I’m sure many of you have read about the furore involving Gisele Bundchen’s interview to Harper’s Bazaar where she is quoted as saying ‘I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months’. The model has since apologised on her blog, saying that the comment was borne out of her ‘passion for children’ rather than a desire to marginalise mothers. Technically speaking, her advice could save thousands of children’s lives worldwide, but it’s been interpreted as an affront to us, less perfect mere mortals. Whatever.
The thing is, breastfeeding is AWESOME!!!!!! Sometimes I think there are not enough people bringing this point home. I have friends who really struggled with it and had to give it up, and I couldn’t help feeling like they were missing out. The first two weeks, where one is still trying to get to grips with the milky boob mechanics, were really painful for me- bleeding, swollen, sore nipples; rock hard tits the size of a cartoonish Pamela Anderson’s; inadequate milk flow – But once I got over that obstacle I never looked back.
I’ve often struggled with competitive motherhood and it’s been the subject of many posts in this blog. So this is my disclaimer. No criticism is intended here.
But breastfeeding is AWESOME! The health and post-partum slimming benefits are well documented, but for me it was a pretty magical experience. I didn’t have to carry all sorts of fiddly and expensive feeding and sterilisation paraphernalia everywhere; my milk dispensers were easily portable, healthy and always the right temperature. Maintaining something that resembles normal life after you have a baby is pretty challenging and breastfeeding helps a lot. And also, just relax! If occasionally your baby needs to have a bottle for any given reason, why the hell not? It’s only the one. Don’t lose sleep over it. Your milk supply should be just fine.
Did I mention… BREASTFEEDING IS AWESOME!!!
The absolutely most incredible thing about breastfeeding is how it made me feel. It is a continuation of a physical bond between mother and baby that starts at the moment of conception. It’s a very feral, instinctive thing; a constant reminder of the human being as animal. In a way, it’s a continuation of a sexual bond. Breastfeeding your baby is a unique and intimate ritual in a similar way to sex. I’m going to sound like a right hippie here, but both work on a physical and an emotional level: In sex, the physical objective is procreation. In breastfeeding, once procreation has already happened, the physical objective is nutrition. But in both, the ultimate emotional objective is LOVE!!!
See, I told you I was going to sound like a hippie. But those hippies were onto something. They were usually also on something, but that’s beside the point.
Breastfeeding feels like falling in love.
And that’s fucking AWESOME.
But then, many of you might feel a bit grossed out by my explanation. We don’t like to think of sex and babies as somehow linked… But they are. You’re not the Virgin Mary, love. And a lot of people can feel a bit shy about breastfeeding because of this too. However I was really surprised to hear that Denise Van Outen, no stranger to posing for lads mags, gave up breastfeeding at 3 weeks because she feared being photographed while doing it. Eh? Where’s the logic in that? I’d hate to be followed by photographers everywhere, but still. Furthermore, if you don’t want everyone to see your boobs while you’re trying to feed your baby, just use some kind of shawl or something. The end.