I love breastfeeding! I am in complete awe and gratitude of these super powers of the female body. My body produces milk- food!- for my baby according to his needs. Our hormones communicate and milk is produced accordingly; a lot or a little, hungry or thirsty, is baby cold or warm etc. We are totally synchronized and connected, and of course it gets stronger when and if we are skin to skin often. How cool is that!?
I hadn’t given much thought to breastfeeding during pregnancy to be honest. I just let it be a natural part of our journey together, since this is how I see breastfeeding anyways. It is and has always been so obvious to be. And my baby took the breast immediately, with a good grip and sucking and in that instant we started practice our communication together; listen, feel, be, and cuddle, skin to skin. In fact, the first days we never wore clothes despite late fall outside. We had the fire stoves burning and spent most of the time under the duvet, keeping each other warm (yes, cozy beyond words!). It felt like the most natural thing to do, but I recall reading a tip about doing precisely that in one of the books I worked with during pregnancy: Sacred Pregnancy (not affiliate, but check it out!)
I allowed my body to just be and for everything to have its course and, thus, I had never given a thought about how (and when) it would be when the milk would start to flow. It took barely 3 days and it felt very uncomfortable haha! The breasts felt like they would explode when the milk was pushing and wanted to come out. I breathed deeply and put my focus on giving, on extraction, all the while my midwife showed me how to massage and to “pump” by hand to start the flow. For a moment I felt nauseous but when it passed (after continuous massaging) the milk started flowing and me and Orion could continue deepening our love communication. We practiced so that Orion would recognize the breast and grab it himself and tried different poses, sitting and laying down. Some of the beast tips I got from my midwife were:
· Rub some milk on the nipple and put a little on the baby’s lip so that he can smell it. This makes baby keen on drinking and it is so beautiful to see how the little face shines up curious and hungry.
· Lay down to breastfeed. Say no more. It’s so cozy and comfortable and offers plenty of rest for both.
· The first milk that comes out is to sooth the thirst, and after comes the creamy food. By understanding that I can more easily give my baby what he needs and it means that when I start to feed him I give him the breast we ended with last time and then change. It makes him full and satisfied every time and the breasts are equally stimulated and it makes me understand what to give him when he is thirsty (or want food straight away). We were very consistent with this through the first three months and it was satisfying for both!
To me, breastfeeding is a deeply loving act where I give my baby infinite unconditional love and at the same time share the best nutrition he can get. Breastfeeding makes children strong and healthy, prevents allergies, strengthens the immune system and gives the baby my important antibodies. It is a deep bonding and communicating that is taking place, incredibly important for the relationship, the child’s sense of safe at earth, within him/herself and together with others. To me it is completely unbelievable how anyone can deny their baby this crucial love (Source Human Milk project).
Here, in the West, the stress about “get over it and get back to normal”, the non-admitting of postpartum and the suppression of the sacred motherhood (woman) has led to a belief that you have a right to choose not to breastfeed. And in addition call it feminism! Despite that the choice already was made in the instant we accepted the assignment as servant and guide for the new being. That is to say, when we choose to bring a child to earth we also choose to nourish, care for and love that child unconditionally. We choose to give everything of ourselves to that individual and thereby to the creating of future on planet earth. By believing that you can choose to omit breastfeeding, the entrance into the sacred motherhood and the infinite love is denied. I believe that many of society’s imbalances are created already in this stage and it is deeply sad.
My heart aches just thinking about how it is more and more common for women to choose not to breastfeed and how midwives, health care and society around us are promoting it. The pain in me is indescribable and sometimes I have nightmares how someone is trying to force me not to breastfeed. Yes, these things happen in Sweden today. For instance, here is a story of a mother that (not long ago) was threatened to be reported to health authorities by the Swedish Child Care center if she didn’t stop breastfeeding! (The kid was 2 years old).How f**** is our society??
According to the recommendations of WHO, a mother should breastfeed full time till the baby is 6 months old and thereafter continue until the child is 2 years old “or more”. According to traditional Mayan wisdom, the baby is given the mother’s milk and some fruit only for the entire first year. Swedish childcare says that “breast milk is not sufficient nutrition and one ought to introduce solid food around 4 months”. In what is this based? Rather, the natural thing would be to follow the baby’s own development and have trust in the baby’s connection to his/her body and nature. Because the baby knows. The child soon becomes curious and wants to try different foods and little by little s/he automatically reduces breastfeeding in accordance with increasing feel of safety and, thus, seeks to go exploring what’s nearby. Always knowing that the parents and the safety are there, around him/her, holding space. After all, that is what we as parents do: hold space.
But things never go fast enough today, it seems. And we are never advised to listen to the body’s functioning. Instead of being comfortable within ourselves we are expected to give all trust on the illusion of an authority- big brother- who apparently knows better than we do. And women choose not to breast feed, are forced to give it up or reduce it before what would be the right time for their baby. I find it all worrying and problematic.
Meeting with the elder generation, I always receive a comment like “how nice that you have food!”. Everyone from my mother to the lady next door comment and ask unashamedly if there is food enough for the little one. It seems like they are in the idea that not every woman can breastfeed. From where derives that notion?! According to College of Human and Health Sciences Swansea University less than 2% of all women are unable to breastfeed due to medical reasons. That means that basically EVERYONE can breastfeed. And it also means that those that do not choose not to. Maybe it is too hard to love? To be one with Love in this act of giving? (Since this is foreign to most today). Or, simply there is lack of support, patience and practice in getting to know your body.
According to the same video, women choose not to breastfeed or stop because they don’t feel supported by their community, partner, friends and family. The lack of a supportive community today is to say the least serious. Often times, new mothers are left alone and are expected to take care of the house and nurture a newborn completely on their own because we no longer have the traditional contact and/or living arrangement with our sisters, mothers and elders. One of my teachers, Uma Dinsmore Tuli also comments on this in her book Yoni Shakti:
When a woman is undergoing one of the greatest transformations of consciousness which life can bring us, she needs a bit of help. (…) It takes more than one person to do this job well.
Further, she tells us about the women she met during her time as a breastfeeding consultant, where she confirms the same information the video above is giving us. The women she met with a “ breastfeeding problem” were actually just tired, hungry, alone, confused and completely without support.
I can also see how there is not only a lack of support around breastfeeding but also not respected by the ones around you. Again, everybody wants to be with the baby and drink the nectar of Source rather than acknowledge and support Woman and Baby’s journey together (and the sacred motherhood). What message do we give the woman? When she is left alone in a room to breastfeed, met by sighs that it takes such a long time, and then is met by “give me the baby”- attitude when the little one finishes. Together we need to create a change in attitude and the treatment of new mothers to recreate safety and trust in themselves and to support the entering of life’s phase Motherhood.
In the next breastfeeding post I share how I did in the beginning of our journey to stay awake and focused during nightly hours of breastfeeding and how I regain energy through yoga and herbs.
In love and gratitude,