It is with great joy that I share with you all this post. As you may already know Martha’s Vineyard is a very dear place to me, it was the perfect little island where I got to spend many amazing days during winter and summertime while I was in High School.

Part of my family lives on the island and just being here brings me so many happy memories like sitting in Ocean Park during a hot sunny day and admiring the view of both the cottage houses and the close by beach. No wonder why every islander says… Once you visit Martha’s Vineyard you’ll never want to leave!

This year, when we decided we were going to come to Martha’s Vineyard for our last bit of summer vacation right after our very first Big Latch On in NYC, I knew that our little trip to the island had to be the best. We had to do what both my little girl and I are good at…. Creating amazing memories!

That is how our very first oficial event took place. Best Milk? Mom’s Milk was made possible thanks to the amazing support we had from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard and business such as: Citrine MV, Made MV, Milk Makers, Mamma Chia, Silverette & The Naked Nursing Tank.

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Photography by Alexia Garcia – Alegares Photography

After our successful event, making Martha’s Vineyard Breastfeeding World photo session happen was so empowering! I got to meet four beautiful breastfeeding mommies who had difficulties at the beginning of their journey but they didn’t give up! We went to the oh so famous Gazebo in Ocean Park, one of the very touristic icons on the island where they breastfed their little ones with so much love!

The breastfeeding community on the island is not too big but it definitely is an amazing one. According to a conversation I had with Dr. Miller, pediatrician from MV Hopsital, the brazilian breastfeeding community is the most affected by lack of proper information and education leading to an average nursing period of 2-3 months.  Unfortunately it was impossible for us to find a current Brazilian breastfeeding mama on island during our session.

Martha’s Vineyard Breastfeeding World – Stories of success!

 

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Photography by Alexia Garcia – Alegares Photography

Saundra Hart and Baby Azealia LaBell

I knew breastfeeding would come naturally to me so when I finally started to nurse my baby I was shocked at the learning curve we both faced and the amount of pain I was in.  We eventually got in our groove and the pain started to fade until I forgot it had even been a factor. Then at two weeks my daughter started having severe digestive issues that caused her incredible stomach pain. She began to fall in the weight percentiles at her well visits. After some trips to the lab and a GI specialist we found out that she’s allergic to several foods I was eating. Her pediatrician suggested I stop breastfeeding her and put her on a special formula for babies with food allergies. I was devastated. This was supposed to be the easy part. I decided that my baby’s best interest was to be breastfed and changed my diet. I’ve always been a vegetarian but now I’ve cut out dairy, soy, wheat, and eggs. I’ve found reasonable dietary substitutes and my baby and I are both healthy now. It can be difficult when I just want ice cream or a sandwich but the nutritional and developmental benefits she receives are more important to me.  

 

Photography by Alexia Garcia - Alegares Photography
Photography by Alexia Garcia – Alegares Photography

 

Sarah Mattson & Baby Emilia

Breastfeeding for me was a real challenge and test of my strength. Naturally I want what is best for my baby girl but I actually found it hard to bond with her during her feedings because it was so very painful. After treating a yeast infection in each breast and a split nipple the pain didn’t cease. It truly felt like I was being cut with small pieces of glass. It seemed to get worse even though I treated my breasts by letting the milk airdry and using cold compresses. All I could do was stare into Emilia’s eyes and cry because that is how I made it through each feeding. Every week I succeeded I committed to one more week. This went on for 8 weeks. Turns out I also had Reynauds of the nipple and had been exacerbating it with those treatments. But with warm compresses and the help and support of some very wonderful women in the breastfeeding network on the Vineyard, I have come to love breastfeeding my sweet little lady.

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Photography by Alexia Garcia – Alegares Photography

Melissa Schellhammer and Baby Juniper

Juniper was born pre-term and via cesarean section and it took her a long time to figure out how to latch. I am so grateful for the amazing nurses at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for teaching me safe bedsharing practices so that I could keep her skin to skin with me round the clock until we established a good nursing routine. I quickly realized that my body was not compatible with pumping so I worked hard to keep up a good supply and allowing Juniper to demand feed and co-sleep really helped with that. I struggled through 3 bouts of mastitis, one was so rough that I couldn’t even get out of bed. My goals for breastfeeding have changed over time; I went from hoping I could nurse my tiny baby to trying to at least make it to her first birthday, but I am proud to be still nursing my little two year old! There are definitely new challenges these days, mostly having to do with other people’s opinions on when enough is enough. My current breastfeeding goal is to think of what is best for Juniper and ignore everything else. Nursing has definitely not always been that perfect photo moment but every teardrop, every minute of lost sleep, every painful plugged duct disappears when I look down and see the comfort and nourishment that I am able to give to my beautiful Juniper.

We’d love tp hear from you! Share with us your up’s and down’s of your breastfeeding journey in the comments below! 

Be sure to join us in our social media accounts to be up to date with the progress of our project!

And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our HT #BreastfeedingWorld 

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Alexia Garcia
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Alexia Garcia

Photographer at Alegares Photography
I'm a proud mom to a beautiful little girl who is the reason of all my smiles | Creator and founder of the Breastfeeding World Project - passionate about normalizing breastfeeding | Professional photographer serving New York City
Alexia Garcia
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