Why is it that in todays society, breastfeeding is still looked down upon? How on earth can giving your baby or child what is best, what was intended for them to eat, be taboo?
There was a lot of controversy back in 2009 when Salma Hyak visited a hospital in war torn Sierra Leone. She selflessly comforts and breastfeeds a one week old baby who was malnourished. His mothers milk had dried up and Selma felt she had plenty to share as she was currently weaning her 1 year old daughter. Watch the video below:
When I saw this video I was immediately impressed with her willingness to step up and feed this hungry little person. I would absolutely do the same thing in such a situation. I have in the past donated my milk to mothers who were having supply issues and did not want to give formula.
Why is this considered so taboo to others? We willingly, by the millions, feed our children cows milk and formula (which is man made chemicals with cows milk) on a daily basis. Cows milk and any other milk that isn't human breastmilk was not intended for humans. Cows milk was designed to be the perfect food to help sustain a baby calf. Human breastmilk was designed to be the perfect food to help sustain a baby human.
In our worlds History, it has been documented that wet nurses were a common solution to a mothers lactation complications. If a mother was unable to sustain her child with her own milk, a lactating mother would be brought in to help feed that child. Even more importantly, if a mother had died during childbirth it was crucial to have a wet nurse come in to feed the child until it was weaned.
This of course, is before breast pumps and formula and all that jazz. But its the very basic concept that a human child needs human milk and that, regardless of circumstance, should be what that child receives to be as healthy as possible.
Sure, people will cry and say that formula is the second best option. But this is not true. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) infant feeding is ranked by,
1.Breast milk from the breast
2. Pumped breast milk from the baby's own mother
3. Donated breast milk
4. Infant formula
Why is it that most mother immediately gravitate towards formula when needing to supplement?
I believe that it because formula has been made readily available without a prescription. You can purchase it at any grocery store, even some gas stations and County Health Departments hand it out like free candy. Formula is not sterile like breastmilk. It is overly processed, is made from cows milk, has high fructose corn syrup and sugars sweetening it up just so babies will drink it, and if you have ever read the ingredients on the back of a can, you would be floored.
Most parents are pretty health conscious about the foods their toddlers and children eat, I know I am. We stay away from overly processed foods, preservatives, non organic produce and milk... But why are there parents who still immediately gravitate towards formula when they hit a small bump in the road of breastfeeding (and believe me, I've been through those bumps!). My son has never had a single drop of formula. Ive been through a gall bladder removal surgery when he was just 2 months old, I pumped like a mad woman for WEEKS before I had it taken out. My mom bottle fed him the pumped milk while I was away. Once I was home I writhed in pain, only taking 2 doses of my Tylenol with codeine and then throwing it out so I could breastfeed him. Later on we suffered through a week of pain with a clogged duct that finally was relieved when I developed a nipple blister I was able to pop. It was painful to feed him for the next few weeks but we got over that hump too. He's now 7 months old and still breastfeeds for 90% of his nutrition. He takes a bit of yogurt or pureed veggies and fruits here and there but that's it.
So, while it seems this blog is going no where fast, I just wanted to say, no SCREAM out there to all the mommas. Breastfeeding is the best, most natural, amazingly healthy thing you can do for you babies!
The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months, and then breastfeeding until at least a year and after that up until age 2 or beyond with child led weaning... I would like to see more mommas out there boobing their babies on the playground, in the mall, at the restaurant, at the pool, anywhere- ANYTIME. Who's with me? I know I don't mind publicly announcing that I will do what is best for my baby :)