I had NEVER heard of Breastfeeding Awareness Week before today. Never. Before becoming a parent, that is the kind of thing that would have completely grossed me out. Yet here I am, the mommy to a beautiful, healthy 18-month-old, and yes, I am still feeding her with my breasts.
My friends asked me when I was pregnant if I was planning to breastfeed my child, to which I would always respond, "Yuck! That is so disgusting!" Toward the end of my pregnancy, I had read enough articles, books, and blog posts that gave me the sneaking suspicion that breast is, in fact, best for growing bodies and minds. I decided to look into breastfeeding further, and made up my mind to at least TRY to breastfeed my child when she was born.
It's amazing the kind of details that books, magazines, etc leave out when discussing the issue of breastfeeding. First, it really stinkin' HURTS in the beginning! Second, many breastfeeding problems can be solved by - wait for it - more breastfeeding! Whoa!
I personally believe that many of the health problems that we face as a country could be solved if more mothers breastfed their children. Breastfeeding reduces the mother's risk of breast and other cancers, among other things. It is also the best thing for our children.
An inescapable truth is settling in our society, however. Whatever our reasons, breastfeeding has slipped out of the mainstream in our country, and I believe that is a bad thing.
I totally get that this is a very complex issue, and one that is a very delicate area to touch on (hehe!) I think that is why so many women are upset at what the super gorgeous, fashionable mama Gisele Bundchen had to say about breastfeeding. While I do not share her opinion that there should be some kind of international breastfeeding mandate, I do believe that something needs to be done to make breastfeeding climb back up to being the primary source of infant nutrition as it once was.
We tell mothers to go to the restrooms to feed their hungry children, to cover up their breasts while in a restaurant, or to plan their trips around their child's eating schedule. Why do we react so poorly and in such a hateful way to these fellow moms? I, for one, have seen plenty of boobs in public places, and guess what? They belonged to young women, some intoxicated, that left the house in nothing more than a handkerchief covering their chests. I have yet to see the flaunted breast of a nurturing mother in a public place.
What do you think the problem with breastfeeding is? How do we make it more of an acceptable thing in our modern society? How long did you breastfeed your child? Please feel free to share your comments about all things boobie-related, and please remember to keep the discussion civil! Take care!