Last week was the ’Breast-feeding Week – 1st August to 7th August! It was first celebrated in 1992 by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and is now observed and promoted worldwide. I purposely refrained from posting any particular #breastfeedingweek posts. It is not that I don’t believe in breast-feeding (At eleven months, my child still continues to do so), but I don’t like the need of an over-publicity of anything that is such a basic or natural thing to do.
My point is – Why did they have to start this ‘Breast-feeding week’ campaign in the first place?
Somewhere they realised that women are deviating from ‘breast-feeding’ and resorting to other measures to feed their new-born child; while in the first six months, babies should ideally be exclusively breast-feeding.
There are a lot of people who argue that breast-feeding doesn’t naturally come to a lot of women and that they really struggle with the ‘latch’ or ‘milk supply’ – and that in these cases it is in the best interest of the child that the mother turns to formula milk. Agreed! That the baby rather be fed (so what if it is formula milk) than be left wailing with hunger!
But how many days does it take for the body to understand the needs of the baby? Or for the baby to learn to latch?
Hardly a week or ten days max! [If yours is the more difficult case, you may consult your gynaecologist or meet a couple of lactation consultants; and they will certainly help you to figure out a way to make your breast-feeding journey easier and more joyful an experience for the two of you.]
But mostly that is not the case. There is no serious medical condition leading to the decrease in ‘breast-feeding’ mothers. There is no epidemic running worldwide (and now slowly creeping into India).
The real reason is that the new mothers are being misguided!
- One, they often get told that maybe your milk is not nutritious enough (for various reasons from obesity to pollution in the air or the decrease in the nutrient levels in the food we eat and so on) – which is a complete bullshit – proposed and promoted by these manufacturers of formula milk. (Because if that was so, they would never have to print on their tins ‘Breast-feeding is the best option for your child’)
- Second, they have been told time and again that if they need their freedom, they need to quickly shift the child from breastfeeding to the bottle so that they can be free to do the things they want to do.
And this is the misconception I am going to attack in this post of mine – If one really sits down to make the comparisons – the reality is quite contrasting to this misconception. Yes, there are times when the baby really wants to feed and you are not around and he/she panics! But if you time your exit and re-entry well; this is an avoidable condition. But what about the other things?
Here is my list of the ‘8 Time & Energy Saving Benefits of Breast-Feeding’ :
- If you are breast-feeding, your child is less prone to infections and you don’t need to worry about the hygiene of the bottle or dedicate a time in your busy schedule to sterilise the bottles. In a long day where there is a lot to do, one domestic chore less makes a hell lot of difference. (Maybe you could apply some kajal or wash your hair!)
- If you are breast-feeding, you don’t need to ever worry if your child gets hungry and you aren’t carrying his favourite food item – you can always chose a corner and get him (merrily) busy! (Don’t worry about feeding outside your house – malls have feeding rooms, other people’s houses have other rooms, while commuting – you can choose cabs over rickshaws, walking on the streets – don’t worry your baby is not that foolish – he or she has so much to see on the streets that they won’t bother you till you reach a quiet place)
- Especially during the nights – if you are breast-feeding (and co-sleeping with ) your baby – all you need to do is open the shutter and the baby will do the needful – fill his tummy and quietly turn around and sleep – and you won’t even have to wake up if you are too tired. But if you are bottle-feeding, you will have to wake up to make the formula milk or warm the cow milk. And most often, your baby will also wake up – because after the demand, the supply will take some time to get ready. This will also add to investing some time in making the baby go back to sleep after his drink is over, because now you have woken him up from his sleep.
- If your infant (now adventurous and exploring the house all the time) has a bad fall and you have tried everything to distract him and nothing seems to work – you could take out the ultimate weapon (divya-astra) and start to feed him – It works and how!
- No amount of medicines work during growth spurts, it is only breastfeeding (to some extent) that helps the babies deal with it naturally and keeps them less cranky. Be it teething or crossing the next milestone – the transitions are fairly easier for them!
- If your experimental recipe fails to please the kid, and you have no more energy to prepare another meal of his choice; offer him so breast milk for time being; think what you can cook for the next meal and do it after taking some rest for a bit. At least you won’t have to panic about what to feed this hungry little munchkin of a monster.
- If you are breast-feeding, you won’t have to feel too guilty about not working out also. It actually burns a lot of fat to produce milk. The number is almost as good as 300-500 calories a day! What more do you need – guilt free bingeing!!
So, if you were born under the ‘mammals’ category and then under the ’female’ category; most often you will have active mammary glands.
Then why not put them to good use?
It is not that difficult, it never was and it never will be. Let no one tell you to choose something over breast-feeding, especially if YOU are willing to breast-feed. This is just time and energy management that I have covered in here, I haven’t even started over the emotional or psychological advantages. So imagine!
P.S. This blog is not to look down upon women who have had to choose formula milk over breast milk. It is just that I meet a lot of women who have some wrong pre-conceived notions about breast-feeding. And this one if to give them some practical reasons to chose breast-feeding.