The Lost Art of Parenting – Breast is Best

My third thought on the Lost Art of Parenting is this:

Breast is best. I’ve heard an astonishingly high amount of women claim that they’re only willing to breastfeed for 3 months, 6 months, or a year because they’re going to want their “boobs back.” I find that statement rather appalling. I’ve also heard of women who seemed to create no milk whatsoever, and/or breastfeeding took a major toll on their health. I don’t want to criticize those situations – but I do believe it’s important to stress the benefits of breastfeeding when both mother and baby are capable and healthy.

Simply put, breastmilk is the best possible thing to feed your infant (and to boost your toddlers nutrition, as well!). Human milk is for human babies! It’s that simple! Formula is obviously necessary if the mother cannot breastfeed, but if she can, by all means, she should! Choosing not to breastfeed because of discomfort, awkwardness, or simply the desire to preserve one’s breasts all seem to be short-sighted decisions. As difficult as those specific situations can be, I believe that mothers need to be encouraged to look beyond themselves and do what is best for their child(ren).

There are so many health benefits to breastfeeding – for both mother and baby. It would take quite some time to explain all of that, so just go here if you’d like to learn more. You can also visit my post, “You’re Still Breastfeeding?”, for some helpful information. Dr. Sears is also a great resource for for breastfeeding.

It’s important to take note that sometimes, complications arise when nursing a child. The mother may get sick, she may need surgery that requires medication, or she may even become pregnant again and wish to discontinue nursing, among other situations. Many of these circumstances do not allow for time to pump several months’ supply of milk. Other times, the mother may feel that she has breastfed long enough, and is ready to wean. Personally, I like my aunt’s advice – “If you resent it, change it.” It’s always better to make changes to one’s situation than to resent the child.

On a personal level, I have chosen to nurse Jack until either he weans himself, or I feel the need for change – whichever comes first. I’d like to give Jack the added nutrition for as long as possible, especially considering how greatly breastfeeding reduces sickness in young children. Now that I’m pregnant, I realize that it may become painful, and if the pain is too much to bear and/or I am far too exhausted, I will likely wean him myself. I hope, though, to go for as long as possible.

Possibly the most important thing to remember is this: regardless of whether or not the mother chooses to breastfeed, and regardless of how long she breastfeeds, it’s imperative that she educates herself on the benefits of breastfeeding. As a result, she can make an informed decision about her baby’s health.

I think, though, that we can all agree that breast is best, and in following God’s design, we can have access to a convenient, healthy, always-available super-food for our infants and toddlers. What do you think?

The Lost Art of Parenting – Let’s Talk

The Lost Art of Parenting – Wife, then Mother

The Lost Art of Parenting – Birth Matters

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under on being a mama

7 responses to “The Lost Art of Parenting – Breast is Best

  1. I agree. It’s pathetic how many women don’t even try to breastfeed for dumb reasons. I realize many of them are in a subculture which doesn’t support breastfeeding, but there are decisions I’ve made (for Suzi’s benefit) that aren’t popular. It’s sometimes what we have to do for our kids.

    Breastfeeding has been such a gift to me; I guess I just don’t understand how it could be a pebble in another mom’s shoe.

  2. Lindsey

    HA! It always cracks me up when women say they want to “preserve their breasts” so they don’t breastfeed! Mine were stretched marked FAR before I started nursing Eli! They developed in the 13th week of my pregnancy! So…if there are those women that did not nurse their children and it did in fact preserve their breasts, I would LOVE to meet them and ask them how they have elastic breasts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    On a more serious note, after I weaned Eli…it was SO hard not to pop my boob back in his mouth when he was sick or hurt or teething (nursing always seemed to calm him down when his mouth was in great pain). It kind of made me sad. But, he was SO uninterested! It was all about making ME feel better by wanting to nurse him…anyways, I am digressing. I agree, breast is best but also understand that it’s really up to the woman to choose what works best for her and her situation.

  3. Katie Riddle

    My heart sank when I read the average breast-fed baby is nursed for three months…

    Wow, my boobs never looked better when I’m nursing (meaning, I actually HAVE some). We (hubsters and I) get so excited when the “booby fairy” waves her wand at me when I’m pregnant and then nursing. I don’t look like a little boy anymore.

    Rissa, you hit it right on the nose at the end. If mothers truly want what’s best for their kids, they will devote themselves to education. The problem is, I think sometimes people don’t want to read “that stuff” because if they do, it means they’re held accountable to what they now know. Some pregnant moms think nursing will be easy, you stick the boob in the baby’s mouth. End of story. That’s just like saying, “birthing is easy, you just push the baby out.” Just as childbirth is an art, so is breast-feeding. If anyone I know is pregnant, I try to either give them or recommend “The Womanly Art of Breast-feeding.” It is such a resource.

  4. Just wanted to offer some encouragemnet about continuing to breastfeed thought pregnancy. I’ve done it three times now. When I was pregnant with my second child, my son continued to nurse throught the entire pregnancy and after the baby was born. It did hurt, but it wasn’t unbearable and my body was able to handle all the extra strain put on it. I just had to be careful to eat and drink properly.

    When I was pregnant with my third child, I was nursing my two oldest children and supporting a pregnancy, but both children ended up weaning on their own before I gave birth.

    With my current pregnancy, my 2-year-old weaned on his own a few months before his birthday and because he initiated it, it worked out well for me. I was extra sore this time, but I didn’t have to feel guilty about making him stop.

    ***

    I’m also amazed at home many women talk about wanting their breast back. To me, that is like saying, ” I can’t wait for my toddler to start feeding himself with a spoon so I can have my hands back.” I think our culture has made women think that formula feeding and breastfeeding are equal and it is just a matter of preference.

  5. birthhappy

    Great article. Lots of truth. Just to address things from a different perspective, I thought I’d briefly tell my story. I’m nursing my fifth baby. He is 14 months. I have weaned the others between 6 and 10 months, so this is significantly longer. When I got pregnant the first week of marriage, after waiting 4 or 5 years of dating my husband to have sex, it was REALLY hard to watch my body change so quickly. (I gain weight just THINKING about food when I’m pregnant.) I made myself nurse for 6 months, but it was very confusing for me to reconcile my breasts being sexy AND leaking milk. I was embarrassed and distracted and it took a few kids to work through that. I couldn’t wait to stop nursing and have my body be more of the gift for my husband that I had originally envisioned giving him. I didn’t know how to be sexy for him, but be a nurturer at the same time. I think that needs addressed more often. Do you? I have heard a few people ridicule the selfishness or worldliness of my kind of attitude in articles, but not much helpful encouragement. Let’s face it, in our culture we can’t go into a store without seeing half naked breasts in sexy clothes every where we turn. It isn’t surprising that it might be hard, even for those of us with good intentions, to have a heard time figuring out how to be both. Thank God, he has continued to work with me and I really looked forward to nursing this baby and I feel like I settled into both roles now. It just took me a lot longer than it took you. 🙂

  6. Pingback: The Lost Art of Parenting – Eat Right! « Mama Rissa’s Corner

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s