To all the Empresses who choose to create and nurish the world through mother’s milky goodness: RESPECT. L reminded this Lactating Goddess that it’s the week for BIG shout outs to the Most High of all Fluids, the Freshest of Healing Nectar: Breast Milk. Please remind everybody we see to remind everybody they see that breast milk is best. Best. Breast Milk is the only drink to give these little Buddha’s and Lotus Blossoms who bless us with their lives.
I, of course failed to express my passions and knowledge of breastfeeding today while my daughter Sula and I had a date shoe shopping at The Mall (not shoes for Sula, for her mama…the first pair of heels I have bought in about 4 years. Shiny, merlot-colored patent leather. Small Toe-hole at the tip. Very high, very sexy pumps for a wedding I must go to next month in NY. Sizzlin’ Hot. So hot that my flip-flopped self feels totally and uttery ridiculious in them. But what the hell). I heard a baby screaming and crying and of course my tension rose, ,my skin got tight, my shoulders moved up towards my ears. My breasts got fuller and tingly. I made some more milk for little Sula who was already sucking away in her carrier. I turned the corner to get to size 8 1/2 at Macy’s shoe sale rack and there was a 2 week old baby screaming in her stroller. Her mother was fumbling to get out a little plastic container of powder and a bottle of water and hurridly made some formula.
“Can I help you at all?” I offered. I knew how hard it is to have a new baby out in public screaming and crying. It can be a helpless feeling.
“Oh thank you, but we’re okay.My mom’s here.” A grandmother figure came along and picked up the baby and rocked and coo-ed her until her formula lunch was ready.
Sula was intrigued by the baby. She couldn’t stop staring and every time i tried to walk away from them she screamed one of her famous “don’t even try it” screams at me.
So I stood and let her watch the baby get bottle-fed.
The grandmother remarked how nifty my Ergo carrier was. I explained to both of them that without my slings and my carriers I would be lost and helpless. Strollers have always been cumbersome to me and in a carrier I could nurse on demand and still make dinner, play with my toddler and shop for shoes!
Sula started pointing to the baby and saying “Night Night. Night Night.” This is our phrase for nursing.
“Oh look! She wants the bottle, ” the babies mama laughed.
I explained she has never had a bottle. Maybe a handful of times with some breastmilk in it while I was teaching a yoga class, but now she won’t even take a bottle with water. And I’ve tried. She is either a breast girl or a cup girl.
Both women were shocked. Looked at me sympathetically. “Wow, I could never do that. The bottle is so much easier. Breastfeeding is hard on mothers!”
“Not hard really. Wonderful.” And that’s all I said. I did not know if she chose to formula-feed because the alternative was too hard for her or because perhaps she adopted her baby. Or maybe she has a rare physical ailment that does not allow her nurse. I don’t know, but I wish I would have asked. If I asked then I couldn’t automatically assume she just doesn’t want to feed her baby from her breast. Which is what I did. I told them to have a great day and walked away with a sad, empty feeling inside my belly and heart. I held Sula’s fuzzy head closer to my chest and told her she could suck as long and hard as she wanted. I told her I was happy to breastfeed her. I was honored. I really am.
I spoke to my best girlfrind this morning. She had just returned from a vacation in Mexico with her hubby and 2 year old daughter, Ivy, whom she exclusively breastfed for 15 months while working more than a full-time job. She told me me how she longs to have more courage to speak up when she hears or sees people not choosing to breasfeed for no good reason. She is, like me, a person who tries hard to be liked and accepted. We are reluctant to speak how we really feel. Instead we say what we think the other person wants to hear (same as my L) While sitting by the pool she overheard a conversation of a newly married couple. This is how she claims it went:
Dude:”So, hunny, when we have kids you are going to breastfeed them, right?”
Chick:”NO WAY! After all that work being pregnant and then pushing the kid out?…Noooo waaaay.”
Dude: “Are you serious? I want my child to have breastmilk! It’s the best thing for them. My mom breastfed me.”
Chick:”I think it’s all way too weird…someone sucking on your breast. Eeww. Weird.”
Apparently they went back and forth like that for awhile and my friend got up to go back in the hotel, but she did go up to them and apologize for listening in to their conversation and expressed to them how wonderful it was, in her personal experience, to breastfeed her daughter. She told them her daughter never gets sick and it was such great bonding for them. The woman thanked her and said that was nice but she wouldn’t be doing it. The husband just sighed.
I guess this shows just how removed from Nature some people really are. When we as a culture truly think our breasts are just for sexy stuff…billboards, implants, magazines, sex, demi-cup, push-up bras…we have some serious issues. I am not totally sure what those issues are but to think breastfeeding is weird? Mother’s Milk is how all living creatures have survived for millenia. We are composed of mother’s milk. The warm, wet, cozy, rich, creamy, whiteness of goodness of flesh and blood and energy is how we have survived up until this point. Without it we would be nothing. Dead. It saddens me to think that there are people out there who really think it will be imposing on their lives, it will be too hard to achieve. I sympathize with women who have tried and tried to nurse and just “couldn’t”. I believe some really couldn’t. But I believe others just did not have the support, locally and societally. And I am going to write something right now I have been thinking for a long time. I am almost scared to write it. But you know why? Because I am afraid of being offensive. But I will offend if by chance my words some how vibrate out there and change the mind or action of just one person. If someone chooses not to breastfeed for no reason at all I consider it child abuse. I do. There is enough information out there that proves breastfeeding our children prevents cancers, obesity, diabetes, boosts immunities, connects mother and baby rhythms, keeps you and your baby warm,helps mama go back in post-partum shape, helps reduce PPD…just to throw a small handful of reasons: Check out this or that if you need more info.
So again to all you who breastfeed, BIG UP. You are keeping this world, our earthly home, a healthy, growing, fertile and nurtured place. And to all who are Lactivists, those who educate, support, and love the mother as well as fight for the rights of the breastfeedin mother and child, you are the inovators, the true progressives of this country. Keep up the advocacy: this is of utmost importance.