U.S. Women’s Open Golfer Danah Bordner Has Great Breastfeeding Game

Pro Golfer Danah Bordner, with her 7 month old daughter in tow, is making a major comeback this week at the U.S. Women’s Open in Sebonack, NY.   Can you imagine the kind of focus and skill required to earn a spot at this prestigious and fiercely competitive event?  And all while learning the ropes of new motherhood and nursing?  We are in awe of Danah — she is the embodiment of empowered and a testimony to how great coaching, cheering and celebrating are critical to helping moms Beat the Breastfeeding Booby Traps(R) and make breastfeeding work in their busy and challenging lives.  Danah you are an inspiration to us all and if you bring anything near your best game for breastfeeding to the US Women’s Open — look out!  

Ed. Note: This post originally appeared in April.

It’s the season of the Masters Golf Tournament. What, you might ask, does golf have to do with breastfeeding?  Well if you are Pro Golfer Danah Bordner and you are nursing your first baby, everything!  We are so grateful to Danah, who is breastfeeding her 5 month old daughter Taylor, and returned to the LPGA tour this Spring, for sharing her story with Best for Babes.  Golf and nursing, golf and pumping, golfing and trying to fit it all in, Bordner is an inspiration and living proof that with the right coaching, support, and attitude, breastfeeding can be as rewarding as a hole in one!  We are honored to name  Danah one of our Champions for Moms, and to count her as one of our Team Best for Babes Elites.  No matter what the course or the sport, Team Best for Babes is Racing to Beat the Booby Traps(R) that prevent moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals and Put Prevention First!

BFB: New motherhood and breastfeeding can be daunting at first.  How is it going?

Photo courtesy Leading Lady Loving Moments
Photo courtesy Leading Lady Loving Moments

DB: Yes, it can be. Even before I became pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. And I was more nervous about breastfeeding than I was about childbirth. Still, I knew I wanted to do it because it was going to be very good for my daughter.  I think my anxiety was a result of the stigma around both breastfeeding and talking about breastfeeding.  Society has, not scared us, but says “oh this is such a private matter. It should never be in public; we should never discuss it.“  That made me nervous. I thought what if I was out in public?  How do I handle that, when my baby needs to eat? What do I do? Luckily, after basically 2 weeks, I wasn’t concerned anymore.  I felt like it was no big deal.  I also was fortunate to deliver at University Hospital in Cleveland. They immediately do what’s called Kangaroo Care, which means that when Taylor was born, during the first hour they put her skin-to-skin on my chest covered with a blanket. They didn’t take her away to weigh her [until later], or to see how long she was or anything.  All moms deserve that kind of care!  She went right to [my breast] which was amazing!  Babies are so strong! And they surprise you with their skills every day.  I think that Kangaroo Care is a big reason we’ve had success.  BFB Note:  For our checklist on how to have a birth that makes breastfeeding easier click here.

BFB:  We often talk about the many Booby Traps new moms encounter that make breastfeeding unnecessarily difficult – did you experience any?

DB: No, not all.  I think the most frustrating thing was it took 3 ½ days for my milk to come in. If you don’t know that that’s normal, you feel badly. You feel almost like you’re starving your baby, which you’re really not. They’re getting the colostrum, and they only need a marble size amount at first.  But unless you are being reassured, you just feel so bad.  All you can think is “Oh my gosh are they getting enough food?” I think that was the most frustrating part.  But my milk came in, and it was fine!

Thank you to Leading Lady for their generous support of this interview!

BFB:  Sounds like you had a great beginning.  What have you found to be challenging about breastfeeding?

DB: I am a modest person. But you know, I’ve been at the mall, in the airport because I travel frequently for tournaments and I nurse my baby where and when I needed to. I’m not going to not feed my baby.  And I was even reading on your website –which I thought was funny – about the covers that people put on. Those are the most uncomfortable things and my daughter hates to be under a cover. She likes to be seen, because she’s nosy! Plus, her head gets sweaty under a cover. I felt like it was ridiculous, you know?  But in certain situations, I can understand not that people are offended, but that it makes them uncomfortable.  But again I feel as though that’s because of the stigma in our society.  You go to other countries and it’s no big deal! BFB Note:  Being harassed for breastfeeding in public violates the law in most states, and is an unacceptable way to treat a vulnerable new mother and her hungry baby.  If you are ever harassed for nursing in public call our Hotline.

BFB: How old was Taylor when you started playing golf again?

DB: I got back in the gym a month after she was born, but I officially hit balls for the first time just before she was 2 months old.  Actually, I hit balls when she was 3 weeks old which I probably shouldn’t have done, but I was itching to get out!  Now, I’m back at it full time.  I’ve already played in many tour events which have been great just to get me back.  And LPGA has started their season. Unfortunately, I didn’t get into the first couple of games because of my status. But hopefully I’ll start back up in April when we go to Hawaii.

BFB:  We would love to hear more about how you are integrating breastfeeding and being on the pro golf circuit!

DB:  The first two months coming back to playing were challenging.  When I play, I could be gone 5 to 7 or 8 hours.  Let’s just say it’s a 5 hour round, you have to go for 5 hours there’s no way in a tournament or in a professional event that you can stop!  I was very fortunate to have the help of a wonderful lactation consultant named Amy Berry who Leading Lady put me in touch with. Amy helped me to figure it all out so I could keep my supply up but not get engorged.  With her help, I found out that it works well to skip a morning feeding and pump when I get back.   Expressing milk has been great.  And that’s basically all I’ve really been doing. I feel like its morning, noon, and night. That’s all I do! I feed her, I pump, or I’m putting her down for naps. It can be exhausting, but it’s totally worth it.  I look at the end result, and I know so. I was breastfed and I like to think that’s why I’ve been healthy all my life. I was never really sick as a kid.  Even in my adult life, I haven’t been sick. I really like to think that is why. And Taylor really takes well to it too.  She actually takes well to the bottle also, which is nice so I can get away.

BFB:  As a professional athlete, we know that you have to be in the gym as well as on the course. Can you tell us a little bit about nursing while training?

DB: I’ve noticed that I’m hungry more often, so I eat little meals more frequently.  You also wake up so dehydrated. So, I drink lots of water.  When you are working out and are breastfeeding you are burning so many calories. It’s almost like you can’t eat or drink enough to keep up!  I do try to maintain a healthy diet. I have always been a healthy eater though, lots of fruits and vegetables. A challenging part of that though,  was that for about 3 months I couldn’t eat vegetables, I couldn’t eat salads, or really anything green. It gave Taylor so much gas and she was in pain. I felt terrible, so I stayed away from vegetables. I could eat all the fruits I wanted, as well as protein.  But, she really struggled with greens.  Now she’s fine and I can eat anything.  I don’t know if it was because she was so little — she was 5 ½ pounds when she was born.  She’s probably just over 12 now.  BFB Note:  The evidence tells us that very few foods can pass through a mother’s milk and upset a baby’s gut and there are no foods that ALL breastfeeding mothers should avoid.  Still there are some babies who seem to react after a feeding, and for those mothers whose instincts tell them this is the case,  we urge you to consult a true infant feeding expert – a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) –who can diagnose a food sensitivity and guide you through an elimination plan.

BFB: What was it like getting back to working out?

DB: You know, a lot of it is strengthening the little muscles and just getting your body back into shape. When I was pregnant, I wasn’t able to do some of the things in a golf swing that a normal player is able to do. So really, for 7 or 8 months my body wasn’t doing what it used to do.  So, it’s not like I was out of commission and not swinging only for two months.  It was really for 8 months. So it was challenging getting back in the gym. I would still like to get back in the gym a little bit more, but that’s still challenging. My husband took a new job in New York and hasn’t been living with us in Florida as much.  So that’s been really tough.

BFB: Do you think being an athlete helped your mindset for breastfeeding?

Photo courtesy Leading Lady Loving Moments
Photo courtesy Leading Lady Loving Moments

DB: Yes, I think so. Being an athlete definitely helps that. We set goals as athletes and you’re motivated in so many different ways to achieve those goals.  And to breastfeed Taylor, I definitely saw that as a challenge, and a goal I wanted to achieve. I wanted to do the best that I could and to provide that for her. On the other side too, nursing helps you as an athlete, as a mom, a non-athlete, whoever you are, to get back in shape.  I weigh less, I am the smallest I’ve been in I don’t know how many years!  So if you want to look at it in a selfish way, it helps gets you back in shape!

BFB: Did you pick a pediatrician based on whether they provided great breastfeeding care?

DB:  Taylor was born and 8 days later my husband accepted a job in New York. So she only saw her doctor one time in Ohio. But one of the reasons I chose that doctor was because she just had a baby and she was breastfeeding. When I came down to Florida to get back into shape for golf, I found a pediatrician on a recommendation from a friend. I didn’t know if our new doctor had breastfed or not.  Honestly, it didn’t matter to me because by then, 2 months into it, we were already so successful at it.  We later found out that our pediatrician in Florida had breastfed her daughter, so she was able to help me out as well.  It’s been nice, and it has all worked out.  BFB Note:  the quality of care you get from your and your baby’s health care provider can vary widely and make or break your breastfeeding experience.  Select your A-Team carefully and you’ll get and stay on track for success. For some excellent guidelines for choosing a prenatal care click here.  For more about the difference a pediatrician who gives great breastfeeding care can make click here.

danah bordner and daughter easter 2013
Photo courtesy Danah Bordner

BFB: If you had any advice to a Mom who was still expecting about how to hit the ground running and get breastfeeding off to a great start, what would it be?

DB: Demand Kangaroo Care in the hospital.  Tell your doctors and nurses that even if you have a C- section –and that was a fear of mine that I would have to have a C- section—that you want Kangaroo Care. At my hospital, they said if I have a C-section and couldn’t do the Kangaroo Care, then I should have my husband ready; have him take his shirt off and be ready to put the baby on him so that our baby can have skin-to-skin contact right away. That was a big thing for me.  BFB Note: Using dad as a body-warmer is one possibility but skin-to-skin after a Cesarean birth is also possible and can improve breastfeeding rates. Either way, studies confirm that skin-to-skin during the first hour after birth is one of the most important ways to jump-start a newborn’s physical and emotional health because it decreases their stress levels.  It also boosts a moms confidence in her ability to nurture from the get-go. 

BFB: What would you say has been the sweetest breastfeeding moment so far — one you will cherish forever?

DB: Sometimes, she’ll giggle when she’s nursing. Or she’ll take a moment and maybe pull off and look up at me and smile.  That just melts your heart.  That little giggle just cracks me up.  When my husband  hears it and asks “did she just laugh at you?” I say, “yeah, I think she’s giggling while she’s eating!”

Anyone, anywhere, in any sport, can join Team Best for Babes and our fight to end the Booby Traps and stake wellness!  Visit http://www.bestforbabes.org/team-bfb for more! 

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