Breastfeeding provides extraordinary nutrition and bonding for a child and its mother. But I sometimes wonder, is it truly the connection between mother and child or the nutrition that breastfeeding supporters are so passionate about?
What if you could not breastfeed your child?
My mom told me a story about my grandmother. She had nine children. At the time of one of her babies being born, there was another woman next to her who had also just had a baby. The woman next to her could not provide milk for her newborn. The nurses asked my grandmother, who was feeding her newborn child, if she could help. She happily fed both her own baby and the stranger’s next to her with the warm milk.
Would you allow another woman to breastfeed your child if you could not?
About two years ago, my friend had just given birth to a healthy baby boy. The day after her C-section, she knew that something was wrong. Once they found out what it was, the hospital prepped her for emergency surgery to repair a tear in her bladder. She knew that she would be unable to breastfeed her newborn and called her sister-in-law for help. Her sister-in-law had her own infant and was breastfeeding. My friend asked her to pump milk and bring it to the hospital so her baby would have breast milk to drink from a bottle.
The surgery went as scheduled, and her newborn son happily drank the bottle of milk that his daddy fed him. This family did not want their baby to have formula and were fortunate enough to have a relative that could help provide the milk, avoiding the need for formula.
So the question remains, what would you do if you were in the hospital and could not breastfeed your baby? Would you be opposed to your newborn drinking formula? Would you be opposed to your infant drinking from a bottle? Would you feed your baby another woman’s milk? Would you allow another woman to breastfeed your child ?
I think for most mothers the answer is simple: they would do whatever is necessary for the well-being of their baby. But if you had the option, what would you do?