
Jolene :: I am strong now, and I know that it is my choice to breastfeed for as long as me and my babies enjoy it. I don't care what people think. Sometimes I feel Lance's struggle with that tight bond that a feeding mother and baby has, and how difficult it can be for him. Especially when he tries to soothe them, and all they want is "mama and booby".
Aimee :: What has been the biggest benefit for you personally?
Jolene :: Breastfeeding has been such an easy out for me. It really fits into my lazy side. If a baby needs to be soothed, I just whip out a boob and voila. Silence. If there is fear, hunger, craziness, it can all be tamed with that loving skin to skin milky time. I feed them to sleep when they are tired, and I feed them when they crave that connection. I feed them when I forget to bring food or drink and I feed them if they are in an uncomfortable situation. It's always there, available to them. Booby Milk isn't just a food for them, it's a way of life for us right now.
Interview by Aimee Canterbury, Bosom Nectar Support Circle, @6HappySparrows