8.10.2011

Stories from the Fair

When I signed up to work the Lactation Station at the Indiana State Fair, I had my reasons. I thought it was an awesome idea- a quiet, semi-private, cool place to go with Baby in the midst of the hot, crowded fair. I love, love, love the fair, so free tickets and parking? I'll take them. If I had the chance to say "Way to go!" to a few nursing mamas, that'd be great. What I didn't expect was the stories.

One mom came by- "I breastfed my first more than 10 years ago for only 3 months. I didn't have much support. We want to have another, and I want to do better this time."

A pregnant mom- "I want to be able to nurse. My friend who just had a baby couldn't Where can I get help?"

Another pregnant mom- "Do you have information on pumping? I'll be going back to school when the baby's born."

A mom of an 18-month-old- "He's just down to nights and mornings, by my choice. We made it 8 months before I started to cut him off. I couldn't take it."

A mom of a 10 month old- "I'd like information on donating again. I've got 10,000 ounces in my freezer."

A lady and her mom- "I'm going to grab some brochures for my boyfriend's ex. She needs help with feeding their daughter, but I don't want to be too pushy, y'know?"

A fair worker- "There's a lady at my booth that needs to pump on her break. Can she come here? Do you have an outlet available? Do you have somewhere she could keep the milk?"

A young lady taking a picture of the booth - "Oh, I have to show this to my mom. She's a lactation consultant."

The mom of a four month old  - "Recently, she's been eating around the clock, all the time. I just wanted to stop by to see if you had any ideas."


Another nursing mom and myself were working the booth. We couldn't give any expert advice, but we could share our own experience, as we both are in the midst of nursing, pumping and working while figuring this all out for the first time. We could let nursing moms know "Keep it up, you're doing great" and advise moms-to-be to "Get the best advice you can. Get help. Give it your all- it's worth it." We got to meet a couple moms who wanted to donate to the Indiana Mother's Milk Bank, and got the opportunity to thank them for literally giving of themselves.

In a state that ranks high in obesity rates and low in breastfeeding rates, the Lactation Station is a small gesture, but is one that will hopefully normalize nursing and encourage more moms to give their babies the best start possible. I had Elliott with me for the four hours I was working the booth, and he watched people, nursed, and slept. I hope I also had the chance to show that babies can be a part of normal, day-to-day activities with no problem, and that nursing isn't something that needs to be hidden in private. I'm looking forward to the next two weekends, when I'll get to hear even more stories and smile at even more babies on Saturday mornings. If you'll be at the fair, stop by and say hi!

* Speaking of normalizing breastfeeding, the top picture was taken by a four year old at a family event. The conversation went like this: "Is he sleeping?" "No, he's eating." {Kind of confused} "Can I hold him?" "No... he's eating. Maybe when he's done." {Still confused, but grabs my camera in the meantime. She did get to hold him later}

7 comments:

punkinmama said...

Way to go!

Ariel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ariel said...

What a great idea! I would love to do something like that! With all our issues breastfeeding, makes me thankful for the help I've received and makes me wanna be a lactation consultant myself. What a great outreach

Doug Powers said...

Last evening I glanced down from the office windows and there was a mother nursing her baby on the benches next to the fountain. I thought that was pretty terrific.

SoooBig.WordPress.com said...

What a great idea! Our county fair was a couple of weeks ago - I wish I would have thought of this!

I'm visiting from the Breastfeeding Blog Hop. Great site! :)

Crystal
http://www.SoooBig.com

The Slacker Mom said...

The first time I nursed Judah in public was at the Minnesota State Fair at the lactation station. I was actually really happy I had a reason to sit in a big comfy rocker with a fan blowing on me because it was HOT! I doubt I'll be that lucky this year, he's too busy to nurse during the day anymore.

Kellie Hudson Bowling said...

Stopping by from the Breastfeeding Blog Hop. I love the idea of a lactation station!! That is pure awesomeness!! What a great way to spread a positive word about breastfeeding and offer support and encouragement to moms and moms to be!

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