This I Believe

Sinead - Newry, United Kingdom
Entered on October 22, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I have a dream… and that dream involves breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding education to be precise.

As the mother of three breastfed children, I know first hand that breastfeeding is best – I’ve seen in my own children just how much better it is to breastfeed than to formula feed.

Within just a few weeks of my first daughter’s birth she had the loveliest milky white complexion and a beautiful lean physique. I was worried though. Weren’t babies supposed to be all chubby and wobbly?

My wonderfully supportive health visitor smiled a knowing sort of smile when I pointed this out and assured me my daughter was perfect. She then informed me that she could tell immediately, just by looking at a baby, whether or not it was breastfed.

She happily explained breastfed babies are leaner than formula babies. Their milk is light and easily digested; this means breastfed babies suffer less excess weight gain, they have soft and infrequent bowel motions, less colicky episodes and any newborn jaundice clears up more quickly too. They also most often have lovely clear, almost translucent skin.

Although I had known breastfeeding was good for babies I never realised it was so physically obvious when a baby was breastfed.

Of course I was thrilled to hear all this; as a result when people commented that my baby was very thin I educated them as to why she was lean.

I believe that if the uptake of breastfeeding is to improve then it is vital that all children be made aware of why breastfeeding is good and in how many different ways it is good.

During my first pregnancy I recall attending an antenatal class and the room going silent when people were asked to list the advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding. It wasn’t so much that those attending didn’t know (although that is very likely) but more-so that no-one wanted to talk about breasts in relation to feeding a baby. Everyone was embarrassed.

When the speaker played a video showing a baby actually being breastfed I recall watching these mothers and fathers-to-be squirm in their seats, some even looking away!

My mother once told me this story: it was 1971 when her young neighbour who’d just given birth confided in her that she’d been to her doctor in a state of some panic. The reason: there was white fluid leaking from her breasts.

The really sad thing about this story is that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the same is still happening today.

That’s why I believe breastfeeding education is vital.

Wouldn’t it be great if breastfeeding educators were invited to schools to speak to children about the importance of breastfeeding?

Children would learn the facts thus enabling them to discuss breastfeeding in a positive way with their peers.

The result?

More babies in the future would be breastfed. Simple as that…

That’s what I believe.