The Road From Here to Support

I am lucky – I say it all the time.  I have the great luxury of working on projects I feel passionately about and with clients who allow me to test  the boundaries and push convention a bit (sometimes more!).    I have been working tirelessly on one such project for a few years.  Last November, my client Bravado Designs and I launched the Bravado Breastfeeeding Information Council.

Together, we set out to hear from real women.  Bravado’s customers openly shared their experiences as breastfeeding women. We had 80,000 women who were eager to connect and communicate their personal stories good and bad.  We had 18 years worth of experience to draw from. We asked and then we listened.

Next, we layered in the wisdom of a broad range of voices – Chris Pagula  (Diaper Dude) shared with us the male  point of view and helped us shape and make sense our important finding: The Man Behind the Milk. Lindsay Lebresco, who had personally advocated for, and then architected  Graco’s nursing policies brought candid insights to our Pumping at Work Findings. Lisa Spiegel  integrated her deep seeded understanding of the psychology of new mothers and couples, shedding amazing light on the topics at hand. Heather Kelly and Kimberly Seals Allerscontributed to our findings on First Generation Breastfeeders and finally, Bravado founder and IBCLC Sherry Leeder layered in her priceless wisdom on topics including breastfeeding in public. Our advisory board had a great deal to ante up  – bringing an in depth understanding to the raw data and fueling the exchange.  The launch of the BBIC was an important step in the process of gathering and sharing real time data on women’s experiences. And also in advancing the goal of openly communicating  with all communities about nursing – without judgment but rather, encouraging acceptance, understanding and yes – support.

We shared our findings last year. You can watch the footage here.

 The reaction to our inaugural event and research findings from those on-line, in the room and in all around us in the subsequent twelve months, has been not only powerful, but also breathtakingly candid and passionate. The buzz it has not quieted.  The conversation continues and the data underscores for me the biggest lesson most base lesson of all:

Successful women have support

In work

In relationships

In play

In friendship 

In all of our journeys, adventures and dreams – successful women have support

And yes (pay attention)

In breastfeeding

And it is not just a middle class mother that needs support– it is all mothers. At risk women, middle-class women, ALL women thrive though the support, care and nurturance of others. 

Simple enough, YET…

I continue to read on and on about the WHO code  as the issues– and how the many violators should be hunted down, drawn and quartered. And all I keep wondering – is why don’t we focus less on the WHO (violations) and more on HOME (opportunities)?

And so, not as any sort of activist but rather as one who simply loves, respects and personally stands  for the advancement of women – let’s take on a new perspective and a slightly modified mission.

Let’s please commit ourselves to the women in our own communities. Whether they be our sister or a stranger cross town – let’s agree that this must be our promise and use our energy towards the opportunities closest to home. We will  help and make a real difference where we truly can -closest to our home – in our families, or work-place our communities.  Let’s grow confidence, skills and commitment to nursing in those that we know and love.

Today,  Babble’s Heather Turgeon  spoke of this critical concept as she explored why women quit breastfeeding. Kimberly Seals Allers did the same last week while considering the Michelle Obama’s remarks.  I hope this is just the beginning of a new conversation…one that we will all have together.