Sunday, August 1, 2010
Boobs: Breastfeeding Awareness!
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Over the last two and half years, I've become a very large supporter of breastfeeding. I still remember when I got pregnant and not really thinking about it. I just knew I wanted to try breastfeeding. My first "goal" was 6 months. I figured with the rough start that my daughter and I had, that we'd be lucky to reach that goal. Fast forward to about when she was 28 months, and she self weaned. 15ish of those months were almost exclusively breastfeed because the silly girl wanted nothing to do with solid foods.
I still remember many times from about 6 months to about a year old, people would see this chunky monkey baby on my hip and ask me "What do you feed her?" "Umm...95% breast milk." Then about the time they picked their jaws off of the floor, they would be telling me how awesome that was. I had a few people that were not as supportive, but I learned early on in my daughter's life to do what worked for us, not someone else. I still remember from day 1, my husband told me that feeding the babe was my department and to let him know if I needed help. He was a huge support for me during the sometimes endless nights with teething and growth spurting. Making sure I stayed calm so that my milk wasn't affected. My daughter's pediatrician was also very supportive of her breastfeeding as long as we did. Many times he said "Why mess with what is working?"
I do hope that breastfeeding looses some of the stigma that it has here in the States. Why should I have to stop on the 1 year birthday? Especially now when it's recommended to go for two years. It seemed that I got more "odd" comments the longer we went past a year. Would I go past two years again? If the baby wanted it and it worked for us, sure. Do I think I treated my daughter with a disservice because I breastfed her for so long? Nope. I have a two year old that knows and understands that breasts are there for milk making. (She'll point to her's and say "MILK!") I also have so many wonderful memories of snuggling with my baby girl over the years. I can only hope to have those same memories with any other children I might have.
And from the geek side of me, I can blame breastfeeding for turning my daughter into a geek. Many times, when she was an infant, the only way I could get her to relax was to lay her on my boppy pillow and make sure it was touching my computer desk. It made the pillow vibrate just slightly. She was nurse to sleep and occasionally watch whatever game I was playing. (World of Warcraft then and later on Everquest 2) Hell, the computer room was where she slept many nights because of the white noise.
I will never forget while we were still in the hospital after Ali's birth. I think she was a day or two old. She was epic nursing like newbies do. I had my breakfast on my tray, munching on it. I also had my laptop up browsing some forums. The nursery nurse came in and just laughed. She was amazed that Ali was my first. She said I looked like it was old habits. The nurses at the hospital I delivered Ali at were truely a great kick start to the breastfeeding. They were majorly supportive and helpful to make sure we got it down pat. I thank them for that.
I can only hope that by the time my children have kids, that the breastfeeding statics will be more along with the rest of the world. That Ali won't have to worry about being told to go to the bathroom to feed her child, ect. Would you want to eat your meal in a public restroom? Do bottle feeding Mom's have to feed their children in a restroom? I do believe in being modest and covering up/minimalizing the exposed breast. I don't think that warrants making the breastfeeding mom feel wrong for just feeding her child. I just can hope that those points of views will change. It's not gross. Breasts have been objects by which to feed babies for years before they were sexualized.
The thing that always gets me the most about the American controversy over breastfeeding in public: There is more skin on television and magazine covers than a breastfeeding mom exposes.
Here is a link to the World Health Organization's fact sheet on breastfeeding: