Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The New Women's Movement: The Freedom to Breastfeed.

My daughter is a breastfeeding advocate. She's in training to become a lactation consultant and I don't think she knows just how proud I am of her. Many women these days nurse openly in stores and diners. I covered, because it was the 80s and 90s. I did this for modesty and because my oldest baby was distracted by EVERYTHING! I had European neighbors that supported me, even the men who said "We're used to it, it's natural. We've seen our sisters and aunts nursing and it's not a big deal."

On the other hand, my sister-in-law insisted "Nursing past three months is pointless. They got all the healthy stuff already." I just quietly disagreed.

In my opinion, when the baby is running around with a sippy cup, she is weaning herself, and my girls did just that around a year of age, each. Sometimes they wanted to suckle before bed time, but after a while they forgot about breastfeeding, except when my two year old nursed her dollies while I breastfed her baby sister.

Back then it was unusual for American mothers to openly breastfeed up to a year, let alone, longer. When did we in the western hemisphere push our infants aside in favor of powder and water? Why did we as a society fall for the formula companies’ propaganda? My concern is this: in farming, calves and foals are separated for many reasons from their mothers. They are given a "peer" or stable mate, even an entire heard to commiserate with. Their will is broken and later these animals are more easily led by the herd or the farmers. Is this what we want for our children? Do we want them to fall to peer pressure, or do we want children who turn first to their mothers and families for advice? Additionally, when family is far away, when our children are at college or living in another state, do we want them to follow the crowd or do we want them to think for themselves?

We are human beings, not herd animals. We should NEVER fall for some big pharma company telling women to abdicate their God-given rights to feeding their children the way nature intended.

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