Breastfeeding is Awesome! (Usually)

My one and only super controversial, highly scandalous breastfeeding photo.

My one and only super controversial, highly scandalous breastfeeding photo.

August 1-7, 2014 is world breastfeeding week. We don’t often think of things on such a big scale but, if you look at the World Breastfeeding Week website you begin to realize that breastfeeding is so much more than one woman choosing to provide food for one child.

Breastfeeding is taking a step toward eliminating world hunger.

Perhaps finances had nothing to do with your own personal decisions regarding breastfeeding but there are millions (billions?) of women in the world for whom infant formula is difficult or impossible to pay for.  The “normalizing” of breastfeeding in America and around the world helps prevent these women from being marginalized in some way.  When it is no bigger deal for a woman to nurse her hungry baby or pump breast milk at home, at work, or in other public venues as it is for her to give him a bottle, then we will have removed one major obstacle that stands in the way of breastfeeding success for many new moms. That is removing one major obstacle that may be standing in the way of many babies getting the very best possible nutrition!

Breastfeeding is good for the planet.

Bottle feeding creates waste. Formula cans and scoops, the foil seals that cover them, bottles, nipples, and special brushes for keeping everything clean are all items likely to end up in a landfill.  They are often made of plastics which are made from fossil fuels. Formula, whether soy or dairy based, requires a great many resources to create, from both an agricultural and manufacturing standpoint. It has to be shipped to the stores which is more fuel. Breast milk? The moment a baby is born (more or less) it’s just… there. No waste. No byproducts. A perfect system of manufacture and delivery from mom to baby.

Breastfeeding creates a healthier society.

Both moms and babies reap various health benefits from nursing. It’s not just the nutritional aspect. Everything from postpartum bleeding to breast cancer to the infant’s chance of catching a cold is reduced when a mother chooses to nurse, even for a very short amount of time.

One happy, healthy, chunky little breastfed boy.

One happy, healthy, chunky little breastfed boy.

Breastfeeding can be incredibly difficult and no woman should feel shamed if she chooses otherwise!

Whoa… did I trip you up there?  Read that again, please.

NO woman should feel shamed if she chooses not to breastfeed!

Breastfeeding was a great experience for me. The issues I dealt with were relatively minor and easy to overcome. I had a very supportive spouse and doctor. I had plenty of milk (perhaps a bit too much) and time to nurse my children.

Things don’t work out that way for everyone. I can’t imagine nursing multiples! Even discounting everything else the time involved would be astonishing.

Some women have to work outside the home. Even if their employer is supportive of their need to pump breast milk, pumping is not the same as nursing. It may affect their supply or the baby might not accept the bottle, or refuse the nipple after having had the bottle.

I could go on and on with a hundred different scenarios, but my point is that I truly believe with a powerful passion, that breastfeeding is best for mother and child and for society and should be supported and promoted in every way possible.

I also believe very deeply that we, as a society, need to keep in mind that every woman and every family is unique and what is good and right for one may not even be a viable option for another. In our zeal to mainstream an excellent thing we must not become so extremist that we demonize a healthy and valid “second option.”

Support nursing mothers! Support bottle feeding mothers, too! Because we moms are all working hard to do what’s best for our families and, frankly, we’re all exhausted and need a little help now and then.

I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences regarding breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding is Awesome! (Usually) |

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort? 

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7 responses »

  1. I have a wonderful supportive husband on this issue. He knows that it is a lot of work. I end up doing all the middle of the night, the all day long 24/7 al la carte when baby is hungry and I am breast feeding. He in no way pressures me but has made it clear from the beginning that breast feeding is my call.

    We have three children and another on the way. We initially chose to breast feed because of the cost savings and health benefits. We were blessed with twins right off the bat. Healthy wonderful HUNGRY children.

    I had to go back to work full time soon after the twins were born. My exhaustion level and their hunger grew. Though we wanted to continue breastfeeding the twins. I needed to stop. I wasn’t sleeping and they were hungry and growing. So after a brief 5 weeks. I made the choice to stop. My husband supported me. We began to share the feeding responsibility and it was pure heaven watching him hold the twins football style bottles in hand, knowing I was free to nap, shower, eat…work.

    When our youngest was born I was privileged to be able to stay home full time. We were planning on breastfeeding for his first year. That was cut short by a tragic hospitalization on my part. Grandma (my husband’s mom), helped with that transition. At 6 months he adjusted to formula.

    We plan on breast feeding this next little one…life does not slow down. I will be gin grad school when he/she is 6 months…So we will see how effective pumping will be while I am on occasion several states away.

    There is nothing like breastfeeding. It is a time when I get one on one with the baby. no interruptions…well minimal. It is a time during the day that I get to sit and breath. And the feeling that some how God created my body to formulate this live giving liquid casts me in a sense of awe for our creator who thought of every detail.

  2. Very well said. I was really fortunate to have a lot of support around me when I decided to nurse to my son. It was harder in public to deal with comments or stares from rude strangers and I wish I’d had the nerve to say something.

  3. I did not realize that I was a lazy hippie mama until just now.

    Thank you!

    Oh, and with seven kids and over a decade of breastfeeding experience, I breastfed because I’m lazy. Even with the challenges presented with my pre-term babies, and my last baby who was both pre-term and born with a birth defect, it was by far, easier than bottles, especially in the long run.

    Great post and I love the sweet breastfeeding pictures!

    • Isn’t it fun to know you’re just a little bit of a hippie? 🙂 Just think of how much money you saved by not buying seven babies worth of formula – especially the extra special medicated premie stuff! Eesh!

      • Oh, I’m a lot of a hippie. I thought I was just a Pagan Hippie kind of mom. Now I know I’m lazy too. I’m really okay with that. LOL

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