Welcome to the August Carnival of Breastfeeding! This month the theme is the motto of World Breastfeeding Week: Prepared for Life. And please have a look at all the other excellent carnival posts at the end of this post.
Why am I thankful that I breastfeed?
Sleepless nights combined with a fussy, crying baby made for one exhausted mum. My salvation was to drop all housework, fall into bed with my little one, latch her on to my breast and promptly fall asleep. No more effort was required. I often used to wonder what I would have done if I had not been breastfeeding, and I honestly do not know the answer. But I know that it would have been harder and more frustrating to try to grab those moments of daytime sleep if I had not been breastfeeding.
My seven month old daughter was scalded on her torso and arm by hot coffee; between arriving at Accident & Emergency and our discharge some eight hours later, breastfeeding was the only thing that came between me and meltdown. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, the hospital staff were able to examine her injuries when she was pacified on the breast. And throughout the long hours of waiting to transfer to a children's burns unit and see a specialist doctor, I was able to keep her calm by suckling her. The burns happened at a cafe and when we left the house we had only expected to be out for an hour; thanks to the wonder of a mother's never-empty breasts I was able to keep her belly full until we could finally retreat back to the sanctuary of our home and collectively lick our wounds.
A warm summer's afternoon (rare in Britain), a pretty canal and a few happy hours spent walking the towpath with baby bouncing along in a sling. When the afternoon stretches into the evening, it is so tempting to walk that extra mile instead of turning back and heading for the car. But the great thing about breastfeeding is that you can walk that extra mile, or three, if you feel like it. On several occasions our little family has wandered further than we had planned but when our baby has complained, all we have had to do is stop for a while, give her an impromptu open-air feed and get on our way again. It has given the other walkers something to smile at.
So what does all this have to do with breastfeeding being preparation for life? Well, breastfeeding is obviously the best way to prepare a baby for life, but it is also the best way for a new mother to be prepared for whatever life throws at her. Without breastfeeding, life would have caught me out many times, and I am thankful that I am a breastfeeding mother.
Now enjoy all these other great carnival posts:
Hobo Mama: "Prepared for Life: Breastfeeding in local and global crises"
Zen_Mommy: "Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers!" on how breastfeeding has shaped her toddler's view of breasts
Pure Mothers: "Marketing Away 'Real Milk'"
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: "Tips for Consistent and Long-Term Breastfeeding Success"
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: "Breastfeeding in Emergencies"
Blacktating: "August Carnival of Breastfeeding: Prepared for Life" on the implications of formula feeding during disasters
Fusion Parenting: "Breastfeeding - Prepared for LIFE!" on breastfeeding and living a real life
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: "Breastfeeding as a lifesaver in emergencies"