It’s only fair to start this post with a quick question addressed to you all, excited yet slightly scared future mums, puzzled sleep deprived new mombies and experienced ‘seen it all’ confident expert cool ones: how much research, how many blog posts and controversy news articles have you stumbled upon when it comes to breastfeeding related subjects ever since deciding to get on this motherhood roller coaster? Not a shy number I guess…
Yet I am not here to discuss and bore you with the fascinating research on benefits of breastfeeding as Google can do a better job than me, but instead share my own list of facts I happened to discover over my past 20 months of nursing (and counting). It wasn’t the smoothest trick to come easily from the very beginning, yet I could now call it a pray based on faith, determination and love for what nature intended, that’s how I made our breastfeeding journey possible. It had its ups and downs as new mums’ emotions and mood are heavily controlled by wacky hormones, but here’s why I’d never swap this for anything else…
1. Breastfeeding is a quick fixer
Crying, teething, feverish, tired, grumpy baby? What I learnt during these past few months is that breastfeeding had helped me deal better with all the baby drama (which is pretty much nonstop as babies take their discovering the world job very seriously). Oh, forgot to mention toddler tantrum fixer! So helpful during those sobbing moments in the middle of the supermarket aisle when nothing else seems to work out in order to calm down the sulkiest toddler the world has ever seen…
2. Breast milk is kind of magic
There are so many ways one can use breast milk that I didn’t even know of; if you ask Babble you’ll find out that sore throat, sun burnt, cradle cap, diaper rush and many others can be treated successfully with breastmilk. My favourite read though is from Milk Genomics who believe milk composition is constantly changing according to the needs of the baby. Just the thought that your food can change according to your body’s requirements makes me envision breastmilk as being a magic potion, so why would I refuse my baby such an amazing treat if I can help provide the very best for him?
Breastfeeding has given me more freedom so instead of having to buy thousands of baby bottles, work on making formula milk math or live the sterilising madness, all I had to do is settle with a supportive nursing bra and a few breast pads for the first few months of nursing work…Therefore I get away with less stuff to carry in his baby bag which means this: more space for buggy shopping bags!
4. It should not be isolation and hiding, but sharing…
Breastfeeding is a beautiful natural act and we should not be ashamed of it no matter where we go. I confess, I used to hide from all people I knew every time we went out. As a new mum, I was hiding in restaurant bathrooms so I could breastfeed my baby. What a wrong thing to do! Until one day when I said stop, this is not fair to the tiny human or myself, and we should instead have lunch in the same environment with the other people. Because there will always be that person who will have little tolerance for accidental nipple flashing in public or that childless friend who won’t fully understand what’s all this fuss about…
5. Baby brain? You’d still be on the go
Late for a doctor’s appointment? Forgot the baby water bottle at home? Are there days when babies simply won’t nap? Well, I can think of more occasions where you can simply put the baby on your chest and get past lots of tricky situations while having a chat with a friend at the corner coffee shop, why not phone interviews or even attend A BritMumsLive conference where so many new mum bloggers are happily breastfeeding during creative workshops and Pinterest seminars.
6. It’s all about the bond
Because you know that despite huge efforts like sometimes having to wake up more often and having to offer a sore nipple in the middle of the night, you’re doing a good thing. It’s healthy, it’s bonding, it’s the unselfish love for another human being. But above all, the bonding part was and still is my favourite as it goes through a few fun stages which can easily be observed if one decides to continue breastfeeding after the first 6 months. The sleepy sucking milk new born changes into a cheeky reacting smiling baby who then becomes a very interactive toddler who understand your breasts are made for both comfort and food (and yes, sometimes for a bit of biting fun…).
7. It’s convenient
Which means you can do it anywhere, everywhere, anytime, every time you need to. I look at celebs like Gwen Stefani who supports breastfeeding despite admitting her son was biting her a few times or glam mum Giselle Bundchen who keeps posting nursing pictures while getting her usual beauty treatments. So if Beyonce does it at posh dinners out with Jay-Z in famous Michelin restaurants, why shouldn’t I?
8. It’s not cheap. It’s free
Not much to say here, except that formula is genuinely pretty expensive if you run a few long term calculations. Therefore I am truly grateful for the chance I had and I intend to continue and take full advantage of…So it’s not cheap, it’s actually free (if you don’t count the extra 500 calories worth of food you must invest in daily!).
9. It sets a good example
It really does. After endless conversations, Skype conferences and emails I exchanged with mums from all backgrounds and countries, I am not afraid to say it gives confidence to new mums. Especially if they watch you breastfeeding in public. As a new mum, you can be slightly (or very) unsure of what is appropriate and what may be frowned upon. I’d say: do it and be a good example for others as others were there for me and I’m being thankful.
10. Breastfeeding empowers women
Ever since I started breastfeeding, I realised it’s only us, women, who can do it. Well yes, men can help out changing the diapers, give a bottle to crying tiny human, rock to sleep, play with or sing to babies, but they can’t breastfeed. Which makes me think women are truly amazing indeed. According to INFACT CANADA, among other great reasons, breastfeeding confirms a woman’s unique ability to care for her infant in the best way possible, it has the power to challenge the view of breasts as merely sex objects and it diminishes the power of commercial interests to manipulate in the advertising of breastmilk substitutes. Not to mention that breastfeeding reduces a mother’s economic and medical dependance.
11. It’s entertaining
How fun are they when playing with your jewellery while having the healthiest treat and looking deep into your eyes, when giggling, pulling your hair, or twisting their little bodies, bum up and flying tiny feet while determined not to lose the nipple. Oh joy…But to me, the best part is that I get to analyse his every movement, gesture and blink of an eye, managing to create my own mental pictures which I will carry with me for the rest of my life…
12. Breastfeeding is your business
…and your business alone. Well, except for an impromptu photoshoot like this (part of a cool project called The Milky Way, thanks to the Ania, amazing mum of two behind Ania Pawleta Photography). But sharing this experience especially with future mums can only make me happy. Breastfeeding is a major decision, the length of it is a personal matter and no one should judge or argue your decisions. I am the mother of my son and I feel breastfeeding is still something we have to work on so I will not stop just because he has a certain age which in some people’s mind is considered to be wrong.
“When we drink breastmilk, compassion is manifested within us. This act is a symbol of love and affection that lays the foundation of our entire life.” –Dalaï-Lama XIV
My top breastfeeding tip for you new mums out there is: breastfeed like no one is watching. Some folks just don’t know they are all witnessing the most natural and beautiful bond in the world…
So, cool mums with witty bundles, it’s now your turn to spill the beans and share your story…
If thirsty for more creative fun ways to enjoy motherhood and its perks, follow Allmumstalk Facebook page or you can get lots of colourful ideas from my Instagram #allmumstalk (Instagram junkie!). Cool mums tweet, so throw at me your tips if braver (#allmumstalkhere)! 😉
Motherhood can be beautifully challenging yet tough. Good news, we’re all in this together!