As I sat with a good friend of mine today while she was desperately trying to breastfeed her new-born in a position so uncomfortable it was bringing tears to her eyes, I was reminded just how much respect these mums deserve. I didn’t feel pity for her because of the cracked bleeding nipples, the sheer exhaustion from non-stop feeding, the inability to move very far from the 4 walls of her living room; I felt proud of her for continuing despite these things.
I am not down on anybody who chooses to (or has to) bottle-feed. Everybody’s journey is unique and we all have our own reasons for the paths we take. We are all just trying to do the best we can whatever choices we make.
What I am saying, to each and every mum who is persevering with breastfeeding their baby, conquering mastitis, poor latch, cracked nipples, sleep deprivation, and all the other problems that come with it, is one enormous high five!
To anybody who is prepared to endure these various pains, mental and physical, and come out fighting, all in the cause of doing the very best they can for another human being, you deserve recognition.
So, to all you breastfeeding mums out there, here are my 7 top reasons why you are amazing –
- In true ‘Girl Power’ style, you are using your ‘assets’ to get exactly what you want – a calm, happy, settled baby (probably after a rocky start for most)
- Yes, you may be awake for more of the night than you ever were in your teenage years, but that’s extra time spent cuddling the most precious person in your life, and you breastfeeding mums are cool with this (or at least you will be when you realise it)
- You have something far more effective at settling your baby than a dummy, a favourite toy, or hours of pacing the floors – you have a magic boob, don’t ever underestimate its value!
- You are reducing baby’s risk of
- Respiratory tract infections
- Ear infections
- Bacterial meningitis
- Urinary tract infections
- Infant diarrhoea
- Common colds and flus
- You’re saving money – all that money you’re not spending on formula can go towards something your baby really wants – that way they get the best all round. Alternatively you could treat yourself as a way of saying a huge ‘well done me!”
- You’ve got the cake/life balance well and truly sorted! Women are advised to consume and extra 500 calories a day when breastfeeding, which in turn means more cake for you (alongside more nutritional food obviously…..we wouldn’t want to be seen to be giving poor advice!)
- Did you also know that breastfeeding actually reduces your baby’s risk of cavities later on in life and may lower the chance that they will need braces as kids?!
So, what I would really like to say is “here’s to breastfeeding mums everywhere; your perseverance, selflessness, and downright adoration for your children is remarkable, and I for one commend you.”
See also ‘Your rights to breastfeeding in public’