Friday, May 11, 2012

Babies and Boobies

When I learned that Time magazine had a mother nursing her child on the cover, I was ecstatic!  I thought it would help to normalize breast feeding in a country that sadly sees propping a bottle up for a baby as the norm.  It pains me that it used to be the norm, until some big formula companies convinced us all otherwise.

I just think it is a miracle that I can produce milk and my babies can live off of that alone!  It amazes me still, even after I have breast fed all three children I gave birth to (still breastfeeding now).  I have breast fed way beyond the age society seems to be comfortable with.  It is hard to continue doing so with so little support.  But I will do anything that I know benefits both my children’s’ health and our attachment. 

I have also breast fed my 2+ year old adoptive child for the sole purpose of comfort.  This was the most amazing thing for my child with a big attachment disorder.  I would hate to think where we would be without it.  I have even breast fed a child that was not mine.  To me breast feeding is very normal.  But I step out my door or turn on the TV or look on my computer screen and I see society does not agree with me.

I really don’t understand all the negative comments about breast feeding past the newborn stage.  In most countries children are self-weaned, sometimes this is up to age 6.  It is natural.  It is not sexual.  God gave us breasts to breast feed.  Our media has sexualized the heck out our boobies and we have fallen hard for it. 

Most U.S. mothers don’t even meet the recommendation made by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General that they skip infant formula and breast-feed exclusively for six months.   And those that do follow those guidelines are often questioned critically about it doing so. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breast-feeding up to a child’s second birthday “or beyond.” They also state, “It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer. There is no evidence that extended breastfeeding is harmful to mother or child.

So, there are only lots of positives for both the mother and the child when breastfeeding is extended past the US norm of 6 weeks.  But I guess because some of you all are uncomfortable with our “sexy boobies” we are suppose to stop.  No, I will never stop doing what is right for my children to make someone else feel more comfortable.

Ok, back to the TIME cover.  I am very saddened by it.  Instead of normalizing breast feeding they did anything but!  Who in the heck would ever stand their child on a stool and breast feed.  No, that is not normal!  And I guarantee most breastfeeding moms aren’t standing there all sexy doing so.  They are snuggling and enjoying their little one, not posing for a publicity stunt.

Breast feeding is a commitment to a child you love.  It is a beautiful bonding experience like no other.  If a mother, has made this commitment please support them.  All studies have shown that she is doing the best thing possible for her child. 

I don’t think there is anything sweeter than a breastfeeding baby.  I am hoping that one day it will AGAIN be the normal in society.  So, if you are around me, no I won’t leave the room, I won’t cover my babies head, I will try and be discrete, but yes you might get a glimpse of my breast (or my Ninny as Owen calls it).  I can guarantee there is nothing sexy about it!  I don’t do this to make people feel uncomfortable.  I believe the more people are around the beauty of it, the more comfortable they will become with it.  So, I wish TIME had posted some pictures like these: 

I am sure some are uncomfortable with the big engorged boobie, but most are probably comfortable with the fact this is a newborn breast feeding.

 Are you as comfortable with someone nursing at a public event?  
Say the Super Bowl Media Event .

What about nursing someone else's child?

What about nursing an adoptive son?  Transracial Nursing?

Mothering is the hardest job.  Let's support each other in our decisions to do what we believe is best for our beloved children!