by Rachel Layman on 01/03/17
There comes a time in the life of a human when basic care is necessary for his or her survival; Love, cleaning, but mostly nutrition. A most basic and primal function of mammals is breastfeeding. At its most fundamental, it supplies a perfect balance of everything a human (mammal) needs to grow and thrive prior to solid food.
As a secondary function of primal mammal parenting, breastfeeding serves as a time to nurture and love our children as we watch them devour the liquid our very DNA causes our bodies to produce.
Once upon a time I breastfed my children for 5 years combined between the two. I recall having no difficulties with passersby while doing so in public. I can plainly recall breastfeeding in such places as, the bench in the local mall, the airport, the grocery store while meandering the isles, the beach, in restaurants, even in the bank. I would never feed them in a bathroom, it was simply too full of germs in my mind. I would not eat in a bathroom, why would I feed my child in one?
I have been trying to figure out what has happened in the 20 years since that time when public breastfeeding didn't seem to upset people.
I wonder if it is the very invention that allows me to write this blog, the internet! 20 plus years ago, information was disseminated through reading books, speaking with a professional such as a doctor or the passing down of important information from a grandmother, aunt or mother. There was no sensationalism through this type of learning, it was simply received and the mothers who were lucky enough to successfully breastfeed did so without any fan fair. It just "was" what we did and it was accepted as the way to feed our baby.
The topic of not breastfeeding in lieu of formula feeding is a subject of another blog. Not everyone can or will breastfeed and that is not for me to judge.
Today the internet contains so much information that anyone can get an answer to when, where, how, why and what. While this is fantastic for the new mother wanting to discover all she can about the benefits of breastfeeding and parenting as a whole; the darker side of the internet may be tainting peoples' perspectives with the display of gross and outlandish videos and media.
When a video airs about someone in shock or offended at something,or anything, it goes "viral" and causes something in some people to become inflamed. Sort of a "joining the bandwagon." Something as humanly primal and innocent as breastfeeding becomes the topic and place for such anger to be placed by the "new millennial" passerby whom once upon a time would mind their own business and keep on walking by with just a simple glance.
I recall those glances and my natural response back was just a simple and gentle smile in their direction. My pure bliss was surrounding the event of my feeding and growing my own baby.
The nutritional benefits of breastfeeding the young are perfect and the practical and cost effective benefits speak for themselves.
My advice to new mothers in the era of public breastfeeding debate: Breastfeed your child on demand, when they are hungry. No matter where you and your baby are, stop and take the time to put baby to breast and allow them to eat. There are many cool fabric covers to drape over your shoulder, but if you find yourself without such a cover, put your baby first and breastfeed them.
No debate, no explanation needed, no validation to seek, just nourish.
The amount of time we spend breastfeeding our young is so short in the grand scheme of a human life. We cannot allow negativity to infiltrate our job as mothers nurturing our young. We must remember that the crazy and hostile views of this new era of public breastfeeding critics is coming from their own emotional junk and inner confusion and hate toward others.
There is a place for old fashioned story telling as a way of passing along the wise ways of mothering. We must keep our future daughters and granddaughters (sons and grandsons) informed by teaching them about trusting their bodies as mothers. Through this communication we will keep and maintain love and push back the general hatred that seems to surround our current decade.
Thank you for reading my Blog. Rachel Layman, Birth Doula and mother of 2
Serving birthing mothers in west central Florida as a Birth Doula