Monday, February 20, 2012

Serious Monday: The Mammy Lists - Why I breastfed

Lets be clear here, I'm a craft blogger. My blog is not concerned with politics, religion, the intricacies of my personal life, or anything deep or philosophical. It is my refuge from such things. Saying that, there are times when something that is so intertwined with my day-to-day life (blogging) and other major life events (having a baby) have to acknowledge each other's existence.

This is part of a series of blog posts I'm calling “The Mammy Lists”

Why I breastfed.*

  • There is a correlation between amount of time spent breastfeeding and the incidence of breast cancer. A woman who breastfeeds for a month in her life is less likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who doesn't. 
  • Breast milk contains your white blood cells, the cells that fight bacteria in your body. this means that a breastfed baby is automatically immune to all of the bacteria in the mother's immediate environment. A new baby has almost no protection against bacteria in the environment, thats why you sterilise everything.3. Its cheaper.
  • Breastfed babies develop faster (or, I should say, formula fed babies develop slower) breastmilk is specifically designed to support the development of little brains and little eyes and baby formula is a poor imitation. 
  • Humans are mammals, mammals breastfeed. If you fed a bay human unmodified cows milk it would die. if you fed a bay cow human milk it would die. our bodies make the perfect food for our offspring, it's arrogant to assume that our science can satisfactorily approximate what nature has been perfecting for millions of years. 

  • In the developing world breastfeeding saves lives. even starving women can breastfed adequately, so there is no reason for babies to dies of starvation or malnutrition.
    let me say that again so you hear me:
    If breastfeeding were the global norm no baby would die of starvation or malnutrition.
    There is evidence of women in concentration camps in world war II who breastfed healthy children. Women in the developing world bottle fed because it's  perceived as a more civilised, more western way to fed your children. These women do not have to money to buy infant formula or the resources to keep feeding equipment sterile and safe. I want to be part of the change in culture which sees breastfeeding to be more widespread and accepted wherever you live.
  • If you are breastfeeding you will never run out of milk if, for example, you get trapped on the m25 for 2 hours, or get locked out of your house. (both of which happened to me!)
  • Visible breastfeeding will encourage other women to breastfeed.
  • Breastfeeding will soothe a crying baby in 9.99% of cases :-) Including after his/her imunisations. Priceless.

*I breastfed my Squiggle exclusively for 3 months. I then combination fed between 3-4 months and switched completely to baby formula after 4 months. The reason I switched to combination feeding in the first place is that (for his night feeds especially) he was getting more and more unsatisfied even after full feds. I persisted (as you are told to) for about 2 weeks of offering breast after breast before I gave up. I switched to exclusive bottle feeding at four months mostly out of convenience and my desire to live a more selfish life. I felt guilty about it.


  1. *applause*

    YES! when i hear about mom's who've chosen not to breastfeed for no other reason than it's weird to them, it breaks my heart. breastfeeding is such a gift, for mom and for baby.

    1. You have a completely different understanding once you've done it right? Before I had Squig, even when heavily (and I went 42 weeks so I mean HEAVILY ;-) ) pregnant I didnt really know if this breastfeeding thing would work for us(I mean, I hate my boobs, and my tummy, what if people SAW *aghast look of horror*) but once he popped into the world nothing else mattered but keeping him happy.
      I know too many people who've been ravaged by guilt of knowing that BF was the best for their baby but feel/felt unable somehow. Its a cruel thing to lead a woman to believe that she is somehow deficient, and thats what the lack of support does every day to women who are at one of the most voulnerable times in their lives... very sad. xxxx

  2. I am a new mother myself, my son was born in November and unfortunately despite really wanting to breastfeed, i was unable to do so because he wouldn't latch on properly. I even went to breastfeeding support groups and called the breasfeeding helpline as well as La Leche but was still unable to resolve it. In the end, the only way for him to get the breastmilk was for me to pump it, even then I had to do combination feeding as i was not producing enough to satisfy him. I am very jealous of any mother who has been able to breastfeed exclusively for any length of time with little or no problem. I am now exclusively formula feeding as i found it hard going trying to pump at least 6 times a day and feel even more guilty.

    1. I'm sad that you tried so hard and it didn't work out for you. I know I'm very lucky. I think its very easy to feel guilty about a lot of things when you've got a small baby. But at the end of the day we've got to look after ourselves too. It doesnt help anyone to beat yourself up over it, :-) I'm sure your Son is doing just fine xxx and CONGRATULATIONS! He wont be 4 months old forever so enjoy it!!

  3. You know, I am really enjoying your posts, as my sister is going through the same things as you. Thank you so much for such an honest post- the debate is always a bit of a controversial one and can end up with heated arguments, but I think the point is that if you can, you should breastfeed- after all that's what we are made for. But if you can't then don't beat yourself up over it.

    For my sister, breastfeeding was an evident choice. Despite the widespread rumour that French women dont "do" breastfeeding, a lot of them actually do- and my sister is even donating some of her milk to a local lactarium, aka Milk Bank in the USA- which provides all the equipment so that mothers can give some extra milk to premature babies or babies whose mothers can't breastfeed. For her, it was all about giving something back.

  4. I breastfed my son until he was 21 months old (exclusively for 5 months when *he* decided he wanted to try solid food!), the only reason we stopped is because I was pregnant again and he slef weaned :( even after so long it made me feel really sad that he stopped. I'm due again in less than 8 weeks (eeek!) and plan to breastfeed again, once again I'm not going to buy any bottles unless I have no other options.
    Living in Belgium, breastfeeding here just doesn't seem to happen, even my partner and his family didn't understand it (I'm from England, he's from Belgium)! They actually even complained that I was being selfish because they couldn't feed my son! The fact it was best for him made no difference.
    Everything I have done so far with bringing up my son has been considered weird over here however - breastfeeding, using a baby wrap, baby-led weaning, cloth nappies - and I plan to do it all again this time around ;D

  5. Oh my goodness do I have a story for you! I am a bf and one day I was at the mall feeding my daughter. I was completely covered up by my cape and such. Two women walked by and all I heard one say was "ewww gross" I didn't think they we referring to me until I heard the other comment "well at least you can't get pregnant that way". I was so insulted and angry I wanted to punch them both right in the face. The worst part about it was they both had children with them, one being an infant. I would never ever judge someone who chooses to formula feed, but here I had 2 gossiping mothers who were judging me. Just goes to show you the harm our society has caused against breastfeeding. I'm doing something natural and nourishing and I just can't catch a break from other non bfing