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interview with 'mama knows breast'

Posted Oct 30 2008 6:18pm

We recently interviewed Andi Silverman, author of Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding. Most of you probably are not breastfeeding beginners, but breastfeeding can be a very different experience with each child, especially when you have a toddler to run after.

Baby Bunching:As a Baby Buncher yourself, what would you say is the biggest challenge when nursing an infant and having a young toddler running around?

Andi: I've never been able to juggle. I simply could never keep two balls in the air at once. But with a baby and a toddler, I definitely became an expert juggler of a different sort.  I learned how to feed a toddler in a high chair while nursing a baby.  I learned how to chase a toddler around the playground with a baby hanging off my boob. And I learned that sometimes, you simply can't satisfy both of them at the same time. Someone will end up crying, and you have to realize that you are doing your best.

Baby Bunching: What are good activities you would recommend for moms to do with young toddlers while they nurse their infants? (I know books may be difficult for an 18-month old for more than about 2 minutes).

Andi: If you sit and nurse your baby on the floor, then it's possible to play with your toddler at the same time.  You can read books; build miles of Thomas The Tank Engine train tracks; and construct elaborate LEGO structures.  When all else fails, there's nothing wrong with turning on the TV for a short stint.

Baby Bunching: We know many moms who struggled the second time with breastfeeding since they have another child to attend to, what you recommend for those struggling?

Andi: If you're running into breastfeeding problems, call a lactation consultant as soon as possible.  Every baby is different, so you might find yourself running into obstacles you didn't have the first time.  There's no reason you should expect to be an expert just because you've already had a baby.  If the main problem is figuring out how to balance the needs of two kids, get help.  Call in the cavalry of family and friends.  And if possible, consider hiring a babysitter. 

Baby Bunching: Many times with a second baby, a mom will have to breastfeed in public since the other child wants to go out. What do you recommend for those who are anxious about breastfeeding in public?

Andi: You will simply have to get over any anxiety you may have about breastfeeding in public. If you want to breastfeed, and you're looking after both kids at the same time, you can't sit home all day. You'll go stir crazy! So put on your brave face and go for it.  With time, breastfeeding in public will be second nature.  There are also a lot of nursing tops and shawls that can make nursing in public easier.

Baby Bunching: Can you tell us about your own personal experience with nursing?

Andi: With our first son, I certainly had a moment when I thought to myself, “I have no idea what I’m doing. I know more about my car seat, stroller and crib than I do about how to feed this baby!”  Fortunately, I got advice from lactation consultants to help me over certain hurdles. I also found some really useful breastfeeding books. But I soon realized that there was space for one more book-- a book that took a slightly different approach to breastfeeding.

So I set out to write the book that I wanted to read—a well-illustrated handbook that gives moms practical information in a light-hearted, frank, and irreverent manner. Mama Knows Breast has everything from basic advice on how to hold your baby, to lifestyle tips on where you can comfortably breastfeed in public. The book also reassures moms that the decision whether or not to breastfeed is a highly personal matter.

AndiSilverman's two sons are 18 months apart. She's a former lawyer and journalist living in New York City.

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