Why is there a breastfeeding week at all?
I understand that women need to feel empowered to whip their boobs out whenever their baby is hungry. I am lucky enough to live in a society and country that is extremely receptive to breastfeeding and I have not even had so much as a raised eyebrow when breastfeeding. I used a cover for approximately 5 minutes before my summer baby, and I, were dripping with sweat.
For some Mums, breastfeeding is hard and they need a lot of support to make it work. For others it comes easily and they don't give it a second thought. With oversupply comes engorgement and mastitis, with under supply a hungry baby. With a short time breastfeeding comes formula and early period, with longer comes potential issues with solids, weaning and teeth (yep). There are difficulties along the way for most people in their breastfeeding journey, but if it is working it is great.
However, not everyone can breastfeed - whether it be due to low supply, returning to work, certain medications, latch issues. There are a whole host of things, not to mention the most obvious - being a man.
New proposition for next year: Baby Feeding week.
Taking care of a newborn is hard work, they take take take and offer no reward until that magical 4/5 week point when they look at you and flash a toothy grin that you know isn't gas.
They need to eat often and throughout the night. They get so hungry that they work themselves up enough that they can't calm down to eat, they fall asleep while eating (don't we all) because eating tires them out. They are helpless, adorable little creatures who need to be fed, kept clean and warm and helped to sleep.
So why isn't there a week to celebrate and empower those mums who have to listen to their baby cry while they make up the bottle of formula in the night.
What about the Mums who have to get up every 3 hours to pump milk because their baby can't latch so they need to take a bottle.
Then there are the Dads who take bub for a walk in the wee morning hours so Mum can get a little rest.
The Mums who are sitting in a bathroom cubicle because there is nowhere available for her to pump and her baby needs the milk.
Celebrate the Mums who are riddled with a horrible fever and have to get in the shower and massage their excruciatingly painful boob with a wide tooth comb to unblock the duct to stave off another bout of mastitis.
Empower the Mum who has bleeding nipples, is exhausted and anxious beyond words because she is desperately trying to get her baby to gain weight.
Celebrate anyone who has attempted and hopefully succeeded at feeding a baby - regardless of how they do it.