The word ‘breastfeeding’ makes me smile. I have come such a long way from our first latch and the ensuing months of tears and ouch, real and perceived low milk supply … those days when my goal was just to make it to the end of the day managing to feed my little man all the food he needed from my bosom … those days when feeding my son exclusively on breastmilk seemed out of my reach … oh, those days!
I’m also survived the surprising recent days of excruciatingly painful and unexpected blocked ducts and blebs. I’ve faced the challenge of continuing with breastfeeding after maternity leave and on return to full-time work, and I keep working on making this work for us.
I have now been breastfeeding for almost 22 months without any sign of stopping; and I tell you, I am so thankful for breastfeeding and breastmilk.
So, I thought I’d do some reflection, and jot down reasons why I love breastmilk and celebrate breastfeeding. Here are my first 10 … more to come in future posts.
If you know me, you know I LOVE me a good baaaarrrrrgain! I was totally sold on breastfeeding when I heard it was free during my NHS breastfeeding class. I mean, I don’t think I thought it wasn’t; I just never thought about it until that point.
That it is free of course doesn’t mean that it is without value; oh no. In my eyes, it’s priceless, and according to a Daily Mail article in June, it “can trade for 400 times more than the price of crude oil, 2,000 times more than iron ore and, if sold off the shelf, could cost more than 150 times the price of a gallon of cow’s milk”. Need I say anymore?
I can’t remember how many times I’ve asked the question, ‘why can’t I just be normal?’ Whatever normal is, especially in situations when I’ve wondered about it, I’m thrilled that with breastfeeding I’m doing something very normal.
Breastfeeding is the biological norm for nourishing babies and I’m very pleased to be able to participate in this.
I also love this about breastfeeding because when some onlookers off or online spit out their breastfeeding ignorance, it’s reassuring to know that I’m doing something very normal and right for my child.
All things designer in this world are mostly out of my league at the moment. Gone are those days in my little town in West Africa, when I went to the tailor with the design I wanted for an outfit, and where I got measured for clothes especially made for me. I’ll have to win the jackpot or somehow make it financially big to be able to afford this now.
Guess what though? Breastfeeding gives me the chance to give my child food especially designed for him. How privileged is he? I know the feeling of getting something especially designed for you, it’s brilliant!
My breastmilk was created and continues to be manufactured with the changing needs of my little boy in mind. Everything in me that concerns it, comes together and works together to have just the right components he needs every day. Amaze-balls, right.
My breastmilk is the most dynamic super food for my child, perfectly made especially for him.
The entrepreneur in me loves the fact that my milk is subject to the demand and supply principle, all things being equal. Understanding this ‘you don’t ask you don’t get’ deal about breastfeeding helped me to nail it in the end, albeit, with hours of pumping worth of work.
This quality about it gives people like me that didn’t make a good start with breastfeeding, the opportunity to catch up on the quantity our baby needs, on the go. You know, you just need to keep feeding, for your body to make the amount of milk your baby needs.
The ready-made food that breastmilk is, also means that it’s available from source at the right temperature. ‘Yipppeeee’, did I hear you say. Oh yes … right?
I combi fed for a while in the early months, so I really appreciate the necessity of having food ready to go, for a hungry baby at the right time. Otherwise, the ensuing baby cry or toddler screams might just about bring down the whole house. Okay, I exaggerate, but really … baby needs food when baby needs food, and the breast is usually ready to deliver when called upon.
When feeding from source, there is no faffing around with making sure it’s sterilised, or that it has the right ingredient mixture, or that it is hot or warm enough, or anything enough … you just have to make sure you get it to your child on time, and your child happily takes what s/he needs.
The only preparation you need is rest, low stress, and prompt response to your child’s need for it.
Breastmilk is living; it’s alive people. It not only contains the usual carbs, fat, and proteins that other foods have, but also active components like we have in our blood … it’s got live cells in it. My word, right?
Yeah, it’s got immune strengthening stem cells, bacterial cells, and white blood cells. It’s food for my child like no other food could ever be. I mean, there are ingredients within breastmilk that are still being identified. Need I say anymore?
Love, love, love that breastfeeding feeding is affordable. No accessories, clothes, or food are needed to make breastfeeding work. The only breastfeeding must haves are your breast tissue and a baby, and relatively good health.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m thankful for my Frugi breastfeeding clothes … I like my Breastvest breastfeeding undergarment … I thoroughly enjoy Motherlove lactation cookies (the very thought makes my mouth water) … and my Ardo pump contributed to the saving of my breastfeeding relationship.
Breastfeeding pillows are also very handy, especially whilst you’re trying to master the feeding positions that work for you … and nipple cream can be life savers, can’t they? Especially in those early breastfeeding days when breasts are more prone to pain.
Even then, I recognise that most breastfeeding mums around the world do not use any of these on their breastfeeding journeys. These items are not breastfeeding essentials, though they are fab to have, and items like pumps might be a modern necessity for some.
Breastfeeding affordability makes it accessible to majority of women around the world. With the exception of the very few women who cannot breastfeed, breastfeeding is not discriminatory. You can breastfeed whether you are black or white, rich or poor, overfed or even starving.
It’s fab to participate in something that you know so many others are not excluded from.
And in some ways in our very competitive world with its unfair distribution of wealth, it’s an area of life where babies can have some kind of level playing field.
NO-CRY SLEEP AID
Ask a new mum what they will like more of, and sleep for themselves and their baby is likely to be high on their list. Well, breastfeeding is the ultimate no-cry ‘nature’s knock out juice’ (as a commenter on one of my breastfeeding posts called it) for both mother and child.
I so wish I realised this much earlier and embraced it sooner. We would definitely have gotten more sleep during the day and at night. Admittedly, I find that it seems to take longer to work in the toddler years; but it still works better than all the ways I’ve tried.
I can’t remember how many times my child has breastfed to ease his discomfort or pain.
For the feverish days, its effect is quicker than that of any baby paracetamol you could ever use. It’s also much easier to administer; no tears and struggles to get and keep one’s baby’s mouth opened (definitely the case when it’s mastered).
It also comes without worries of possible overdose, making sure the right amount is used, or ensuring that the dropper is well cleaned and stored away afterwards. There is also no worries about keeping it out of the reach of little hands, or taking care when handling it, in case it falls down and break.
Breastfeeding sure has a way of soothing through falls and bumps, anxieties and worries, and definitely the needle pains and distress of the heel prick test and vaccinations. I mean, why do health professionals suggest breastfeeding after each immunisation course?
I continue to grow in my appreciation of the calming effect that breastfeeding has on my child, even at times when I feel there isn’t much breastmilk to drink.
Toddlers can get hysterical very quickly, and for no apparent reason too. I’ve found breastfeeding, even when it’s sometimes initially refused as a remedy for an upset, soothing for both of us.
It has a way of restoring little one to normalcy after a tantrum, and giving me respite from my unsuccessful attempts to reach him where he is, at those times.
I love the calm breastfeeding brings at bedtime, after the day’s hustle and bustle; and even at the start of the day.
And as my toddler grows in his independence and as he gets more boisterous, breastfeeding gives me the longest stretches of calm moments with him. This is not to say that every breastfeeding session is calm; far from it. Indeed, I never knew there could be so much movement with breastfeeding.
My reasons have grown as I planned and wrote this post, and so, I’ll be writing more about my breastfeeding loves in the coming weeks and months. I hope our last latch doesn’t come anytime soon; so much enjoyment to still be had from this incredibly amazing act of motherhood.
The code word for the Celebrating Breastfeeding Christmas Extravaganza is elf. With special thanks to our sponsors for providing the amazing prizes: ARDO, LoveyUsh, Milk & Mummy, Lorna Drew, Mummy Makes Milk, Thrupenny Bits, breastvest and More4Mums. Click here for T&Cs.
~ Can you identify with any of my reasons? What would you add to it? ~
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