Breastfeeding is an act of love that needs no interpreter and makes no sound? An act of love, most def, but from the outside the other claims are a toss-up. As our country observes World Breastfeeding Week 2021 (WBW), August 1-7, we recognize the need for quiet interpretation and why this year’s catchword is protection.
Protection not just from stigma, but dissuasion.
“Imagine that the world had created a new ‘dream product’ to feed and immunize everyone born on Earth. Imagine also that it was available everywhere, required no storage or delivery, and helped mothers plan their families, and reduce the risk of cancer. Then imagine that the world refused to use it.’” —Frank Oski, MD
Public breastfeeding, covered or uncovered, is legal in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, so what’s the problem? In a nutshell, public opinion may be dampened by federal policy that plays to the $70 billion formula-making biz. Negative public opinion has a way of defeating its target of scrutiny: in this case breastfeeding, especially in public.
But despite this and formula-makers’ oppo campaigns manipulating hospitals and doctors in some cases, 84% of babies born in 2017 were breastfed at some point and 58% for at least six months. Formula profits are on the decline.
Nowhere else in nature can human milk be duplicated. It is custom brewed during pregnancy to match your infant’s DNA. First-milk is liquid gold, deep yellow, thick with colostrum (coh-LOSS-trum) and dense with nutrients and antibodies to protect your newborn from hunger, diarrhea, and infection. Breast milk evolves every hour. Its miracle contents are impossible to list here, but they affect humans from 0-90.
We get it. (We’re also doing it!) Breastfeeding can be intimidating especially for first-time mothers and especially if you’re being misinformed that formula is easier and equal. Crazy! It is vital to have an OB/GYN who understands the importance of encouraging and educating you during uncertainty: What if my baby doesn’t naturally latch? What if my supply is lacking? What if I work and must pump every other hour during the day? What if I get discouraged? Is it worth it? YES.
Talk to your doc. Then talk to your boss. Tell her/him what’s going on. Try pumping during breaks or lunchtime if you don’t have an office with a door or can’t bring your infant to your desk. Be sure to label and date the container and place it in the back of the refrigerator where the temperature is most consistent. Once a routine has been established, the bond between mom and baby is so gratifying most challenges pale.
Repeat. Formula is rarely a match for the real thing. Having said that, we acknowledge that breastfeeding isn’t always possible. If you or your infant have a health problem that keeps you from breastfeeding, your baby may need formula.
Know this, however: The giant business of infant formula-making has hoodwinked entire civilizations in recent decades, resulting in Third World baby genocide and disparaging nature’s design to ensure that tiny humans survive and thrive for their predicted life span.
If you really knew how much better your body could feed your child, wouldn’t you at least try?
Back to stigma. Clearly, nursing mothers need to feel societal backing. Everyone wants to be accepted. “Very few women think to themselves, ‘Hey, I really want strangers gaping at my bare breasts while I feed my baby, so I’ll make sure to expose myself!’” —Our Family
A heads-up. President Biden, as he works toward gender neutrality with the 2022 budget proposal, has coined new language replacing the word “mother” with birthing person and “breastfeeding” with chestfeeding. Ok, Joe. Now can you nurture a national attitude adjustment?
Want to know how to promote breastfeeding during WBW and every other day? Encourage a nursing person when you see one. Verbal support equals emotional courage equals uber protection for nursing persons, especially in public. For more information about World Breastfeeding Week and related events, visit the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) website at www.waba.org.my/wbw/.
We are here for you. We, too, are breastfeeders juggling work. And we believe that breastfed babies can change the world with the superpowers they drink from you.