We’ve just come to the end of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week. I have become so passionate about breastfeeding that I decided to do a post about it every day for the week on my personal Facebook page. I spend so much time hanging out with other breastfeeders online and in real life where it really is seen as totally normal that I sometimes forget that many people are still very much misinformed about breastfeeding. A life goal of mine is to help raise the national (and world wide) breastfeeding rates and part of this is normalising it for people who either barely give it a second thought or are against breastfeeding or parts of it. Here are the ten posts I did to #celebratebreastfeeding
Saturday 18th June
National Breastfeeding Celebration Week starts today! Last year I posted a few links about things to do with breastfeeding. I was still relatively new to breastfeeding and not really confident or brave enough to put myself out there much with it or put any pictures up or anything. What a year it’s been. Breastfeeding has become such a huge part of my life and I’ve come to think why should I need courage to put up pictures of me doing something as normal as feeding my child? What a ridiculous notion. In honour of National Breastfeeding Week I’ll be sharing pictures, stories and links every day from 18th-27th June (it’s an extended week). This past year I have found a wonderful community of other breastfeeding mums and have realised how important it is to a breastfeeding journey to surround yourself with positivity. We often talk about finding your “tribe”. A group of women who support each other. I’m so happy to be on the committee for West Herts Breastfeeders, helping to run support groups and make changes in our area. And I’m so excited to start my breastfeeding peer support training in September! #celebratebreastfeeding
“Women have the right to choose how they use their bodies and they cannot (and should not) be forced to breastfeed, but that does not mean that evidence about the risks of not breastfeeding should be censored.”
-Gabrielle Palmer, The Politics of Breastfeeding
With these posts I am in no way trying to put down individual parents who have formula fed. They’ve been let down by society, lack of support, and formula companies.
Sunday 19th June
Day 2 of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week. Why is it so important to me to highlight this week? As natural as breastfeeding is, it is a learned skill. A large part of our society has lost touch with this and because breastfeeding has for some reason become so controversial, many children grow up having never seen anyone breastfeed and possibly don’t even know what breasts are actually for. It’s no wonder so many women are so unsure of what to do when it comes to breastfeeding and not confident in their body’s ability to feed their baby. The more you see it, the more normal it becomes for everyone, the more women know how to do it, the more partners know how to support it. Formula has become more normal than breastfeeding (the reasons why are fascinating and are talked about in depth in The Politics of Breastfeeding by Gabrielle Palmer). While low milk supply and not making enough milk for your baby is a real issue that can occur, it is extremely rare. For the majority of women, they just need to trust their bodies and their babies more. For those that genuinely have a low supply, there is donor breastmilk. If this is not accessible, then there is formula.
A gorilla at a zoo in the 80s proved how we need to see breastfeeding to be able to do it. Imagine if you had to learn to drive a car or swim or dance or any number of learned skills having never seen them. Or only seen them from a distance or an obscured view. All you had were maybe some books, a class about it where you’re not actually shown the real thing, and people telling you things about it that may or may not be true. How easy do you think it would be to drive or swim or dance? You’d probably really struggle and many would most likely give up after a while. Especially if they had people telling them some people just can’t do it and it would be easier if they just gave up. These skills take time and practice as well as watching lots of other people do them to become easy and second nature for the person learning the skill. #celebratebreastfeeding
Day 3 of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week.
Tuesday 21st June
Day 4 of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week
One of the reasons I hear people don’t breastfeed is they aren’t sure how much the baby is getting, this especially seems to be a concern at the start. Newborn babies have tiny tummies and don’t need much to keep them going! Yes you can’t see exactly how much they’re getting but as long as they have plenty of wet and dirty nappies and are gaining weight they are getting enough. And if this isn’t the case, formula doesn’t immediately have to be the answer. There are plenty of things that could be the reason behind weight gain issues that can be fixed and breastfeeding can continue. This is why good support (from qualified breastfeeding consultants) is so vital!
Wednesday 22nd June
Day 5 of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week
The thing that some people seem to forget is breastfeeding has been done by humans for all of time. The human race would not have survived without breastfeeding. Cave mummy didn’t have parenting books to read and didn’t worry about making a choice as to how to feed her baby. There was one option. And it worked. Marketing from formula companies has changed the normality of breastfeeding so much in recent years. I really like this list of historical images that normalise breastfeeding. It’s a reminder (as silly as it sounds) that breastfeeding is not a new “hippy” thing!
Thursday 23rd June
Day 6 of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week
Bit late today, been a busy day so just a short one. This is what I’m doing right now 😍
Friday 24th June
Day 7 of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week
All week the West Herts Breastfeeders have been introducing our committee and today it’s my turn! I’m so happy to be part of this.
Meet the committee day 6!
I’m Caroline, mum to a 1 year old. I’m lucky to have not experienced any negativity about breastfeeding (I think it’s unfortunate that I consider this lucky) but I have heard so many stories of women being pushed to stop breastfeeding for various reasons that could be helped, simply because many people are uneducated about breastfeeding. I am passionate about spreading facts about breastfeeding and supporting other women in their parenting journeys. I’m so grateful to have found a group of women I can relate to. I’m proud to be part of the WHB committee. I am the Hemel representative and am very excited to be starting my breastfeeding peer support training in September. #celebratebreastfeeding
Saturday 25th June
Day 8 of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week
Many people seem to think there’s an age you “should” stop breastfeeding. But there really isn’t a need to stop until you and your child are ready. It doesn’t suddenly lose it’s nutritional value when a baby turns 1 and it still can provide a great deal of comfort and antibodies to help your child recover from something like a cold quickly or not get it at all! There seems to be a common thought that cow’s milk should be given instead of breastmilk at a certain age, but why is this? Cow’s milk is specifically tailored to baby cows. Human milk is specifically tailored for tiny humans. Why switch to milk from another species if you can carry on giving your baby milk from their own species? #celebratebreastfeeding
Sunday 26th June
Day 9 of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week
This has happened to me many times to the point where I almost always have my phone in my pocket just in case 😂 those cluster feeds can be long! I’ve found great support in online breastfeeding groups so shout out to all my virtual friends! There is always someone to respond to your worries or just chat in the middle of the night! One benefit of our technology obsessed modern world. #celebratebreastfeeding
Monday 27th June
The 10th and final day of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week. My hope is that through my posts this week at least one person has learned something new or thought about something they hadn’t thought about before. I want to help bring back breastfeeding as the normal thing to do in our culture and help be the vital support for women throughout their breastfeeding journeys and beyond. I’ll leave you with a breastfeeding joke. #celebratebreastfeeding