I feel sorry for every baby who never experienced or never will experience the warmth and satisfaction of a mother’s breast and the gift of human nourishment that mothers have been endowed with since mammals began to walk the earth nearly 200 million years ago (yes, during the age of the dinosaur). It strikes me as a little crazy that we could practically abondon it and think so little of it. The breast is not just a nutrient dispenser for the baby…it will shape the pattern of the bonding between mother and child. The act of breastfeeding is a repetitive behaviour that begins from the early minutes of a newborns life and lasts for several years in most cases, under natural circumstances.
If established as it should be, breastfeeding is a pleasurable and rewarding experience for the mother and the baby…imagine the relationship that forms between the mother and breastfed baby…life beginning as a series of pleasurable and rewarding experiences! The baby learns about human touch, trust, warmth and nurturing…the mother is empowered by her body’s ability and gains confidence as a woman and mother. These are the early stones in the foundation that will build a child, a human being a family and a community. It should be our societal goal to reestablish this birthright of babies. Our focus should be to build support for this innately human activity for the sake of children, mothers and our human species. We are selling out our own humanity to do any less.
As World Breastfeeding Week approaches, we are reminded by INFACT Canada about this year’s theme “Mother Support: Reclaiming our Breastfeeding Culture.”, and that ensuring a culture of support for breastfeeding is everyone’s responsibility. World Breastfeeding Week in Canada runs from October 1-7 this year.
Lets think about that “culture of support”. If we think about what that really means it is a very tall order. A true culture of support would not be letting babies and mothers down. Workplaces would encourage it and mothers would be given extended parental leaves to accommodate it…fathers would be advocates for their children and their wives. Breastfeeding would be the logical option and would be the dominant way to feed newborns…exclusively for their first few months! “Formula” would become just a memory or history book name that connected it to the “dark ages” of infant care.
Finally…I might as well say it. Its pretty obvious to me that people have gone insane…as a society for sure and even as individuals. We have lost the ability to see and act on the totally obvious. We have lost the ability to distinguish what is truly important for our own species…some may claim to but then fail to demand it for themselves or their loved ones. We are ignorant of our gifts, wasting them while denying our offspring what has been essential to our success and development as human beings. We are fixated on bullshit most of the time… and like a village idiots we waste our time on earth. New cars, vacations to exotic places, 40 pairs of shoes, cell phones, our use and consumption of most electronic media are diversions to pursuing our own fulfilment. OK sometimes I like to rant. But think about it. Why would a mother, driven by millions of years of biological programming, forfeit her own breasts and motherly instincts to feed her child for use of some smelly, cheesy, factory made mystery goop with a scary reputation? When someone has a better answer let me know.
If you want answers about breatfeeding though, you can find support and answers…just don’t make your local medical practioner, nurse, or health unit experts your primary sources of information…to a large extent these are the people responsible for perpetuating the formula feeding culture we now live in. If you care about babies, women, family or humanity you owe it to yourself to champion the cause of breastfeeding. Here are some places to start:
La Leche League International: http://www.llli.org/ to find support networks in your community
The Infant Feeding Action Coalition, Canada www.infactcanada.ca/
Breastfeeding.com, http://www.breastfeeding.com/ a collection of everything related to breastfeeding but most importantly a live Q and A line with IBCLC lactation consultants. IBCLC or International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants can also be found at the International Lactation Consultant Association site http://www.ilca.org/ .