Happy World Breastfeeding Week! This celebration aims to raise awareness and understanding about the benefits of breastfeeding around the world.
Did you know that the World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding through six months, and continued breastfeeding through at least two years (and beyond)? Globally, less than 40% of infants younger than 6 months are exclusively breastfed.
When I was pregnant, I was 99% focused on giving birth. I knew I'd breastfeed my baby but hadn't given much thought to the mechanics of it. I suppose there's something to be said about overthinking things, because birth went exactly the opposite of how I thought it would, and breastfeeding, which I hadn't thought twice about, has run brilliantly from the moment I met my little one.
I'm astonished by how satisfying I find this nursing relationship. I love cuddling while he nurses to sleep, his legs curled up warm against my belly and his palm flat against my heart. I love that my humble body provides so much comfort and nutrition to this little human being. I am totally in love with this process.
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Now. Yesterday, I read this post from The Crunk Feminist Collective (and its insightful commenters). I found it challenging and fascinating. One of the basic questions that evolves in the comments is: Is breastfeeding a personal choice? And what factors go into that choice, if so? (My favorite comments are from bfp and Meredith.) I offer that link as a counterpoint to my love affair with nursing, and the various levels of privilege that allow me to breastfeed my baby on demand and take advantage of the many resources that support breastfeeding.