Liquid Gold

Breastmilk is the best milk. When we first started breastfeeding, it was quite difficult, tiresome and challenging. I remember at 3 weeks she had a growth spurt and I spent pretty much the entire weekend at the cottage lying down in Allen's parents room because she was feeding so much. Before having a baby, I was positive that breastfeeding was not for me. I am quite shy and whipping my breasts out in public seemed so scary and an impossible feat. I was worried of the looks I would receive and selfishly the shape of my breasts afterwards. Would I still be considered autonomous?

Then the day came when I had to introduce Charlotte to a park full of bike messengers. It was the weekend of the NSPI (North Side Polo Invite) and Allen was competing - all day! We had to be there. So, with nowhere to hide, I breastfed her in the public eye...and it felt empowering and beautiful.

At first, I must admit that I was afraid that she was not getting enough milk. You can't really see what she is getting. But after our first visit to the pediatrician where we discovered she was above the ABOVE NORMAL line of weight and length, I was assured that she was doing spectacularly.

Knowing that I was the source of her nourishment engraved in my thoughts that my choice and perseverence paid off. I do know that there are a lot of pregnant women out there that are thinking about breastfeeding and whether it is the best option. North American women of this century have grown up in a climate where we are taught to draw our eyes from the mother who feeds her child from her breast. Sadly we have been conditioned to believe that this NATURAL way of nourishing our children is disgusting and hence the mother becomes so as well. Being a woman who went into pregnancy convinced that she was going to have a C-section and formula feed, shy to expose myself to such criticism, I can say that breast has been best. After experiencing the squeeze of a little hand, the pause for a smile, the wide eyed look from a babe who knows that you provide all the comfort and meets her every need, I could never give my child a substance from a can.

I know that circumstances beyond your control may prevent you from breastfeeding. You may have an ill child or premature baby. You may feel that because you have adopted you cannot. You may be in an abusive relationship where a partner tells you that it is disgusting. You may simply not have the support from family or confidence in yourself to believe that it is doable. You may be the sole provider and need to return to work and place your child with others. Know however that breastfeeding is beautiful and can be accomplished in almost every situation. Breast milk contains everything that your particular baby needs. Each mother creates a particular liquid gold that is specific to their child's needs. It protects them against disease by building antibodies. It is unique and has NEVER been replicated by formula companies whose main goal is to diminish your confidence in yourself, to make you feel inadequate in using your body and breast for what nature intended it to do. Our bodies are beautiful and we need to return to thinking that they are.

It is also inexpensive (unless purchasing from a milk bank -which still is better than formula - formula should always be a last resort!). It creates a warmth and bonding between mother and child that cannot be broken.

For anyone who may read this and is thinking of BREASTFEEDING, please:

1. Pick up Jack Newman's book The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers
2. Visit a local La Leche League meeting to learn how to get that proper latch. Other
mothers are also there for support.
3. Look into pumping or milk banks (there is presently only one milk bank in Canada in BC)
4. Realize that Breastfeeding is the most natural, beautiful thing you can do. It may be difficult at first but persevere. You are one woman making a difference.

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