Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week
It’s World Breastfeeding Week and I’m celebrating!
Beautiful, amazing, wonderful breastfeeding. I want to sing it from the rooftops: breastfeeding is AWESOME! The benefits of breastfeeding are well known. The positive effects of breastfeeding even appear to last far beyond the duration of breastfeeding; in other words, long after your baby has weaned from the breast he will reap the benefits of having been breastfed. Breastmilk is nutritious, convenient and inexpensive and breastfeeding is a beautiful way to bond with your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life has been recommended by most pediatric health authorities including our own here in Canada.
My wish is for everyone who wants to breastfeed to be able to do so and for breastfeeding mothers to do so freely, without shame or criticism. As a doula, I’m equipped to support a family’s breastfeeding goals and I do that with tenderness and enthusiasm. Hiring a doula can help you to achieve your vision for feeding your baby and I would truly love to help you get started on your breastfeeding journey.
*AND* Fed Is Best
All of that said, I won’t say “Breast is Best” because I believe that Fed is Best. Because some women can’t breastfeed, some women don’t want to, and that’s not for anyone else to comment on. Because mothers’ wellness matters too. Because women are as important as babies.
The Breast is Best rhetoric has been harmful to mothers who have not been able to breastfeed or who are simply not interested in breastfeeding. There are so many reasons a baby might not breastfeed exclusively that I couldn’t list them all. Here are only a few: medical conditions; prescribed medications and treatments; mental illness; psychological trauma; unaccommodating workplaces and policies; social stigma; sexual harassment; adoption; surrogacy; premature birth; social inequality; preference.
A baby who is fed is better than a mother who is fighting a losing battle against depression or posttraumatic stress disorder. A baby who is fed is better than a mother who is so anxious about being judged in public for bottle feeding that she stays home all day, further exaggerating her isolation. A baby who is fed is better than a baby who is suffering from pain or dehydration.
There are much better outlets for our collective energy than judging families who don’t breastfeed. The world would be a better place if we approached each other with a little more compassion. There are many ways to bond with a baby! What matters most is happy and healthy mothers and happy and healthy babies. Judge Less; Fed is Best.
Side Note: Donating Breastmilk in Ontario
Donated breastmilk is an invaluable resource for medically fragile infants who are not able to receive breastmilk from their mothers. Receiving human milk even for a short time can help to protect them from life-threatening illness, infection and other complications related to premature birth.
In Toronto, the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank is a joint partnership between Mount Sinai Hospital, SickKids and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The Milk Bank collects, pasteurizes and distributes donated breastmilk to babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across Ontario. If you’re interested in donating breastmilk to the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank, click here to review the steps to becoming a donor. If you live outside of Ontario and you’re interested in becoming a milk donor, check out the Human Milk Banking Association of North America to find the milk bank closest to you.
My Promise As Your Doula
Whatever your plans are for feeding your baby, as your doula I can support you. I can answer your questions, direct you to helpful resources, and work with you to prepare a plan for breastfeeding, pumping, donating, formula feeding or any combination of options. You have my unbiased, wholehearted support as you make parenting decisions for your family.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week!