Tuesday, August 01, 2006

World Breastfeeding Week

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week! I bet no one has wished you happy breastfeeding week yet, huh? Well, HAPPY BREASTFEEDING WEEK!

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This week is to raise awareness in the world about the importance and health benefits of breastfeeding. That breastfeeding is normal and natural and that breastfeeding is not something that needs to be done in a private place.

Breastfeeding is probably one of the best choices a mom can make for her baby, but I don't think enough education is done about it to let women know that the first few weeks may be VERY hard and you will very likely think about quitting. Also, if you don't have a supportive partner, you may not succeed.

It's funny that BFing week occurs now, on a big milestone for me. I have been BFing Bryce longer than I did with Caroline. With Caroline, I stopped pumping at work at about 8 months and supplemented with formula during the day. But I continued to BF her before and after work until she was 11 months. But Bryce has been BFed exclusively the entire time and only now I'm starting to mix soy milk into his expressed milk that I send with him to daycare.

One of the thing that makes me angry about some of those overly gungho breastfeeding people is that there isn't enough attention paid to the working mother. Yes, they tell you that you can pump and that will still be good for the baby, but sometimes I wonder how many of them actually have done it. I can proudly say that I have pumped at work for almost 10 months. Until last month, I was still pumping 3 times a day and now I've cut back to 2 times and my supply is dwindling. I must say, I am EXTREMELY lucky to have a supervisor and work environment that has been supportive of this choice and has let me take frequent "time outs" from my day. I have my own office, with a door that locks too. You wouldn't believe the stories I've read about the lengths some women will go to to pump milk for their babies. Sitting in bathroom stalls (EEK!) or in closets. That alone would make me want to stop. I'm amazed at women who continue to do it in such unsupportive environments.

World Breastfeeding Week is just as much for future moms as it is for the public and society needs to stop always interpreting any exposed breast as a sexual object. Yeah, if a woman is walking around Target with her boob just flopping out, maybe that is a problem. But if she's walking around while nursing her baby in a sling or sitting on a bench feeding him/her, there shouldn't be a problem.

Finally, if you have chosen not the breastfeed your child (or will choose not to) I am not one of those people that look down on you and your choice. I firmly believe that everyone needs to make the best decision for them and their baby. All I ask is that everyone having a child learns a little bit more about BFing before they make their decision - there is very little marketing for breastfeeding and a HUGE amount for formula so you may have to do a little work!


Katie said...

Amen! Before I had Emily, I never thought I would breastfeed. The whole idea made me so uncomfortable. Once I had Emily though, it came so naturally and I was so glad that I was able to do it for her first year. It was truly a bonding experience. Every mother should give it a serious try.

Christine said...

Thanks for the info- I had no idea!!! My sis is one who had to lurk in the bathroom at work (She works in a male-dominated office with LOTS of glass) and she made it to 9 mos, I think! Go all of us! (Not that there's anything wrong with FF ;) ).