I am very careful when I speak about breastfeeding as I don’t want to offend any women who are all very entitled to choose what they feel is the best for their babies. For some women it is a straight out choice not to do it. For others it is something they really wanted to do, but for so many reasons this was not possible, and this must be very hard to deal with. For me it was something I never considered other wise, but I always said if it didn’t happen then I wasn’t going to stress about it – I would have enough to deal with, with a new born baby. I was drawn to breast feeding even more because of the environmentally positive benefits. No formula (manufacturing, distribution, etc), boiling kettles and sterilizing bottles, and it was cost friendly too.
I grew up in a household where breastfeeding was a very normal activity, my mother had 5 children. I was 5 years old when my brother was born and because there was never a bottle in the house I used to breast feed my dolls!! This may seem strange to some of you, but as children we mimic what we see around us, so in my mind this was the method to feed a hungry baby.
My Daughter was born and I found it easy – probably because of all the practice early on in life 🙂 The first three nights were the worst but once your udders!! heal then I found it to be such a rewarding experience. I was the only one who could feed my baby and the convenience of it was great. Night feeds happened in the blink of an eye and Eabha thrived on my milk. Human milk is by composition very different to cows milk. I do like cows milk, but more because I am from the culture that believes it is super good for you. I don’t see the need to drink cows milk or follow on milk after weaning, with a healthy balanced diet and water as the main drink babies and toddlers (unless medically specified) should get all their nutrients in a balanced diet. Humans are just another species of mammals and you don’t see cows looking for goat’s or any other mammal’s milk to feed their calves or vice versa! Calves also never drink cows milk again after they are weaned.
Picture curtsy of The HSE Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland.
There is a study in Ireland called the Growing Up in Ireland study which follows the lives of children over a number of years. New findings from this study show that breastfeeding has long reaching impact on our children’s weight. The research, conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, show that children who have been breastfed for three to six months are 38% less likely to be obese at nine years of age compared to exclusively formula fed babies: children breastfed for six months or more are 51% less likely.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Ireland), Ms Frances Fitzgerald, TD, said: “This research adds to the growing evidence that the benefits of breastfeeding extend to later life, If we are to reverse the worrying trend of childhood obesity in Ireland, promoting and increasing rates of breastfeeding must be part of our policy response”. I agree 110%, there needs to be a stronger support network for mothers who would like to breastfeed but fail because of lack of support from their immediate family and beyond.
The reason I founded Claire Lewis as an Environmentally Responsible Education & lifestyle Co. was because as a population we need to look to mother nature for the answers to our questions and queries about every aspect of our world. Human nutrition is a very important topic and we need to be more supportive and encouraging for mothers who breastfeed. It is after all the most natural thing in the world, but as a society we have moved away from the natural choice but I can feel a change coming! I hope it involves breasts and lots of them, discreetly of course 🙂