MOMRadioStephaniRuperAbby Theuring is a big advocate for breastfeeding your own children. She is the owner of www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com/ and was recently on the news for sharing some of her opinions about breastfeeding and why it’s good for your children. She is also a self-identified attachment parent and today talks to Rosemary a little bit about what that means and how you can maybe become one too.

 

Key Takeaways:

2:00 – There’s a lot of moms who want to breast feed their children, but are afraid of the stigma. Abby tries to help with that.

4:45 – She struggled with breast feeding at the beginning.

8:45 – What is attachment parenting? It’s taking a more ‘villager’ old-fashion approach to just holding your baby more, sleeping with your baby more, and giving your baby more sense of touch than what modern times provides. It’s not a club, just an idea of how you can be closer to your child.

11:05 – When I became a mother, I didn’t know what was going on. She was very disconnected to her mothering instincts and it took her awhile to learn that.

15:30 – When Abby learned about attachment parenting, it all made sense to her and it made sense with how she wanted to raise her child.

17:30 – If you have a million moms in a room, you’ll have a million different ways to do things. Empowering women is not about telling them what to do it’s about helping them discover what’s right for them.

23:30 – Rosemary started Motivating Other Moms to give other moms support and thinks Abby is also helping with that message.

28:00 – Attachment parenting is about building a close bond with your child, not whether you use a stroller or not use a stroller. You can do either as long as you are building a close bond with your baby.

32:00 – Abby still breastfeeds her 3 year old and was on the news to talk about it. She thought people received it pretty well. She thought mothers appreciated her for coming out and talking about such a controversial topic.

37:00 – Why is there such a stigma to breastfeeding in public? Abby thinks we have an over-sexualized culture and women/mothers are undervalued. Formula is also widely used, so why breastfeed? We have an alternative now, therefore breastfeeding doesn’t need to be used.

42:25 – Despite reading tons of parenting books, Abby was still under prepared, which is why she created her blog.

45:40 – What is Abby’s current favorite parenting book? Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

 

Tweetables

“I was very disconnected from my mothering instincts and it took me a long time to learn about that and learn to listen to my gut” Tweet this! 

“Women are a big deal. We are really powerful and we are really strong.” Tweet this!

“Empowering women is not about telling them what to do, it’s about helping them discover what is right for them.” Tweet this!

 

Mentioned In This Episode:

www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com/

Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

 

Transcription

Rosemary Nickel:

Hi! This is Rosemary Nickel and welcome to Motivating Other Moms radio where I bring you the latest and greatest entrepreneurial moms and today I have a mommy blogger that is an advocate for breastfeeding, which I know is an extremely hot topic. I saw this mom on the news and it was all about breastfeeding in public and I thought, “You really stands on in the crowd when it comes to advocating breastfeeding and I love what you had to say about that.” With that being said, I would love to welcome Abby! Welcome Abby!!

 

Abby Theuring:

Thank you, thanks so much for having me I’m excited to be here.

 

Rosemary:

Abby is known, best known as the badass breastfeeder..You go girl! *Laughter*.

 

Abby:

Right!

 

Rosemary:

I love the name. That’s really what kind of stuck out more than anything. I saw the video clip and I’m like, “You know I want to learn more about her.” Not only was it breastfeeding in public, but you have two children that you breastfeed at the same time. You’re going beyond just the myth about breastfeeding and extending it even further.

 

Abby:

Yeah. I mean, I think there’s a lot of people doing what I do and there’s a lot of moms who are breastfeeding in public and a lot of moms tandem breastfeeding, which is what we call breastfeeding two aged children. I have a three year old and a three month old and I breastfeed both of them. I think that’s the thing about all of this.

 

It seems very controversial, seems very odd, but I think there’s a lot of moms doing it or a lot of moms who want to provide this for their children and because of this stigma in social and all of this, feel afraid to do it. I just decided to start talking about what I go through and a lot of moms have identified with that..and the name.

 

Rosemary:

And the name! How did you come up with the name?

 

Abby:

A friend of mine, I told her that I wanted to start a blog and a Facebook page about this. I was telling her my ideas and she said, “And you need to call it, The Badass Breast Feeder.” and I almost fell off my chair. I was like, “Oh my god! Yes! That’s exactly what it needs to be called.”

 

Rosemary:

*Laughter*. And there it was born.

 

Abby:

Yes it was.
Rosemary:

Whole new baby in a different way.

 

Abby:

Right.. Right! It’s definitely turned into that too. A whole different child.

 

Rosemary:

As businesses do. So when you started blogging about this, I noticed on the side of your blog you have like affiliate links or sponsors for different products that you like and it’s all about the whole know what I can trust and what works for you and you share that with other moms. When you first started blogging and becoming a mommy blogger, well one, did you consider yourself a mommy blogger and was this where you thought where it would be going?

 

Abby:

Oh god, absolutely not. This was all completely on accident. I was a social worker working as a therapist at a residential treatment center and I went on maternity leave and I had every intention of going back to work. I was very career-oriented. I had gotten my master’s degree and I had spent, you know, a good proportion on my adult life working towards being a social worker. When I got pregnant and I had all these plans. You know, maternity leave three months, pumping bottles, we’re going to do all of these and then go back to work.

 

They handed me this little boy and I was like, “What..What in the world is going on?” I mean, everything that I had thought about myself and about career and all that stuff, in a matter of two months, it just all crumbled in front of me. I don’t want to go back to work, I want to be with my baby and it all sort of stemmed from my breastfeeding struggles. I struggled really, really bad to get started with breastfeeding. I got hooked into a lot of the things that happened to moms in hospitals, where formula is sort of pushed and there’s a lot of wishes that are kind of pushed to the side, because they have policy and protocol and all of this.

 

I just was like, “I don’t know what’s going on.” and I felt really afraid of my breastfeeding relationship, kind of fumbling. I just changed. I grew as a mom and I fought through these breastfeeding struggles with the tenacity that I didn’t really know that I had. I always thought of myself as pretty badass, pretty tough, but the emotional part of that was something I just was very surprised at how hard I pushed. When I decided not to go back to work, I thought, “What am I going to do now?” Again, as a career-oriented woman, I always wanted to have something for myself and that I was doing.

 

I wrote my birth-story and I thought, “Well, that was fun.” and then I wanted to write more about this stuff and I was talking to friends about it and bouncing it off and they said, “Yeah! Why don’t you start a blog?” and I thought, “Well, I’ll start a Facebook page too where everybody can share their breastfeeding photos.” I just wrote my breastfeeding story and I floated it around to some of my friends and started a Facebook page.

 

It was suppose to be this little thing, just for us, just to be fun, just to communicate online, and people started..I think it was the name, I think it was the logo. People identified with that and my story. I was surprised to find out how many moms shared this same story and it just grew and grew and grew and it was more than what I could handle very quickly. *Laughter*.

 

Rosemary:

*Laughter*.

 

Abby:

It was growing very rapidly, so I had to get help and I got help from a lot of good help from friends who helped grow the Facebook page and help managed everything. I thought, “Well, I guess this is what it is. Maybe this is my business, maybe I could do this, maybe I could be one of those mom entrepreneurs.” That’s when I got a couple of sponsors on and got some speaking gigs through MommyCon. It’s been pretty amazing.

 

Rosemary:

So what is MommyCon?

 

Abby:

MommyCon is a national parenting convention that travels around the United States and they have awesome speakers like The Leaky Boob and The Baby Guy, and Honest Toddler. The have tons of vendors of all national baby products like state of the art equipment, strollers, car seats, cough diapers, you name it it’s there. It’s so much fun. It’s usually a day. There’s speakers on the main stage, there’s vendors in a convention hall, and it’s just a ton of fun.

 

Rosemary:

Wow, that sounds like a really cool event.

 

Abby:

It is and it’s very unique, I don’t think there’s anything out there like it. It’s growing really rapidly. I’m not surprised, because people are really, really enjoying it.

 

Rosemary:

One of the things you write about is attachment parenting. Some people may not, some of my listeners may not be aware of what attachment parenting is or may have some misinformation about what attachment parenting is. Could you please give us a little bit of a description of what that is and what it means to you?

 

Abby:

Absolutely. Well, attachment parenting the term was coined by Dr. Sears in the 70’s and he came up with some concepts around it like..Well, the most popular thing that you’ll hear associated with attachment parenting are the seven B’s, so there’s Baby Wearing, Breastfeeding, Bedding with Baby, and you go down the line and there’s seven of these ideas on how to be close to your baby. Really, I think that sometimes we get a little kind of racked up in this term-tantrum parenting of what is the exact definition.

 

I think what Dr. Sears really kind of going after was that there’s, well this is part of the misconception I think, is that it’s something new. I think what he’s trying to do is harken back to parenting just how it’s kind of always been maybe in more village settings and less modern times where people were holding their baby a lot and having more natural childbirth and they were sleeping in close quarters with their baby.

 

In modern times, we have these convenience items, which are super awesome don’t get me wrong, but they sometimes lead people down this path of being a little bit more distant from their baby. I think he’s just trying to help people deal better with their babies by focusing on the attachment and just being close to your baby. I think part of the misconception is that if you practice attachment parenting you’re a better mother or you’re more attached to your child or you have to do absolutely everything that attachment parenting talks about or you’re not an attachment parent.

 

You know, it’s not a club, it’s just an idea of how we can be closer to our babies and how we can help form positive attachments for our children. I do talk a lot about that because I feel like when I became a mom I was.. I didn’t understand what was going on. I would, for example, I always tell this story, I was walking home..My husband and I had gone out to dinner with our first son and coming home, he was just really young, couple months old, maybe not even. I had him in the stroller, pushing him down the street, and he started crying. I was like, “Oh my god. We have to get home, we have to get home.” So I started pushing it, I start freaking out, like pushing the stroller faster, “We have to get home, we have to get home!” and my husband looks at me, “Shouldn’t we just pick him up?” and I’m like, “Duh!”

 

Rosemary:

*Laughter*.

 

Abby:

Um. Yeah, you’re right! Like, why am I rushing? He doesn’t know where home is. “Oh, we’ve got to go running back to my living room.” Baby just wanted to be held by his mom. I felt like that was like, I don’t know, I was just not..I didn’t understand myself as a mother yet. I was very disconnected from my mothering instincts and it took me a long time to learn about that and learn to listen to my gut. My gut of like, “We have to get home because I want to calm my baby.” is really my gut shouting to me, “Be close to your baby, be close to your baby! That’s what your baby wants, that’s what your baby needs.”

 

The big part of the blog, probably my favorite part of the blog, is just telling a story of how I have..Just the journey of being more connected to myself and to myself and how it’s been just a very healing process and empowering process.

 

Rosemary:

One of the things that I love about your blog is that it’s so real and vulnerable in a time when a lot of people can be really, really mean because they can hide behind social media. Even in person when you’re a new mom, with all the hormones running through you, you have your idea of what’s right, and somebody else has their idea of what’s right, we turn into teenagers. We can get very vicious with each other and judgmental of, “Oh my god. You’re doing that with your baby? You’re the worst mom in the world.” We can really just make each other feel like crap in the process of trying to make ourselves feel good.

 

Have you gotten any of that with putting your blog up and sharing how you’re parenting and how you feel about parenting and you’re lifestyle of attachment parenting and whatever you’ve chosen to do to being a mom?

 

Abby:

Yes. *Laughter*. I’ve gotten a lot of that. My blog is very real, so I want to talk very real too. I’ve done that too. I’ve been on both sides of it. When I first started, I actually just wrote a post about this a couple of days ago, when I first started parenting and I first started learning.. So I first started parenting and my world was upside down and I was like, “What’s going on.”

 

My transition into mother hood was pretty tumultuous, just because I didn’t know.. I felt. I didn’t think I had postpartum depression, but I definitely had some baby blues afterwards and it was because I lived 35 years on this planet and was very set in my routine and set in my ways when I had my first son. Then I became a mom, every mom can relate to this, everything changed. I wasn’t sure who I was anymore, who I was going to be, who was this baby? Oh my god. It’s an entire world depends on me. That was some heavy duty stuff for me to absorb.

 

I didn’t really know. There was this, “My babies crying and I don’t know what to do.” I was reading parenting books and stuff and the advice in these kind of main stream parenting books wasn’t sitting well with me. I didn’t want to leave him to cry in his room to help him fall asleep. I didn’t want to stop breastfeeding and feed him a bottle.

 

Obviously these things are right for some people, they just didn’t feel right for me and I couldn’t find anything that felt right to me. It was just a scary process and I started to learn about attachment parenting and it struck a cord with me so deep that I became a wild fan about it. I read so much about it and I just immersed myself in this world of attachment parenting and immersed myself in friends who were also attachment parents and new mothers.

 

I think we were all going through the same thing and we kind of whipping ourselves into this frenzy of, “We’re attachment parents, we do everything attachment parenting.” I know that we experienced this online where we will tell people that if they were bottle feeding that they were wrong and if they used a stroller they were wrong, because you’re suppose to use a carrier and wear your baby. There’s a lot of things. This is all after the blog started too. I mean I look back at some old blogs and think back to some conversations that I had online and I’m like, “Wow, you’re a real kind of like an ass.” *Laughter*. You know?

 

For me, just looking back, and you know, hindsight is 20/20, I can say I know why I was doing that, because it was kind of filling some void for myself as I become a mother and learned about myself. But moving on, the blog, and that community at the badass breastfeeder is one of the things that has helped me the most, because people would come and be like, “That’s a bit extreme, Abby. Like you know, why do it have to be all or nothing?” Also, being a mom longer. Having a one year old, then a two year old, then a three year old, and then getting pregnant and having another baby. All of these things that are like, “Okay, you know what? Our modern life is way too complicated to tell anybody that there’s one way to do things.”

 

If you have a room full of a million moms, then there’s going to be a million different ways to do things and that’s perfectly wonderful and that is what I’ve learned in the process of empowering women. Empowering women is not about telling them what to do or telling them what you think they should be doing, it’s about helping them discover what is right for them and then helping them gain the confidence to do that despite what anybody around them is saying.

 

I just think learning that through other women, through myself, has helped me be less judgmental and more supportive of people. I certainly do…I have strong opinions and I do, like you say, I am very honest on my blog. I will tell you the good days and the bad days, and maybe the things that are going to make me not look so great, and some of the things that maybe I think make me look good.

 

I do get a lot of feedback from people that are sometimes like not supportive or that are especially hiding behind their screens and saying things that they would never really say to your face and that No Body says to anybody’s face. You go online, there’s so much aggression and so much, it seems like there’s so much hatred. I go to the park and I meet my mom friends at the park and they all care in different ways and they all, we all have our different families and our values. We all get along and we never judge each other or say anything mean to each other’s face, because we care about each other.

 

There’s a definitely this element online that just gives people permission to say these things that no body would say in real life and you wouldn’t want somebody to say to you..

 

Rosemary:

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It’s heartbreaking to see it sometimes. It’s amazing how you can put an article up and usually I don’t put anything controversial on my page because I don’t want to..I literally when I see negative remarks, it just makes me feel back and then I feel like I started that discussion and I don’t want to have those discussions. I posted one yesterday about a mom who had made vagina cookies for her 2nd grader to take to school. She got mad at the teacher for not allowing them. They were very pretty by the way, I wish my vagina was that colorful and pretty. *Laughter*.

 

So I was impressed with her artistic impression and I love where she was going with it. Teaching girls to love their bodies and all that stuff, but it was not appropriate for a 2nd grade class and it was the teacher’s responsibility, but then she wrote a really hateful email at the end of it was, “I hope that you have a husband that beats you every day.”

 

Well, that just like negated her whole stance on trying to give a message out there to the world. I shared the article, which I never do, I just thought it was an interesting article, but then some of the responses I got back was, “She’s a loon.” “She’s weird.” “She shouldn’t have children.” “She’s a child abuser.” and I thought, “Wow…” because they had that social media tool, which then, to me, made them who she was in that last sentence of her email to her teacher. Here they were judging her for that and they were being her at the same time, because they had the tool of social media and being able to hide it. Would they have said to her to her face?

 

Why not come from passion? And saying, “Hey you know, that might have been a mistake.” What could she do to solve the problem? What could she have done differently? You know, not take the cookies to the school and not respond out of anger in an email. Step back, wait a couple of days, then respond in a more intelligent, less emotional way. That’s something I would love to encourage moms to do is not to just say it because it’s on your mind. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right answer for person that you’re giving it to.

 

Abby:

Yeah, I think there’s a level of this is why..human beings are social creatures. There’s a reason why we act around each other the way we do and we’re in a room together, human beings will act a certain way. You go on Facebook and suddenly you’re faced with inanimate object, your computer, this filter, this social energy is completely gone and people just start coming to you like just the most bizarre things. I agree, it’s very harmful, it’s very harmful to moms especially because now, our modern world, we’re so isolated from each other.

 

We’re in homes, we have our curtains drawn, we have these big houses that are separated by yards, buildings, by cities, and people are turning to the internet for support and instead they’re finding a lot of hatred and black and white thinking and all of these things that are not really supportive. We have an opportunity, at least with Badass Breastfeeder, one of the things that I love so much is that it’s turned into an opportunity for me learning about myself and learning these kinds of things about social media. For me it’s turned into an opportunity to support those women who are looking for it. I wished we could be more supportive of each other.

 

Rosemary:

Yes, I truly, truly do. That’s one of the reasons why I originally started Motivating Other Moms was for moms to have conversations without judging each other, but to support each other. That’s was the original reason and version of Motivating Other Moms. It came because I did have postpartum depression and my son, who was three at the time, was very affectionate I thought. He just like to suck his thumb and run his hands up and down my skin, like on my back or my arm and I’m breast feeding my daughter, I’m trying to cook, and it was just like this whole sensory overload.

 

I reached to out to a mom group and asked for help, and boy, they were like, “I wished my kid loved me that much.” “How awful of you.” “You’re an awful mom.” and all this stuff and I was like, “Holy cow! Are you kidding me?” I love this kid. I have poured myself into this kid. I have quit everything that I was doing, my whole life is him. There was other, more knowledgeable moms, probably older moms that have gotten out of that hormonal stage and were saying, “Oh, you might want to check into sensory.” and all this, and sure enough, he had sensory issues and that’s how he was feeding them, but it was overwhelming me because it was too much for me.

 

That’s again, it opens up your Badass Breastfeeding blog, opens up a different conversation. Instead of answering your immediate thoughts on social media, on the blog, or online, sit with yourself and think about what you’re saying. Is it about you or is something that you’re going to say helpful to this mother? Is it going to support her? Is it going to lift her up? Or are you going to bring her down because that’s not helping her situation. She’s reaching out, she’s asking for help, she’s being vulnerable in a very vulnerable moment in her life, and that’s not what she’s looking for is to get beat up more and make her feel worse.

 

Abby:

Well, I think we also, yeah that’s so true, we also think we know the whole story when somebody posts something on the internet. It’s like, “Hey, I need help with this.” They think this is about this and suddenly you know this person inside and out. You don’t have any idea the struggle that this person is going through. You have no idea the context of which this is going on. People need to step back and say, “I don’t know the whole story, maybe I can share a little bit of my experience to help her.” and end of story! That’s it.

 

Rosemary:

You can ask questions, “I would love to help you more. Can you help me understand more of what the dynamics are, and what’s going on?” as opposed to just saying something negative. It’s like your momma said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

 

Abby:

Very true.

 

Rosemary:

It just takes self control. We’re all adults here. I think we can practice that. One of the blog posts that I liked, because I’ve heard all about the baby-wearing and you should wear your baby, and I’ve done that and I’ve killed my back sometimes doing it, until I found the right carrier for me, which you have on your blog. You recently started the stroller, which is not in hardcore advocate for attachment parenting. It’s something their against and you love it.

 

Abby:

Right, yeah. I honestly don’t think that the attachment parenting community is against strollers. I think there’s people, especially like I was when I first started, when I first became a mom and when I first started learning about attachment parenting, I took it to the extreme, because that’s was all me. It wasn’t really anybody else. I had to take full responsibility for the extreme views that I had in the beginning. Like what I said to you earlier, it was filling this void that I was feeling as I was transitioning to motherhood, but I think any reasonable person who practices any kind of parenting would support somebody just trying to get through their day.

 

This is is why a lot of people have misconceptions about attachment parenting, because it’s like, “If you use a stroller, then you’re not really an attachment parent, because attachment parenting is suppose to be about baby wearing.”

 

Well, you know, Dr. Sears said himself that these are tools, not rules. These are not a list a rules to follow, these are tools for you to use if you want to use them. You can use some of them, you can use all of them, and you can use none of them if that’s what’s happening in your house. Attachment parenting is really about values and it’s really about the concept, the relationship, and the intimacy that you developer with your child. It’s really not about stroller or not a stroller, which is something I was happy to come around to realize. My stroller rocks. *Laughter*.

 

Rosemary:

*Laughter*. You can do a nice combination of both.

 

Abby:

Exactly.

 

Rosemary:

Like you said, your child was in the stroller and he was crying, well what do you do? You pick him up!

 

Abby:

Right! That’s the think. I think it’s natural for parents, especially with young children who are new to parenting to kind of get lost or confused in these concepts, especially in our country where we kind of lack a sense of community. You know, in village settings around the world or in history, people weren’t like, “Oh, do I used a stroller, do I not use a stroller, am I suppose to close sleeo or am I suppose to breastfeed?” We’re so confused here.

 

First of all, moms are totally disconnected from each other and we don’t have the sense of community that kind of brings people into it. This is how we do it here. Everybody’s kind of left to their own devices and that makes us prime candidates for the pushing, you know, corporations to push their products on to us. Not that any of these products are harmful in of it themselves, but it just adds to the confusion. I think that convenience items exist for a reason. Sometimes you just need things to be a little bit more convenient through your day.

 

I agree. I have my stroller and I bring my carrier, and then, most importantly, I look at my kid. How’s he doing? Is he overwhelmed, do I need to pick him up? It goes back to attachment parenting. It’s not really about what you’re doing, whether you’re wearing your kid or pushing your kid in a stroller, it’s about being connect with them and paying attention to them and understanding how to meet their needs. It really has to do with listening to yourself and kind of what your gut telling,listening to your kid, watching them, and the cues of what they need. It’s attachment parenting. It’s about the attachment. It’s about he connection.

 

Rosemary:

It’s about communication. They’re communicating to you, so you’re paying attention. You’re really, really listening to them and knowing who they really, really are. You’re not going to know anybody better than your infant, because they send you the cues and your body sends you the information.

 

You’re right. It’s following your gut, your intuition tells you that baby is sending your signal to you. Tells you exactly what they need. It’s really fascinating that a lot of us tend to fight it because of what society says what we should be doing and who made up that rule and how created that? I don’t know. We create a lot of things that make our lives really difficult. *Laughter*.

 

Abby:

It’s true. I think that’s sort of the flavor of modern life now, just making things really difficult, especially things like parenting that really require you to rely on something that’s deep inside you that kind of gets silenced or pushed down by the modem world and all the loudness and all the noise. The, “You need to be doing this, you need to be doing that.” It’s kind of hard to silence all of that and listen to yourself and really understand what your baby is telling you.

 

Rosemary:

So one of the things that you’re listening to is that your three year old still breastfeeds, which is like a huge topic and can get really, really heated throughout society. You were recently on the news about that. What kind of, I know you got a lot of ugly feedback, I don’t doubt that at all, did they come to your website, did they search you out? What happened with that and was was the kickback from you being on the news with that?

 

Abby:

You know, the news story was very, it was lovely. I thought that they did a really, really wonderful job and it was done by Marcus Leshock at WGN. WGN is like a local Chicago news station. He came over, he does different stories about people in the Chicago area, it wasn’t like we set out to have this huge international story to blow up the world. It was just …he heard about me and was like, “She sounds interesting, let’s go to her house and interview her.” So we did the interview and we talked about mainly, obviously you saw it, it was about me breastfeeding my two kids and the blog.

 

When it came out the news stations around the country started picking it up and sharing it and that’s when it went a little viral online, but I’m not suddenly like surrounded by paparazzi or something. I mean, it was a fun news story that kind of came and went.

 

I, from my end, I’m surrounded by so many breastfeeding moms in this community, for me, the overwhelming sense I got was women really appreciated that somebody was coming out and speaking about this. It’s so hard for a lot of people to breastfeed their toddler in this country, because people are so hateful about it, and it’s so taboo. People are told that they’re perverted, child molesters at worst and you’re just disgusting at best.

 

I think that a lot of people, there were a lot of people who were seeking me out. There were a lot of people who came to the blog and came to the Facebook page and felt a sense of connection and a home there, because they’re doing the same thing and here’s somebody who’s speaking publicly about it. There really appreciated it. Of course there were the nasty comments in my inbox and all that, but that’s why we’re doing this. That’s why we’re talking about this stuff to kind of get it out there and let the positive beat down the negative.

 

Rosemary:

So what do you say to somebody that says this is nasty and your child is way too old? If your child can left up your shirt and ask for milk, then they shouldn’t be breastfeeding. What do you say to somebody who says that to you or do you say anything at all?

 

Abby:

Well, it depends. Sometimes not saying anything is a good idea, but if somebody seems like they’re open to actually talking about it, then I would probably say..I mean, I say, it seems weird to us because we don’t see it. We live it in a culture where we don’t see this type of thing. There are other cultures where it’s not seen as really anything, because it’s just normal. It’s a normal behavior, but people are disgusted by it, people are offended by it, people get this feeling of offensiveness in them because they’re not used it. I mean, that’s just the bottom line. They’re not used to seeing it. The more we put it out there, the more we do it, the more that maybe people will become a little bit more, you know, comfortable with it, because they’re seeing it more.

 

Rosemary:

It really is fascinating, because when you do the research all the other countries have no problem with it. It’s not a big deal. It’s nothing to do with sex. There’s nothing sexual about it, especially if you’re the one that’s breastfeeding, yeah, there’s nothing sexual about it. *Laughter*.

 

Abby:

*Laughter*.

 

Rosemary:

It’s a beautiful bonding moment. I think that’s what surprises people the most when they start breastfeeding. The bonding that happens between them and the child. The one of the things that I see a lot in comments on Facebook when stories like come up is one, would you cover your head if you were hungry to eat? And, I just see a lot of discomfort about.. and the others is how many breasts are out there in the marketing world and how much is shown, yet a woman can’t feed her child in public without being judged.

 

Where do you think it began in our country that this is a nasty thing or a sexual thing and where people became so totally uncomfortable with the thought of this happening out in public or just people doing it? I was brought up to..it would have not been a natural thing to do that. The thought of it was uncomfortable and then it was just natural. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. I gave it a try and loved it. Where do you think all of that stigma has come from?

 

Abby:

I think it’s a perfect storm of stuff over the past couple hundred years. We’ve over sexualized the female body in this country. I mean, sex itself is so taboo, people think that we’re obsessed with sex, and yeah! We are obsessed with sex because we’re so uncomfortable with it. It’s just a big deal. We have this over sexualized culture, we, of course, have the undervalued mother, and we have the undervalued woman.

 

We have the popularization of formula here, which I’m obviously not knocking formula. I used formula with my first child. The sense that, well, if you can do something else, then why would you breastfeed? Why would you need to do that, why would you need to use your body that way? And I think that, it’s just a combination of things that brought breastfeeding rates down so low that it became very unusual to see and now we just don’t see it, so now it’s really hard to accept it.

 

I think that, at the root of it, women are a big deal. We are really powerful, we are really strong, we birth babies, and we do all of these things that are pretty incredible in the natural world. I think that’s sometimes a little intimidating for people. We live in a cultural that really wants to keep women in a place that’s not so powerful. We kind of just discovered the same disrespect and not just breastfeeding, but in birthing our babies as well, caring for our babies, it’s just the mother.

 

A mother is such a powerful person that I think a lot of these things are being really undervalued now and maybe because they just seem really big and powerful and that’s scary? I don’t know. I mean, that’s obviously a very broad view of it. I think there’s so many factors that came ahead to bring breastfeeding rates so low that we don’t see breastfeeding anymore and now it’s a very difficult thing for some people to look at.

 

Rosemary:

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. One of the things I noticed on your blog, you have some guest bloggers and there..I think it’s the most recent one, it’s a very powerful blog on healing through breastfeeding, a sexual abuse survivor. I mean that’s the ultimate of not feeling comfortable with your body.

 

Abby:

Yes.

 

Rosemary:

And it is an incredibly moving blog post. I encourage anybody who’s listening to go read this blog post and it’s an incredibly moving, especially if you were sexually abused. I think actually, what are the statistics? Like one in four women?

 

Abby:

I think those are the statistics and I think those are very well known to be underrating.

 

Rosemary:

Yes. It’s usually somebody within your family. This person who wrote the blog post was abused, sexual abuse by her father her entire life until she left home. What she learned about breastfeeding and her journey is just beautiful. I definitely encourage you to go to the www.badassbreastfeeder.com and look up that particular blog post, but on your blog as well you have a wonderful list of resources for women, especially on breastfeeding. There’s a ton of websites there if your breastfeeding and you’re having problems or if you’re pregnant and considering breastfeeding or not breastfeeding. There’s a lot of resources on there, which I absolutely love that you have. Sharing that message to let other companies and people like you help each other.

 

What else does your website do for moms?

 

Abby:

Well, you know, it’s mainly the blog and the blog you’re talking about Healing Through Breastfeeding it’s by a wonderfully supportive admin of mine, Nicky. She works with the Badass Breastfeeder to empower moms and to help with the whole movement. I agree, definitely check that out. She’s incredibly amazing and incredibly supportive to me. The resources is something another previous admin suggested I have on there and it was such a wonderful addition for people who are looking for resources.

 

I think when I was pregnant and when I was reading the, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”, which is a great book, but I read it and I read all the other books, and I was still unprepared. I didn’t have…it was like, I was reading all of these books, where’s this information? I come back to these decisions about, these family decisions, of people going to be deciding about circumcision or vaccinations or breastfeeding or breastfeeding on medication, and birthing and natural childbirth. All of these things that were just not..this information was just not at our finger tips.

 

People don’t know where to find the information, so it was an awesome process of just putting everything together where I’m confident where somebody can go there and get really reliable, trustworthy information, so that they can decide for themselves what their decision is going to be; instead of some person they don’t know tell them what they should be doing.

 

Yeah, there’s the blog, there’s the resources page, the website is mainly to educate. It says right on there, educate, inspire, and empower parents. I want people be able to go there and find their story somewhere in there and can relate to it, so that they can find a sense of community. Find some answers, find some resources to empower themselves.

 

Most importantly, find that there’s other people, there’s like-minded moms out there, there’s people that they can find. That’s another thing about the Badass Breastfeeder is the momma tribe meeting point, which is a Facebook group, almost 10,000 moms now around the world who are meeting up. I think there’s 10,000 moms and there’s 100 of momma tribes around the world. I think in 10 different countries or 20 different countries. I haven’t counted in a long time.

 

Women are coming to the Badass Breastfeeder and they’re finding each other in their local area. Like what we were talking about before, the internet is a great resource, but there’s nothing more supportive than face-to-face to contact and like-minded moms in your local area to just find that community, find that tribe of yours. That’s kind of what I hope with the Badass Breastfeeder.

 

Rosemary:

Your resource page, I can tell from reading some of the resources, these are all great resources that have been tried and true by other moms like you. They’re great resources. It covers breastfeeding, it covers natural childbirth, circumcision resources, donor milk, gentle parenting, nursing in public, sleep resources, vaccine information, just all really great resources. I highly recommend that you visit her website. With all these resources, you have ton of books, there’s a couple on there that I noticed right away that are some of my favorite books as well, especially with natural childbirth resources.

 

What is your favorite book that you’ve read on parenting?

 

Abby:

Well, it changes over time as I read different books. I think now probably my favorite book would have to be, because I have a new baby, I’m kind of getting into the whole toddler years, and how to deal with that.

 

Rosemary:

*Laughter*.

 

Abby:

I think one of the books that kind of keeps me motivated to gentle parent is called Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. I feel it’s just a great book about how to be a gentle parent and the world from your child’s perspective, where they’re at developmental at different ages, and how you can support them and how you can really foster that bond through their life. I don’t have to tell anybody that parenting is the hardest thing in the world to do. Parenting a toddler is very challenging and there’s some challenging behaviors that I know test my patience 7 times a day.

 

Rosemary:

That’s all? *Laughter*.

 

Abby:

*Laughter*. Alright, maybe more. I need reminders of like, “Okay, I gotta remember to see this from his perspective. I gotta remember what my parenting goals are.” and I have mom books that just kind of help me keep focus like that.

 

Rosemary:

Yeah, I agree. That’s helped me through a lot and just being able to be inspired and get some little, ‘Ah Ha!’ moments here and there going, “Okay, I get it.” and then it works. Ahh! It’s fantastic when it works. The angels sing.

 

Well, thank you for being on Motivating Other Moms radio. I appreciate you. What are some of the best resources where people can reach out to you? Is it Twitter, Facebook?

 

Abby:

Facebook is a great place, that’s where the majority of the community is. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, I’m pretty active on all of those.

 

Rosemary:

Awesome and you can reach out to her at the www.badassbreastfeeder.com and last question I always ask is what’s your favorite junk food?

 

Abby:

My favorite junk food? I have to pick one??

 

Rosemary:

*Laughter*. What’s the one you think of when you’re all stressed out and you’re all like, “Oh my god. I need some of this.”

 

Abby:

Yeah. Chocolate chips. Like we don’t even..at my house we don’t even bother with like making cookies or chocolate chip cookies or making stuff, we have a bag of chocolate chips that’s just like in the cupboard that like we run to when we want to hide out and stuff our faces.

 

Rosemary:

*Laughter*. I love it, I love it. Well, it was awesome having you on the show. I appreciate your time.

 

Abby:

Thank you so much. I had a great time. Thanks so much for having me.

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