Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Breastfeeding in Australia

Breastfeeding in Australia: This is a combination of a praise and a rant.
I met a lady at the park the other day. She is from Australia, has twin fraternal girls who are almost two and a half. She husband is on a exchange program through the Australian army with our Army. They have lived here about a year and a half.
We were talking about caring for twins and tips and stuff. I said that I decided when getting home from the hospital that I had to figure out the feeding them at the same time thing and how it would have never been possible without the twin nursing table I have. She agreed. The nursing table is wonderful. She then started ranting on how the United States is so NOT breastfeeding friendly. How people scowl at you if you feed in public, even when you're covered. Most of all she hates that there are no public Mother's nursing rooms in the United States. She said that in Australia its is super breastfeeding friendly. That almost every public building has a Mother's Nursing Room that you can use at anytime. That public nursing is encouraged and no one bats an eye at you. She talked about how ever since Australia went to a public health program it has instituted policies to encourage breastfeeding, make it easier for mother's to breastfeed and discourage the use of formula. She said that the attitude is now that you nurse your baby until they are two. 
I wish that we had public Mother's Nursing rooms all over the place. My son would never let me cover up. I couldn't, he would cry and scream and flat out refuse to eat if there was anything covering him. I live a good distance south of town. So when I go to town I go for the day and get everything done that I need to. Which meant staying in town to feed my infant. Since I couldn't cover up that meant finding a secluded shaded place to park (which really isn't easy to do in the summer in Arizona) and sitting in my hot car feeding my baby. I had no where to go. Why is it the breastfeeding is so looked down on here in the States? I know there are movements out there trying to raise awareness of how breastfeeding is so much better than formula. That there are more and more hospitals out there trying to encourage nursing and hire Lactation Consultants.
My mom remembers her mother saying that in her day it was looked at as a sign of poverty to breastfeed. Because that meant you were too poor to buy formula. Why is it that so many women just give up on nursing without giving it a good try. Even if you have to suplement, the advantages of nursing are so great- how can you afford not to give that to your baby. I don't understand the hundreds of women who eat healthy and to everything "perfect" during their pregnancy because they want the "best" for their baby, and then buy all the organic expensive stuff afterwards because they want to give their babies the "best". But when it comes down to it the true "BEST" for you baby is the milk that you make for them, yet they don't give that to their baby.
To encourage breastfeeding, Australia has started a number of campaigns. This video is a commercial that they made. Also the Australian Breastfeeding Association rates and gives out award to the best public Mother's rooms out there. That is awesome. On their website you can see what all these places rate.
Top reasons to Breastfeed:

  1. You immune system becomes theirs, if you have had a vaccine or have build immunity to any infection you give them that immunity. With this there is no reason to seclude you and your baby for the first few months of their lives.
  2. If they are ill, your body will be making the antidote. They will get over the illness much faster and build up their own immunity to it faster.
  3. Your body made them, it knows exactly what nutrients their body needs. Your body makes milk designed to be exactly what they need for that stage of their development.
  4. With the exception of a few diet items you may need to change, they will always be able to eat your milk, unlike babies who have problems with various types of formula.
  5. Bonding between you and your baby happens on a level that just doesn't happen with bottles
  6. Your hormones are better balanced when you breastfeed. These hormones will help your body return to "normal" faster.
  7. I'm not a "Mother Nature Knows Best" person. But I am a "Heavenly Father Knows Best" person. I believe that this is how Heavenly Father designed it to work and he designs things best. I believe there is still benefits out there that we don't know about that science may yet uncover.
I wish our country could be more Breastfeeding Friendly like Australia. I don't want the Government to have to get involved. I just wish that people would become enlightened and realize that the "inconvenience" is nothing compared to the benefits. I wish that Breastfeeding would become the norm and formula would become the rare exception. And to accommodate this I wish public places would design in Mother's rooms into their design. Maybe this will become a reality someday, instead of just a dream.


April said...

Absolutely. But the government is getting involved and it helps. ObamaCare makes it slightly easier (easiest if we had more than 3 months of maternity leave and some was paid) to go back to work by requiring time and space to pump. Pumps are now tax deductible. All of those things help.

Congrats on doing what you can! We made it to 5 months old yay!

Amy said...

Amen! I had such a hard time breast feeding the first 5 months! My milk didn't come in for a week. I pumped, cried, bled, pumped. Evelyn couldn't latch and didn't even suck in her sleep. We had thrush when we left the hospital, which was painful. I've also had Mastitis a few times. I had a lot of help from my cousin who's a LLL chapter leader in Washington. Yet with all that I am one of the only mom's in my ward who had a baby last summer who still nurses. I definitely understand how some women can give up, but to me it was worth it all. Evelyn would fall asleep under the cover when she was tiny and now I think it comforts her to feel it. I wouldn't trade the bonding time for anything. Babies are all different, but they all benefit sooooo much from milk from their moms. It's how the Lord planned it.