How To Help Normalise Breastfeeding For The Next Generation
Breastfeeding is the biologically normal way to feed a baby. Breast milk is a way in which our bodies respond to pregnancy and prepare to nourish our little ones Some countries have rates as low as 10%. Cultures consider formula feeding the norm as opposed to breastfeeding which is considered abnormal.
The reality is that no person should judge another family’s choice as to how they feed their baby. Each family responds to their own situation in a very personal manner and we are all shaped by the things that society teaches us. They are so many modern factors as to why a woman may decide to breastfeed her baby or not. Many countries would not consider it a choice because breastfeeding would be a given. That is not the case for many western cultures.
It is never going to be a bad thing to help increase breastfeeding rates in any particular country or culture. It is not a case of forcing a decision upon someone. Instead it is about helping a woman make an informed decision and helping her to see breastfeeding in a very normal and natural capacity.
But how can we do our bit? How can we help normalise breastfeeding for the next generation? How can we show our children that breastfeeding is normal, natural and a very good choice.
Here are some ideas.
– Have you ever been at a family gathering and your baby looks for a breastfeed? There may be several generations present. Everyone from your great grandfather right down to your six year old cousin. Sometimes the natural thing is for us to find a quiet room or corner to feed the baby. If we simply feed the baby wherever we may find ourselves to be at that moment it is actually very powerful. Children are often amazed and ask lots of questions. It can be a very powerful exercise is painting it to be a very normal and natural thing. You can continue your conversation and continue to sip your juice as your baby has their feed.
– When purchasing books and toys for the children in your life try to avoid the ones that highlight bottle feeding. Many modern doll sets come with several bottles and many children’s books show colourful images of babies being bottle fed. There is nothing sinister about a baby having a bottle however it does highlight bottle feeding as the normal way to feed a baby. Naturally children will grow up with a strong sense of this.
– Try to avoid language which sexualises a woman’s breasts. This is particularly effective when talking to teenage boys. The media does enough to sexualise a woman’s breasts to the point where a lot of people cannot begin to imagine feeding a baby from them.
– Breastfeed. Sounds like an obvious one but just keep doing what you are doing. Breastfeed your baby and don’t be afraid to talk about the fact that it is the normal way to feed a baby. You are not offending a family who bottle feeds if you choose to speak positively about breastfeeding. Do not be afriad to say good things. We need more people to say good things.