Today's bookmark is called 25 Historical Images that normalize breastfeeding. I found this on the blog of a fellow IFFer who also went on to become a mom. I read a lot about breastfeeding in the last trimester of pregnancy and in early motherhood. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed and breastfeed exclusively, if possible. The consistent message from my doctors, prenatal classes, and doula was that breastfeeding is the most healthy option for mom and baby. (I also received information about formula feeding.) In addition to that, breastfeeding appeals to my practical nature: it sounded like the most efficient way to feed a baby. The link of course is not giving information; it is showing that historically moms breastfed in all sorts of situations. I planned to do this as well. The pictures have snarky captions that might appeal to anyone who has been shamed or embarrassed for breastfeeding. But you do not have to read the captions to appreciate the pictures.
Breastfeeding is a topic that brings up a lot of strong emotions. I suppose this is inevitable: feeding a child is necessary to ensuring his/her survival, and every parent has strong feelings about the health and survival of their child. Few parental fears are more gutting or guilt-inducing than the fear your child is not eating properly or enough. And there is good reason why that fear is there, when you think about it. It really is not surprising that we can all be a bit crazy, individually and collectively, about what and how we feed our children. In addition breasts are associated with sexuality in our culture, and blah blah blah - I don't think I need to spell it out for any readers.
The way I see it: Humans are mammals (biological fact) and mammals lactate to feed their young. So there is no logical reason humans shouldn't breastfeed. However, natural systems have flaws and don't necessarily work the way they are supposed to (doubt that's news to any blog readers). Lucky for humans, unlike other species, we are not necessarily limited by nature: we have ways of feeding our babies, i.e. ensuring their survival, that are not natural. And that is a very good thing. So: no need to apologize if you breastfeed, and no need to apologize if you don't.
I am lucky to have had positive experiences with breastfeeding. AJ still boob feeds (what we always call it) before bedtime. She could do without at this point, but we both like the cuddles. Breastfeeding is a connection we have had since she was born. I guess I am not quite ready to give that up, although as she grows and develops we find many more ways of connecting, and inevitably, she will leave it behind with her outgrown clothes and toys and other aspects of babyhood.
I like the photos in the link because they don't look posed, they show moms being moms and taking care of their babies every day. In the same spirit, here are four of my favourite boob feeding photos. Clockwise from left:
-First breast feed, within an hour of birth. The photo was taken by our doula, who had the magic touch for getting AJ to latch.
-Several months later, out in nature!
-AJ's first Christmas, picture taken in my parents' living room. I cropped the photo to protect the privacy of other family members, but what it shows is me breastfeeding in the living room while carrying on a conversation with other people in the room.
-Snuggled up on my lap
Wishing good health to everyone and their families, current and future!