The breastfeeding challenges

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Breastfeeding, also known as nursing, is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman’s breast. During the firts days of breastfeeding, the milk that is produced is called colostrum.

Colostrum is a thick yellowish milk. Mothers produce only a small amount, so, it is really important that babies consume all they can.

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The benefits

 

Sasha Romery © Solkes

In the moment babies take in the antibodies that are in the colostrum it is liek a first vaccination. It also has a lot of protein, which makes it perfect.

Mothers milk is specifically made for a baby. Every mother has a different one and it changes according to the babies needs. A mothers milk has thousands of ingredients that formula does not have and protect a baby against deseases.

Nevertheless, formula is not a wrong option, there are many women who choose not to breastfeed or don’t produce enough milk and they use formula. It is completely valid.

It is the most natural thing to do for a mother and a child. However, many women are shamed for it. Many people think that it is wrong, that it is ugly, that it should be done behind closed doors! And, I wonder: what is wrong with this people? How could they think this? Why is it that its is acceptable to show your cleavage but make someone feel bad about feeding a baby? This are double standards!

In Colombia I got weird looks but even my family felt wierd about it so I didn’t expect anything different from strangers.

Some facts about breast feeding

There are many facts about breast feeding. So, let us begin by saying that health professionals recommend that breastfeeding begin within the first hour of a baby’s life and continue as often and as much as the baby wants.

As a matter of fact, during the first few weeks of a babies life, they may nurse every two to three hours. Many mothers pump milk so that it can be used later when breastfeeding is not possible.

Another great fact is that breastfeeding has a number of benefits for mothers and babies. In the case of babies, it may improve cognitive development and decrease the risk of obesity in adulthood.

Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat. Breast milk contains antibodies that help fight off viruses and bacteria.

In regards to the benefits for the mothers it is well known that breastfeeding burns extra calories. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It may lower your risk of osteoporosis, too.

Sasha Romery © Solkes

Breastfeeding, is as native to humankind as existence itself and yet, we have reservations when it comes to witnessing a pair of breasts feeding publicly.

In many rural areas (of different countries) we see that people are rather open about public breastfeeding. However, in civilised areas people make a great deal about it.

Around the world

Alexandra Correa, assured me that publicly breastfeeding should be defended by everyone. It’s as bad as if we couldn’t sit down to drink acup of tea or coffee. Obviously there has to be some care. To breastfeed whould not be made a show.

I find it completely absurd that breastfeeding in public may be considered something illegal. (quote right)

In many countries, breastfeeding in public is common and generally not regarded as an issue.

In many parts of the world including Australia and Europe, along with some countries in Asia, women have an express legal right to nurse in public and in the workplace. How ever, in countries such as Saudi Arabia, it is forbidden for a woman to expose their breasts in public, even to breastfeed.

It is estimated that around 63% of mothers across the world have publicly breastfed. I find this to be great but I also think that this percentile is not as big as is should be.

I did not feel comfortable with some looks and, most importantly, I did not want anyone to say anything to the child. (quote left)

Some specific examples of how breastfeeding is seen around the world are as follows:

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In many areas of Africa breastfeeding in public is the norm. In China, breastfeeding has been controversial. In Shanghai, breastfeeding in public is considered embarrassing for some.

In the Philippines, breastfeeding is protected by various laws, such as the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 and the Milk Code of the Philippines (Executive Order 51). Regarding working moms, employers are required to allow lactating moms several breaks to breastfeed or pump.

Recently, in the USA, a country that prides it self for being a leader has many delays in forward thinking. A perfect example is that they have just now, in 2018, signed bills into laws (Utah and Idaho) that permit public nursing. It’s now legal to breastfeed in public anywhere in the United States. Recently, Idaho and Utah signed bills into law permitting public nursing.

In Europe, breastfeeding is very normal. France and Germany accept it completely. In the Netherlands, there are no laws against public breastfeeding.

Even more fascinating is that, the Dutch law stipulates that when an employee wishes to breastfeed her baby the employer is obligated to provide, during the first nine months, a suitable nursing room and allow for 25% of work time to be spent on feeding the baby or pumping while on pay.

In the United Kingdom, breastfeeding in public (restaurants, cafes, libraries etc.) is widely protected under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 under the provision of goods, facilities and services section.

Further more, ff the baby is under six months old, the mother has additional protection under a 2008 amendment to the act which protects maternity rights.

I did not appreciate people giving me weird looks and it was worst when they said things to me. (quote center)

Sandra Mendez, breastfeed her three year old son and she has never felt it something she has to hide. She thinks that “if nobody hides when preparing or giving a bottle, there should not be a reason to hide to breastfeed”. She has made the decision to only breastfeed her son at home, for breakfast and night time. Mendez say that her three year old agreed and understands.

Maria Claudia, told us that sometimes people got uncomfortable but they couldn’t do anything about it, legally speaking and texas is a pro breastfeeding state so it never escalated.

Another mom, Carina Schuster, says that if it has been “easy” for her to have a tranquil and lasting breastfeeding, it has only happened because of her conviction and the support from her partner and other breastfeeding moms.

Concluding

External pressure and fatigue are the most common complaints Larisa Pinto, phycologist, encounters when mothers have been breastfeeding for some time.

 

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In conlusion, recommendations made by the WHO (world health organizyation) regarding the duration of breastfeeding are already well known. This given that fact that currently we have a larger amount of information regarding the benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should be exclusively done for the first six months and thereafter supplemented with other foods until at least two years. Then, until mother and son wish. Nevertheless, in developed societies many see with strangeness that older children take the breast, which makes most mothers hide it. Somehow, as advanced as we are, we as a socierty have serious double standards regarding one of the most basic and natural activities between a mother and a child.

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