Monday, February 18, 2013

Breast is normal (and of course it's best)!

I’ve always rather liked the way that “breast” rhymes with “best” but it seems that the mantra has got the formula feeders in a dither. They claim that for some mothers and their babies, breast isn’t best at all. I wonder if they would be as vehement or as vocal if they had to state that artificial feeding is abnormal? Anyway, the mum who blogs as “Fearless Formula Feeder” seems to have triggered an explosion of dedicated bottle feeders standing up against what they call “lactivism”. It’s rather sad that those campaigning for a mother’s right to feed as she pleases, fail to acknowledge the baby’s birthright.

So what goes wrong when a mother claims that she “hates breastfeeding”? How can we ensure that babies get only their mother’s milk and everybody is happy with the experience? US paediatricican Dr. Christina Smillie, says that a great many problems and failures begin with the so-called experts. Smillie has the only clinic in the US dedicated solely to breastfeeding mothers and babies and is passionate about re-educating the experts in how they work with the highly-emotional, intuitive, right-brain-dominant, post-natal mum. She suggests that re-education must begin by reducing the use of left-brain focused “advice” and emotive language such as “latch”, “attach”, “breast-refusal”, “poor-supply” and other words with potentially negative connotations. In those early days after the birth, when the new mum is so exquisitely attuned, “baby-led” breastfeeding is vital and when that’s encouraged it’s all instinctive for both mum and baby. The only babies who cannot do this successfully are neurologically damaged. 

Smillie also says there are no issues about breastfeeding in the historical literature, only reference to “baby taking the breast” and “mother giving the breast”. Babies are hard-wired to breastfeed, their ability is innate - it’s the experts who muck it up for women and then women perpetuate the experts’ poor performance, and frustrated and disappointed, suggest that bottle is okay for everybody and proceed to tell the world about it! 

More on the normality and ease of breastfeeding and Smillie’s wisdom in Healthy Parents, Healthy Toddler - Your Guide to Birth, Breastfeeding and the Toddler Years. 

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