What an impressive juggling act! Hats off to you. You’re doing important work!
Let me tell you about a few of the resources available for you locally:
• UNC Student Parent Association
• UNC Parenting Resource Guide is a great way to get oriented about services available to you through UNC and in the community at large.
• List of lactation spaces on UNC Campus
• La Leche League of Chapel Hill is a group where experienced mothers support women who are figuring breastfeeding out.
Personally, I didn’t really know much about breastfeeding until I trained as a doula (a doula stays with a laboring woman, not as part of the healthcare team, but as an attendant who provides emotional, physical & informational support). I was blown away when I learned about the emotional, nutritional, and health benefits for women & children that come through breastfeeding.
• The physical contact helps women and babies bond.
• The baby receives IgA antibodies through the mother’s breast milk that provide a natural passive immunity while the baby’s own immune system gets up & running.
• Babies instinctively drink the right quantity of breast milk, so they reduce their risk of over-nourishment.
• When babies latch on to the nipple, breast milk goes right down their throats without lingering in the mouth so the risk of dental cavities is reduced.
• Breastfeeding helps women lose weight after pregnancy and reduces risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Even if you aren’t thinking about having kids right now, it’s valuable for everyone to understand breastfeeding and benefits in order to be more supportive of nursing women. Breastfeeding can be challenging; many women have a difficult time with various parts of breastfeeding including latching, production, emotions, balance, and more. In other words, nursing women need all the support they can get!
FYI, in North Carolina it’s legal for a woman to breastfeeding in any public or private location without being in violation of indecent exposure laws. On top of that legal foundation, I hope we can have a culture on campus where all nursing Tarheels feel comfortable and respected breastfeeding their children.
Stay tuned for more! My next project is to examine a birth control method I’ve never understood: LAM, aka Lactational Amenorrhea Method, aka breastfeeding-as-contraception.