All of this controversy about breastfeeding lately makes me really sad. Even before Joshua and I decided to have kids, I knew I would breastfeed. Or, to be more exact, it never even occurred to me to do otherwise. I knew what formula was and how to use it, for the most part. My mom formula fed my brother after a little while for various reasons and I was a care provider at multiple daycares and nurseries from ages 15-18.
Still, breastfeeding seemed natural. While I know that breasts can be sexual and wonderful for intimacy in the bedroom, that has never been their primary purpose. Biologically, humans are mammals and, after gestating, our bodies make milk through mammary glands and breasts that were developed specifically for that purpose. Breasts are for nutrition, period. Therefore, I just kind of assumed that’s what I would do and I had no idea that there was such controversy about breastfeeding and about nursing in public. (Especially about nursing in public!) I always thought that babies have to eat too and it must be a pain to get the milk into a bottle all of the time to make a trip out so why bother? I was right, by the way. It’s a pain, sometimes literally, to pump milk into bottles for trips out, especially compared to nursing straight from the breast. It is nice that we have the technology to make it easier on moms who are not comfortable nursing in public, though, so I’m not about to start knocking it.
Anyway, since I’m coming at the subject with this viewpoint, I’m saddened and baffled. Nature is awesome, and I don’t mean surfer dude “awesome”. I mean impressive and inspiring of great awe. Hurricanes that destroy cities. Tornadoes that destroy homes. Animals that are born with instincts thousands of years old and are able to care for their young without the aid of Google or opposable thumbs. So why is it that what nature created for babies is somehow wrong or gross or optional? Formula is great, if you need it. Bottles are useful tools. But nursing your baby is what nature intended and it is not sexual or immoral or even – yes, people have said this! – child abuse. It is biologically necessary for infants, more necessary than diapers or clothes or pretty baby gear. A baby can poop on anything but a baby cannot eat just anything. Breastmilk is exactly right for babies.
Then there is the bonding. The sweet, beautiful moments where you hold your child and know that your child feels safe and happy and content. The little smiles when they’re clearly enjoying your milk as much as a wine connoisseur appreciates a fine vintage or a chocaholic enjoys a gourmet brownie. They don’t care that your breasts are uneven or maybe a little saggy from pregnancy or age. They don’t care that your hair isn’t done or your clothes are a little outdated. They just want mama and full bellies, and they have both.
I think I actually pity those who feel breastfeeding is wrong.