Her eyes filled with tears. “I tried,” she whispered from behind the store counter. “I couldn’t get the baby to latch right, and it just hurt too much.” She wiped a tear away quickly so the other customers in the store wouldn’t see. “I wanted so badly to breastfeed.”
My heart ached for this woman, a stranger I had met when I purchased a t-shirt from her store, and asked her about her due date. A few weeks ago, she was hopeful and excited for the birth of her baby. I had drawn her into a conversation about breastfeeding, and she was eager to give her baby the very best. Now she stood before me, tears trickling down her face, her dreams of nursing her newborn shattered, her hopes of seeing her baby snuggle up to her breast and drink deeply of her life-giving milk dashed after weeks of unnecessary and untreated blisters and bleeding. As the details of her birth and postpartum days spilled out, I knew that she, like millions of women each year, had been sabotaged by the Booby Traps–the barriers to breastfeeding that keep most moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals.
Sadly, this new mother didn’t know that she had been set up to fail; she blamed herself and her body, and her guilt and anguish were overwhelming her. Her baby had already been to the doctor more than necessary. I consoled her, a bit awkwardly as a total stranger who had seen her only once before, and reassured her from my heart that her baby needed her love most of all, and that she would be a wonderful mother. But at the same time, my heart sank with sorrow for her loss; the loss of her dream of bonding with her baby through this special act of love, the lost opportunity to be empowered by mastering breastfeeding, the lost opportunity to protect herself and her baby from scores of immediate and lifetime illnesses.
As I left the store, my anger welled up. I knew the hospital where this woman gave birth was notorious for providing poor breastfeeding support. I knew that she was the first in her family to try breastfeeding, and had no support from her mother or husband. I knew that she was too shy at her new job to ask for longer breaks to pump. Trying not to be a pushy stranger, I had gently given her a quick list of books and resources when she was still pregnant, but doubted that she had been able to afford them, or had attended the class I had suggested. I knew that there was no La Leche League meeting in our area, and that her insurance didn’t cover a visit with the outstanding lactation consultant I had recommended. I knew that in the 360 degrees that surrounded this woman, my few minutes with her were not enough to counteract all the negative influences around her.
“How long will we—will our society— let millions of mothers and babies struggle at breastfeeding in vain, and suffer pain, disappointment and heartache?” I asked my co-founder Danielle Rigg yet again. This is the question we have asked ourselves since Danielle refused to let me fail, and cried to me over the mothers she had prepared for breastfeeding, only to see them succumb to the Booby Traps. “How long will we let this vicious cycle continue, and let mothers, babies, and our global health, happiness and environment suffer the consequences?”
No more! We are resolved to break down the barriers so that more mothers do not have to suffer as this mother did . . . as we did . . . and as you did. And we need your help.
Won’t you please make a donation of $10 . . . $20 . . . . $50 . . . $100 . . . help us Beat the Booby Traps, not moms? All this month, your donation will be matched by our proud sponsor Earth Mama Angel Baby, dollar for dollar! By acting now, you can turn your $10 into a $20 donation, doubling your gift, and doubling our ability to help more moms.
If you’re tired of seeing moms berated for breastfeeding, your $10 donation—doubled to $20—will support our Facebook community for one day, where we cheer moms on, explain the latest research, and share your best tips. Almost 9,000 moms are being reached with the best information, stories and tools!
If you’re tired of a bottle-feeding culture, then your donation will allow us to interview celebrities for their exclusive breastfeeding stories, and share their successes with millions of moms–thanks to our partnership with People.com–along with our list of resources and evidence-based information. $20—doubled to $40—pays for 3 hours of transcribing and editing the interview.
If you’re tired of seeing moms helped by health care providers that only give lip service to breastfeeding, then your donation of $50—doubled to $100—will allow us to print and hand out 200 cards with our list of resources at Big City Moms expecting mom events.
If you’re tired of watching hospitals hand out “breastfeeding bags” filled with poor advice and formula samples and coupons, then your donation will help us raise awareness of alternatives, as well as promote Baby Friendly USA, which helps hospitals achieve a special designation for being truly supportive of breastfeeding by following a rigorous set of criteria.
If you’re tired of seeing moms bombarded with ads for unhealthy feeding choices that are portrayed as “closer than ever” and almost as good as breastmilk, then your donation will help fund our public service ad campaign that has already appeared in USA Today, Fit Pregnancy, and 60-Second Parent magazines in hospital waiting rooms. While the ad campaign was donated pro-bono (a six-figure gift), your donation of $100 moves us closer to splashing it across billboards and bus stations, letting moms know that they, and the amazing milk only they can make, are the true miracle. With your help, we can make our clever and captivating ads as common as Geico’s adorable gecko!
We have big dreams. Dreams of seeing the day when women are being cheered on, coached and celebrated instead of being pressured, judged or made to feel guilty. Dreams of seeing moms achieve their personal breastfeeding goals, and be loved and appreciated by a culture that values breastfeeding and donated human milk. Dreams of seeing all the women tried to breastfeed but couldn’t, or decided not to breastfeed for a myriad of valid reasons, stand up for their daughters, their sisters and their friends’ right to be allowed to breastfeed successfully, and be allowed to nurse anywhere and everywhere, as long as they want. Dreams of seeing fathers, grandmothers and strangers walk or run with us to make THIS cause, the mother of all causes (because it is the mother of all protection), the most well-endowed cause of them all. (Puns are part of the fun we have.) Dreams of systematically putting pressure on the boobytraps by rewarding and recognizing the positive without hesitating to call out the negative. Dreams of building our fun, irresistable and savvy way of reaching moms, influencing the media and rallying everyone around this cause, into a snowball that can not be stopped.
But we can’t make these dreams come true, unless you stand by our side. You’ve already told us you love us, that you’ve been waiting for a hip, smart, and mainstream organization to help breastfeeding moms, that we have the right approach. We’ve learned that our materials, and our website, is being used by breastfeeding counselors around the globe, from Africa to Indonesia. We’ve been cheered on at breastfeeding conferences as we share our vision and charge the crowd . . . an icon in the breastfeeding movement recently told us that our presentation was the most exciting thing she had seen in 15 years!! You’ve raised the battle cry with us that we won’t allow the voice of protection and prevention to be silenced, and we’ve felt your enthusiasm for everything we do. But only you can help us turn that excitement into action. A donation from you, doubled by Earth Mama Angel Baby, . . . whether it is $10 or $20 or $50 or even $100 . . . will put the fuel in our rocket, and allow us to blow up the booby traps that keep swallowing unsuspecting moms.
A breastfeeding mom needs your help. Please help us help her today!
Bettina & Danielle
Donate Now: bestforbabes.org/donate