Every year the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) hosts a week long global event that aims to protect, promote and support breastfeeding around the world. And I guess if you’re not a lactating mama or don’t know one, it may have escaped your attention that it runs from August 1 – 7.
I was inspired this morn by Elisa Spring to dig out this photo from 1997. Here I am at 24 years young,at work and on the phone and breastfeeding my two month old son, Jesse. This kind of multitasking was very much the norm in my family. I was very lucky to be working for my Mum at the time as she doted on her first grandchild – and yes too her own first child becoming a mama.
It was Mum who helped me learn how to breastfeed (and parent) although Jesse was a natural. I was so in awe of how my body would awaken me as my milk let down and moments later I would hear Jesse begin to stir, ready to be fed. I adored the way we stared into each others’ eyes, falling more and more in love with my baby and motherhood with every feed.
I recall too being shocked at the resistance to public breastfeeding – which was rife back then – and horrified that the most vocal critics were older women. It baffled me. Women were expected then to stay home or hidden away in vile public feeding closets with no fresh air, room or comfort. Men openly stared – because boobs – and those mates visiting our house were quickly put in their place by a few choice squirts in their coffee. Reconcile that, fellas.
I was devastated when my son weaned himself, long before I was ready. I didn’t know then it would be my only experience of breastfeeding and it will always remain one of the most precious everyday miracles of my life.
Breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone but I notice how much the changed attitudes towards it and acceptance of this most natural of instincts makes it flow for new mothers, in every sense. This is what our mammaries are actually for. Bizarrely in our porn culture, our nipples and breasts aren’t free. When culture overrides instinct and purpose, something is seriously wrong.
I’d love to hear your breastfeeding experience or your thoughts on our society’s ludicrously addled relationship to breasts.
And for more information on WABA and Breastfeeding Week, jump to http://waba.org.my/
Words and image © Kerrie Basha, 2018