Feeding for the Future
February 21, 2012
Breastfeeding. It is a loaded word. It is powerful. Every piece of evidence says we should be doing it. Makes sense – we are mammals – what are breasts but mammary glands?
So why is it such a challenge? Why is it so loaded? My theory is that it is an integral part of mothering. Mothering is so complex, yet so simple.
In New York, in this newish millennium, life is complex – so many choices, so many options, so many acceptable variations on “the norm.” What is the norm? Who knows anymore?
For many years breastfeeding was considered special, exceptional. Well guess what? It isn’t – simply put, breastfeeding is normal. That’s all – normal. Of course, anyone who has breastfed will tell you that they feel special, exceptional. Well, being a mother is special, exceptional and normal. Procreation has kept the human race going. Well, breastfeeding has also kept the human race going. Mothering and breastfeeding go hand in hand.
So, what happened? Breastfeeding was replaced as was much of our nutrition and where has that gotten us? Going back to whole foods, sustainability. We are shopping for organic foods, preparing fresh meals. What about those of us who don’t know how to cook, who don’t have time to cook, who choose not to cook? Do we go hungry? No, we go out! The trend in restaurants is to offer fare that is seasonal and locally grown. It is green, good for the environment. The people have spoken and we want our health back.
Many mothers truly need to work to support their family. Many mothers are very fulfilled by their jobs outside of mothering and make a commitment to the balancing act of mothering, working, taking care of herself. The babies of these mothers want and deserve proper nutrition.
Babies can’t speak so obviously. Those of you with babies know better. They want their milk and they want what is theirs. What about the moms who don’t have enough milk, don’t want to breastfeed, have to work and don’t have access to quality pumps, or pumping breaks? Shouldn’t these babies still get human milk? These babies deserve access to appropriate nutrition, their mothers deserve informed choice and these babies deserve access to banked human milk. The people need to speak out on behalf of our future. There is nothing more sustainable or greener than breastfeeding.
How can we make this happen? Create a need – if you are pregnant tell your health care providers that you will be breastfeeding and you want to know how they will support you and your baby. Talk to nursing moms, attend a La Leche League Meeting, take a breastfeeding class. If you are nursing, share your joys and challenges. Avoid nursing in the closet. If breastfeeding is not going well, surround yourself with support, seek help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, tell your health care providers and pediatrician.
Mothers need support. Let us support one another in our mothering. Sometimes we make different choices from our peers. Sometimes choices are made for us. Mothering is about the future – our babies are the future. Let us celebrate the next generation and work toward a healthier future for our children.