Recently the Huffington Post UK published an articled addressing the risk of defining babies as good vs bad.
This is a subject that I have been wanting to tackle for a while, since it is somewhat personal. To me and to the rest of the generation grown up in the 80s.
What a tricky period of time that was for women! From one end they were pushed to revenge their human rights as equal to men and therefore encouraged to claim their careers, pants and economical power. From the other they were told that they could and should also have a family and being able to do it all. Alone.
The results were somewhat catastrophic, in many areas; breastfeeding being one of them.
This is when our society started to address babies as good when on a predictable routine from their very first day and bad when they seemed fussy and hungry ‘all the time’.
What a tired and overwhelmed mother were to do? Introduce formula, of course!
Society started to tell mothers that formula was more nutritious, practical, and far more convenient that breastfeeding and the formula companies invested millions in advertising campaigns, created for the sole purpose to discourage breastfeeding and make bank on mothers and babies.
The trend is still very strong nowadays unfortunately and one of the biggest reason mothers give up breastfeeding, is the lack of support. Often times, formula is offered as the solution to breastfeeding challenges, when in reality we need to start to support mothers, more emotionally and culturally.
Of course a baby who breastfeeds will eat more often than one who takes formula because breast-milk is highly more digestible, but our bodies are marvelously designed to adapt to the demands of our babies. We nourished them for 9 months, why would our bodies all of a sudden stop functioning in in perfect symbiosis with our babies?
On the same note why would we want to force or deprive our babies of food just because it is not ‘time to nurse’, when we should instead teach them to listen to their bodies and eat whenever they are hungry? Wouldn’t we have set the base for an healthy adolescence already?
Yes, breastfeeding requires a lot of work ( less than mixing, warming up a bottle though), but it creates a unique bond between mom and baby that goes beyond disease immunity and the so acclaimed attachment parenting that is, thankfully, becoming so much in vogue.
So unless there are some very good reason ( physical, geographical just to name a few) for a mother not to breastfeed her baby, let’s remind her that it is her right and power to do so, in public and at any given time her baby is hungry.