I wish that breastfeeding wasn’t such a “hot” topic.
I wish that formula feeding wasn’t so commonplace and normal that people assume that the way a formula-fed baby behaves is the way babies should behave. So that long deep sleeps in very small babies were not expected, instead of the hourly feeds, short naps and light sleep that is actually normal baby behaviour. That people knew that vomiting was not normal, that baby poo shouldn’t stink to high heaven and that reflux isn’t to be expected. There’s a big difference between posseting now and then, and regularly chucking back large amounts of milk.
I wish people didn’t think that breastfeeding was the “Gold Standard”, but understood that it is simply the biological norm. What babies are meant to do, what boobs are for, and what gives our babies the things they need to grow up the way they were meant to. Physically, immunologically and emotionally.
I wish people didn’t think it was fair game to pass comment on the health of breastfed babies. Or to take the piss out of breastfeeding mothers. Imagine if a breastfeeding mother passed comment on the health of a non-breastfed baby, or belittled a woman who didn’t breastfeed? That people realised that childhood illnesses are just that, a part of normal, everyday childhood, that all babies and children get colds, and coughs and chicken pox, and that breastfeeding is not a Magical Forcefield which stops your baby ever getting ill, but what it actually does is makes your child able to resist a lot of infections, and means they can fight off the ones they do get. All babies and children get sick, the more contact they have with others the more likely they are to get sick, so a breastfed baby in a nursery will still catch infections, where as a formula fed baby that stays at home won’t be in contact with those infections, and that’s why they seem to get sick less often, not because breastfeeding makes no difference. I wish I didn’t have to defend the fact that I breastfeed. Ever. To anyone.
I wish people understood that advertising works. That formula manufacturers invented “Follow-On” formula to get through a loophole in the advertising laws, because all they care about is profit, how much of their product they can sell. That most of the “special” ingredients in artificial milks are not proven, not necessary and not there to improve the health of babies, but to make one formula seem “closer to breast-milk” than all the others. That artificial baby milks are not sterile, and subject to fewer and less rigid tests and standards than over-the-counter cold medications.
I wish people understood that the risks that go with not breastfeeding are rarely instantly obvious, but can creep up and effect our health when we are 10, 20, or 30, or 40, or 50. Babies rarely drop dead from being formula fed (although it does happen in some cases, from contamination like in China, or from allergic reactions or gastroenteritis) but that it is, all the same, a large scale public health issue that needs to be viewed seriously, not as a life style choice or as a fashion statement.
I wish breastfeeding was normal.
This article was written by Sandra Baker – full time writer and the mother of four amazing kids (including twins!)
She’s also a breastfeeding counselor and has spent years helping new parents learn how to care for their children. When she’s not writing or caring for her children, Sandra likes to spend time reading and taking walks with her husband.