Breastfeeding awareness week may 11th – 17th
One of the greenest and most self sufficient things a new mother can do is breastfeed her child. It is nature’s miracle at its best – the perfectly designed food for your baby that changes all the time to meet their requirements.
You don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to warm bottles, there is no waste to go into the landfill, no bottles to plan if you’re going out for the day, it helps get your own hormones back in shape after giving birth and its served at the perfect temperature every time!
With the right care, support and encouragement, any mother can feed her child. Unfortunately though we put unrealistic demands on ourselves (not helped by the lack of extended family I’m sure) and many mothers are ‘unable’ to breastfeed.
I’m going to be pretty outspoken here and say that it is my belief that there is NO Mother who *cannot* breastfeed. It is a symptom of our lifestyle that leads to a decrease in milk supply and makes it ‘easy’ (I say that lightly and with compassion) for women to give up.
There is a massive lack of support, conflicting information, and the perverse views of society that can even make this most natural gift feel shameful. The pressure comes to bottle feed with claims of it being ‘easier’ and more convenient (i.e. the mother doesn’t have to have anything to do with it). There is guilt from both camps, making the pressure enormous and the decision impossible to face.
I would say to all Mothers that the only person who can make the decision to breastfeed or not is YOU. Don’t give into pressure from anyone, no matter who they are. Look into your child’s eyes, reach to their soul and find your own conclusion that brings you both inner peace and contentment. Then reach out for the physical and emotional support you need – whether that be from friends and family who can help you or a counsellor.
Anyway, stepping off my soapbox, May 11th – 17th is Breastfeeding Awareness Week. Experienced breast feeding counsellors can be called from the UK from 8am–10pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year – what a wonderful service these earth angels provide. I remember calling one at 10pm one night when my daughter was a couple of weeks old. I was exhausted and realised, after half an hour of compassion and wisdom from a wonderful woman, that the most natural of all my Mothering gifts was actually NOT at all natural to me. I had been doing things completely wrong through lack of knowledge.
Looking back though, why should I have known? I was bottle fed, I had no younger siblings to watch being taken care of, I didn’t grow up with an extended family or community where it was the norm to breastfeed. I was a complete radical in my family to even consider such an inconvenience! Luckily, this made me all the more determined to fulfill my daughter’s needs. I won’t pretend it was easy though, and without my sheer determination and will power I have no doubt I would have given up.
So please, if you are in that challenging position of not knowing which way to go, or are on the brink of giving up do call someone for help and advice. It might just make the difference and provide you with a satisfying and fulfilling experience for you and your child.
National Breast feeding Awareness Week is in its 15th year. It’s aim is to highlight that breastfeeding is the healthiest feeding option for babies and mothers. It seeks to promote a woman’s right to breastfeed at any time in any place and rallies support for breastfeeding women across the country.
As part of Breastfeeding awareness week, I’m delighted to hear that shops, supermarkets and shopping centres across the country have been encouraged to support the week by being Breastfeeding Friendly. It’s a shame this should be something special, but it’s a move in the right direction.
The theme for this year is to encourage mothers from low-income backgrounds to initiate and continue to breastfeed their baby and to support young mothers by hooking them up with a Breast Buddy – someone to give emotional and practical support .
If you’re a been there, done that mama and would like to help other women breastfeed, why not consider doing the NCT’s Diploma in breast feeding counselling? What a wonderful ‘pay it forward’ act of kindness this is and such a worthwhile thing to do. I know from experience that half an hour of a wise and loving ear can bring such massive support.
One last thing; every woman should read Veronika Robinson’s book ‘The Drinks are on me‘. Everything you want to know about breastfeeding are within the pages of this wonderful and passionate book. It’s delivered in a open, honest, dynamic and refreshing way and you’ll learn so much from it as you cry and laugh your way through Ms.Robinson’s words.
If you see a woman breast feeding today, give her a smile and a word of encouragement – she’ll thank you for it.