As a mother of a 3 month old, it seems to me that the world out there is divided half and half in its opinion for what is right for my son. By Gods grace, I have a child who is hungry 90% of his wake time. Needless to say then, that whenever we have to make the occasional trip out of the sanctity of our home, he still needs to be fed. Since at this age, he can only be given milk, I am left with all but two options – breastfeed or bottle feed.
This is where the dilemma begins.
As soon as I take out a bottle to mix formula milk, I become the victim of accusing stares from all the well meaning society out there. How could I subject my infant to formula at such a tender age? Don’t I know the benefits of breastfeeding? I must be a very bad mother not to even try breastfeeding….. and so on.
On the other hand, if I unbutton my shirt and start breastfeeding in a public area, the same society considers it quite equivalent to pornography.
What is the world out there trying to tell me? Don’t give bottle, don’t give your breast, then does that mean that as long as I am outside my house, I should not in any way provide any source of nourishment to my infant. I should let him scream and howl till we reach a hidden, secret spot where the prying eyes of the society can no longer judge us. Would that be acceptable?
In the world of today, where women are either working or playing an active role in running the house which includes constant visits to buy stuff and managing an array of workers, breastfeeding is constantly on the decline. The situation is so bad that the doctors have to beg and plead new mothers to breastfeed exclusively for six months. Let us admit that we the society contribute to this trend in a way that we don’t even realize.
As a second time mother, I can vouch for the fact that breastfeeding is not easy. While it is the most natural process for any women, it comes with it’s own set of painful challenges. Most mothers struggle with these challenges night and day in order to provide what is best for their child. When it is the best thing to happen for any any child, why does the society makes the mother think that she is indulging in inappropriate behavior if she meets the demands of her child in a public place. Such reactions from the society are bound to deter any well meaning mother to continue breastfeeding, if her responsibilities include stepping out of the home frequently.
I have heard suggestions like “Oh! That’s hardly a problem! Why don’t you stay inside the house for as long as you are breastfeeding.” Have I committed a crime to be under house arrest for at least six months or am I projecting a wrong image of motherhood if I step outside the house with an infant who wants to be fed? Sometimes I think even cigarette smoking is not considered as harmful to the public as breastfeeding is.
I have never asked my readers to share my blog, but I am breaking my rules with this one. As a reader, I request you, if you agree with me and you think that awareness on breastfeeding needs to be promoted, I request you to share this with as many people as you can. Till such time, the society continues to consider breastfeeding taboo, this practice will continue to decline. This would mean that we are leaving our next generations with not only a warmer planet, no fossil fuels and fresh water, but also a much weaker body system. Please comment, share and help in promoting breastfeeding.