Apparently it’s #worldbreastfeedingweek, so I’m going to say three things about breastfeeding that I think are really important:
1) In the United States, breastfeeding is a PRIVILEGE. It’s so cruel that so many moms struggle to get access to the resources that simplify a breastfeeding relationship: paid maternity/family leave, a job that accommodates pumping, health insurance that provides a pump, the means to stay at home or work from home, the support groups, the funds to meet with lactation consultants, etc etc etc. Breastfeeding might save a lot of money in the long run, but it’s not free. And it certainly shouldn’t be a luxury.
2) It is a RELATIONSHIP. I got this advice from the Kellymom group on Facebook (highly recommend) and it’s the best advice I’ve ever read. A healthy relationship relies on both the mother AND baby’s needs being met. Moms should not be expected to suffer through breastfeeding based on the misguided notion that “breast is best.” Breastfeeding can be pretty incredible, but not at the expense of a mom who is struggling with illness, depression, exhaustion, stress, supply, disabilities, a baby’s food/milk allergies, etc. The source of a baby’s nutrition should be balanced with the well-being of the parents who are providing it. (I mean, as long as they’re not feeding it Mt. Dew or whatever.)
3) It can save lives. If you are one of those “blessed” with an oversupply of milk (I realize that comes with its own struggles), consider donating it! There are little tiny preemies born all the time who have trouble digesting formula and their lives literally depend on it! Check out the non-profit HMBANA (Human Milk Banking Association of North America).