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?