In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, here is my #brelfie! I’ve fed her at home, at other people’s homes such as friends and family, at the tennis court, at a cafe, at church and now also online.
I’m not one of those mums. You know, the stereotype white middle class mum who wants to do it ‘all natural’, breastfeeds, wears her baby like it’s a cult thing, doesn’t vaccinate, introduces solids a la Rapley and basically makes a big deal out of everything whilst trying to convince everyone and -perhaps mainly- herself that her exhausting way of parenting is the way to do it perfectly. After all, there’s a chance she gave up her career for this. If that’s how she wants to do it, all peace to her. After all, she probably didn’t choose her perfectionism, just like I didn’t choose my ADHD. My only objection is that this fictional mother (with a grain of truth) tends to be part of the mum wars. (Check this video).
I am white middle class-ish, I do breastfeed, I do baby wear (because it’s fun and easy), I do vaccinate and while BB will be learning to eat the old fashioned mushy mushy way, it’s probably good for her to try and chew on a carrot from time to time. And I have muddled in mum wars, mainly to point out that there’s no such thing as the perfect way to raise your child. And because I’m impulsive and say things when I probably should just shut up. But there’s one thing I do want to ‘preach’ -also as a professional-… and that is breastfeeding.
It really wasn’t much of a ‘choice’. I never even considered formula. Babies drink breast milk, that’s just the way it should be. Formula is life saving stuff for babies whose mums can not breastfeed. But I see absolutely no valid reason for me to give my child a somewhat inferior substitute if I can give her the real thing. It doesn’t matter if we don’t live in a developing country. It doesn’t matter if there’s research stating that it doesn’t matter that much… My objection to almost every article I’ve seen is that the breastfed group was also receiving formula under the age of 2..
But research and stuff is one thing.
Practice is the other.
So this is my experience after almost 5 months of breastfeeding with a difficult start.
- When she was 3 weeks old, I got sick. Something flu-like. Had she gotten sick as well she would probably have ended up in hospital. I was so worried! But nothing. She got the antibodies as I was making them.
- Just a few weeks ago the other baby at her minder had a cold for a full two weeks. I figured BB would be sniffling soon. She was. It lasted a full day and a half, and wasn’t even bad enough to give her trouble breathing or drinking. She was just fussy and drooly.
- She sleeps through the night usually. But when she doesn’t, I am forever grateful for not having to get up and make a bottle. I simply pick her up, put her next to me, support my back with a pillow and snooze until she’s done. Yes. That’s right. I sleep while feeding her.
- I’m just going to say it again: I can feed her in my sleep. I am a very rested mum!
- She doesn’t like drinking from a bottle. She can, but she won’t sometimes. She knows better, that’s all! No better place for a baby than their mum’s breast.
- It’s the most natural thing in the world.
- It’s a very loving act. Even the bible mentions nursing mothers as a comparison to God’s love. I mean, wow.
- As long as she’s being nursed, I don’t have to worry about her nutrition. She takes care of that herself. I don’t have to worry about getting more time between feeds, I don’t have to worry about over feeding her… and with her bottle issues I don’t have to worry about that either because she can just catch up in the evening when I’m home. When she starts solids, I don’t have to worry about her eating enough either.
- It’s easy, and I always have a hand free to read or play with my phone. And I needn’t even clean up.
- It’s quick, after the first few months. Takes me 5-10 minutes unless she’s just suckling to calm herself down. Which, in itself, is also useful since she thinks dummies are chew toys.
- I get a boost of feel-good hormones. Why would anyone pass on that?
- You know those evenings with a very young baby? Bottle babies have hours in which they just cry. Breastfed babies can cluster feed. I used to hate cluster feeding time, but I am sure I’d hate having to deal with a crying baby even more.
- It’s amazing to see how much she’s grown, and my body was fully responsible for that.
- I can’t forget my boobs. I can forget my keys, my purse, her nappies, wipes, clean clothes, entire nappy bag, parts of my breast pump, bottles… possible even her… but I can’t forget to bring along two of my organs.
- Actually, my nr 1 tip for future mums with ADHD would be to breastfeed. You just have to respond to your baby, no planning involved. Nothing you can forget.
- The only down side is pumping at work…
- …and it takes some time to figure it out. Just like everything does if you have a baby.
- Edited to add: those moments when you can’t figure out what is wrong but the boob seems to fix it…
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to feed the baby!