It’s World Breastfeeding Week and we are celebrating at Fusion Parenting. Come back for a new post on breastfeeding every day!
Welcome to the Carnival of Breastfeeding readers. I hope you enjoy this piece, there are further links to other carnival posts at the bottom.
There’s so much that could be said on this topic. It could be interpreted as preparing the baby by giving them a healthy start in life. In spite of what some commentators are trying to say, breastfeeding is healthier, and it is important. And don’t even think that all this is just something those poor plebs in the third world need to worry about – note that one of those references looks specifically at developed nations.
It could be interpreted as preparing the baby for the rest of their life by looking at the long term benefits, you know the decreased risk for later obesity, diabetes, some cancers and increases in intelligence. (A variety of references can be found here.)
Then there are they psychological benefits, the bonding and close relationship with their mother, which prepares the whole family for the turbulent toddler years. Breastfeeding may be protective for child abuse and abandonment.
Or the fact that breastfeeding decreases the risk of SIDS , which is definitely preparing a baby for life.
And there are all the ways it helps the mother, which keeps her in the best condition and prepared to look after her baby, including reducing her risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis and the (surprising?) fact that exclusively breastfeeding means both parents get more sleep.
And then of course there are all the tiny little things that happen normally and naturally, because breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby. So it does the whole developmental job it is designed for, not just feeding, and prepares the baby’s jaw for talking, gives the mother’s body a break before the next pregnancy, gives the baby the sleep needed for development, allows the baby to experience a wide range of tastes and prepare for family foods, and generally gets the baby ready for the rest of this adventure called life.
Like I said at the beginning, there is so much that could be said on this topic, and I’m sure it will be admirably said by the other contributors to the carnival. What I want to talk about is Breastfeeding – Prepared for LIFE! A life that is as big and as bold and as exciting as I can make it. Because isn’t that how life is supposed to be? I don’t want a boring life, a mundane life, a routine of an existence. Sometimes that’s what I get, but it’s not the life I plan and prepare for, and it’s not the life I plan and prepare for my children.
Because I breastfeed I can be spontaneous, just grab the keys and the change bag and off we go.
Because I breastfeed it doesn’t matter if we’re stuck in the waiting room or a queue for a couple of hours, I’m completely portable.
Because I breastfeed we can camp on whatever beaten track we like, it comes sterile and pre-warmed.
Because I breastfeed I can have dinner with friends and spend the night chatting over philosophy and a nice glass of red, a sated baby cuddled in my lap.
Because I breastfeed I fit into those ridiculously small airplane seats for a long haul flight, it doesn’t have to be made up and mixed.
Because I breastfeed I don’t worry about the quality of water at my destination.
Because I breastfeed I can live in a cyclone and flood prone area, serene in the knowledge that when the trucks don’t get through for three weeks my baby will be fine.
Because I breastfeed I can take my one year old to a restaurant, certain there’s something on the menu that will appeal to her.
Because I breastfeed I can go to a concert or show, we’re experts at attaching quickly and quietly in the dark.
In other words, because I breastfeed we are prepared for living. Babyhood is not something to be hidden, scheduled, confined. It is an introduction to the whole wonderful world, a celebration to be shared, something that allows adults to step back and rediscover life as their children experience it for the first time. Through breastfeeding we are prepared for life, prepared to begin the new journey with our children in the same way we intend to go on.
Other Carnival of Breastfeeding posts:
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Breastfeeding in Emergencies
Hobo Mama: Prepared for Life: Breastfeeding in local and global crises
Zen Mommy: How breastfeeding has shaped my toddler’s view of breasts
Pure Mothers: Marketing away real milk
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: Tips for consistent & long-term breastfeeding success
Cave Mother: Three moments that make me thankful I breastfeed
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: Breastfeeding as a lifesaver in emergencies