Breastfeeding gets a lot of bad press these days, so I thought I would take a moment to big it up a bit in honour of National Breastfeeding Week, by sharing 10 things that I love about breastfeeding.
1. I love that it instantly solves almost any problem, baby wakes in the night, no problem, a few minutes of breastfeeding and he's back off to sleep, it contains chemicals that help both him and me off to sleep, baby falls and bumps himself, no problem, breastmilk has pain relieving properties and the crying stops, teething, same.
2. I love how my breastmilk changes consistency depending on the weather. During the hot spell we recently had here in the South of England my boobs went into overproduction of watery milk to re-hydrate my baby.
3. I love how it's helped me lose weight, I am back at my pre pregnancy weight, it's taken a little longer after this third baby, but I'm there, and let me tell you, I have not reduced my calorie intake one iota.
4. I love how convenient it is. At Forest school? No problem, just get my boob out and give him a feed. At church? No fussing, boob is right there, Looking at the skyline on the London Eye (you've guessed it) boob! Even walking round the supermarket, I have him in the carrier and boob is right there to keep him happy for the rest of the shopping trip. It's always the right temperature, the right consistency, sterile and it's virtually hands free.
5. I love that breastfeeding reduces my risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis, I know that it doesn't eliminate the risk altogether and that there are other factors involved in these things, but it is great to know that the benefits aren't just for baby, they're for me too.
6. I love that it's virtually free. You could argue that I need to eat a little more to breastfeed, but I think the financial cost of this is negligible (especially if you go to toddler groups with free biscuits!) The only other cost for me has been breast pads, which are washable, so over a period of 5 years (so far) the cost has been very small.
7. I love that only I can do it. For me it's a wonderful privilege and blessing that only I am able to breastfeed my baby. Not daddy or grandma or a childminder, only me. And you know what this means don't you? I get to sit down more! Woo hoo! (I love a good sit down) "Yeah, sorry husband, can't help with the dinner right now, I'm breastfeeding!".
8. I love that Breast milk is still such a mysterious substance we still don't even know what all the ingredients are. It's packed with good bacteria, and anti-bodies, it's literally a living substance. People like to be able to deconstruct everything, medicalise everything, analyse and in some sense, own, it. But breastfeeding is still full of mysteries and we are still learning all sorts about how it kills horrible bugs, cancer and how it affects children, and only we, the mamas can really own it.
9. I love that I can breastfeed and still have a drink. The amount of alcohol in your breastmilk is the same as your blood so anything more than 0.4% blood alcohol and you'd be practically dead. This amount is actually less than is in your average glass of orange juice! The main thing to be aware of is your own ability to care for your child under the influence, and of course, co-sleeping and drinking is a no no. Cheers!
10. Finally I love that the fact my being disorganised and forgetful (yes my child arrived at Forest School this morning with no shoes on. NO SHOES!! I had to put nappy bags on his feet!) has no impact whatsoever on my ability to breastfeed. I literally can't forget to take my boobs!
Breastfeeding on the London Eye!