(I have not blogged for a long while but I have vowed to commit to it again. And what better way than to start the first day of the second half of the year with a reflective post on breastfeeding, as part of preparing for Breastfeeding Month in August)
There is not one Feast that I do not hear words that resonate with me where I also do not think of how it applies to breastfeeding. Last Sunday, as we were being pep talked into serving, I heard these words: We Cannot Outgive God.
As a LATCH Counselor and BFP Admin, I try to remind mothers that breastfeeding will require a lot from them but the benefits are long term. I even always say, do the Math. Breastfeed for two years and reduce your child's allergy risks for life or give in to formula now and deal with allergies earlier/all your child's life. Breastfeed for two years and reduce mother and baby cancer risks or tempt fate and don't.
Breastfeeding requires a mother to give in a way that is very exhausting, draining, and every moment. Apart from the lack of correct info and support, I think what stumps a lot of moms is the fact that their baby needs them physically for soooo much everyday that they feel like slaves sometimes to a baby's needs and demands. After all, a working Mom can work away from home and earn the money to pay for the child's vaccines, clothes, treats, etc (things a baby also needs). But a breastfeeding working mom will have to find time to pump, ensure the milk won't spoil, etc. Any other mom can just do the chores but a breastfeeding mom will have to stop doing chores for a while and nurse.
But the thing is, when we moms breastfeed, we are doing God's work. After all, He made us mammals :) We are destined to nurse our young as sure as our young were created to feed from us. And whenever we give of our time, our bodies to our little ones, God outgives us.
God makes sure the baby communicates to us what it needs to be given to ensure its health... even before it could talk. (Enteromammary Pathway)
God makes sure our milk is perfectly made, with all the right nutrients, at the right temperature.
God makes sure that our milk does more than nourish, it also protects. And the gut protection our babies receive are lifelong, making them better able to deal with the preservatives and pollution of this world.
God makes sure we benefit as well, because we invoke reduced risks for certain diseases as we do the same for our child.
God makes sure each family need not be unduly compromised financially, and that its other members need not go without food just to feed a baby.
God alerts us the minute a virus gets into our baby's system or when we have not been mindful of their needs (they feed more).
God allows us to be enough for sick toddlers who refuse to eat.
And while all these is happening, our babies literally grow in faith (for this world) in our arms, but remain the right size to nurse from us. How amazing, isn't it?
Alas, such outpouring of grace requires a surrender to Him, however. A surrender to His design, His system. Unfortunately, because of "modern culture", many aren't that open to this truth.
Breastfeeding is not something one really volunteers for, wherein you quit when it is no longer convenient.
Breastfeeding is not a burden to be a slave to, something totally against our will, something we are forced to do, something we do not find happiness over, something that will never uplift us.
Breastfeeding is service, something we do for God because we love Him and because we are grateful to have been blessed with child. We do it with humility and gratitude, and we celebrate its rewards.
Mommies everywhere... we do not breastfeed because we like not having our bodies to ourselves, or that we like having our boobs out, or that we like to leak, or we like to be subjected to critical looks/being chased away from establishments in public, or that we like losing more sleep than we have to, or we like sore nipples and fatigued arms/backs.
Mommies everywhere... us breastfeeding advocates do not fight for every mother and child's right to breastfeed because we like our efforts being undermined by milk companies, or we like being called fanatics, or we like being called judgmental, narrow-minded, etc. We do not like sitting in boring meetings or making-nice with corrupt politicians, or counting the progress we make at a snail's pace.
We do this because we are committed to the truth of God's love for us. We do this because we love our children. We do this because we see our children's faces in other children. We do this because we care about the environment and how families eat. We do this because we want to save lives.
We are not slaves to breastfeeding. It's just that the rewards may take a while... especially if you aren't looking :) But whatever we give of ourselves in breastfeeding, trust that we receive tenfold.