I wasn’t the world’s most successful breast feeder. I fed all three myself for a while but nowhere near as long as I longed to. I was so adamant that I was breast feeding my first that I didn’t even buy bottles. Bad luck meant that my precious son became ill at four days old and this hampered any and all efforts. I fed number two the longest for a sum total of 6 weeks. The princess got a fortnight bless her. I think if my experience with breastfeeding had have been more positive the first time around I would have lasted longer. However long I did it for I am very glad that I did.
I am an advocate for breastfeeding. I think it’s an amazing privilege to feed your offspring. To think that your milk and only your milk keep your child alive is the most mind blowing experience you can have. Not only does that milk contain everything your child needs but it will change to suit your growing child. I read once that’s why we have an overwhelming urge to kiss our newborns. Our lips sample the bacteria on the newborns skin and then adjust our milk to help the child fight it off. If I had my time over again I would have persevered and fed them all longer. Sometimes life gets in the way and that’s ok too.
Mothers need to be encouraged to have a go but also assured that the bottle isn’t some evil entity. At the end of the day fed is best. A happy mammy makes for a happy baby. Whatever works for you is what you need to do.
In a recent conversation about breastfeeding with my friends’ one friend talked about seeing a celebrity in a foreign country take a child and feed it from her own breast. The lady was nursing her own child at home, had milk and the child was hungry. For my friend that was as simple as that. She fed a hungry child. I was horrified. I didn’t mind that she fed someone’s baby. What horrified me, was the thoughts of someone breastfeeding one of my children.
I would consider myself quite liberal, but obviously not liberal enough. I feel breast feeding is such a personal thing. It’s a bond that you share with your child and it’s unique. I know from history that wet nursing was a real and widely used way of rearing children but it’s not something that sits well with me. These were times where people were kept as slaves so ethics weren’t exactly of today’s standards.
My friends poked me, surprised by my reaction. I was equally surprised that they thought it was an acceptable practice. They asked ‘Would I breast feed someone else’s baby?’ My gut reaction without thinking was ‘Yes’. However my thoughts on someone else feeding one of mine remain unenthused. I needed time to think. This isn’t an everyday situation in my neck of the woods. I couldn’t think of one single situation that I would encounter that would ever require that someone else would need to breast feed my child.
After much contemplation I have gathered my thoughts on the question of would I let another woman breast feed my child? My feeling is still no. If for whatever reason my child needed breast milk I would happily accept a donation but I would feel uncomfortable about the child being fed from the breast of someone else. What other families do is none of my business and I’ve never come across a real life instance of someone feeding a baby that wasn’t theirs. Whatever works for you but it’s just not for me.