I’m a geek
Ok, so truth be told, I really really love the biology and science of breastfeeding. It makes my heart beat faster, it really does. Human Alpha Lactalbumin made Lethal to Tumour cells (HAMLET) is like a seek and destroy molecule which actively hunts down rapidly dividing cells (cancer cells) and kills them. OH MY GOODNESS! How awesome is that?! I love that fact, and I never get bored of talking to people about it and watching their eyes widen in wonder at the amazingness of the human body. The maternal brain becomes fuddled under the influence of hormones during pregnancy and this helps her brain to more aligned with her infants. Wow! There is an appetite-regulating hormone present in the high fat milk at the end of a breastfeed, which chemically triggers a baby that they have ‘had enough’, which is why they spontaneously release the breast. This is a major reason why breastfed babies are leaner, and have lower rates of obesity and diabetes. That’s insanely cool! Gosh I’m such a dork, but I just love it. Every time a new study discovers something I’m blown away.
I’m for health professionals
I see so much frustration, confusion, anxiety and anger in health professionals. I’ve been teaching and lecturing for a few years now, and there are some distinct groups of learner out there;
- The health care worker who had a negative experience breastfeeding. Oh, I’m so sorry. This is SO hard for you to be in one of my sessions and have to put a brave face on it and take in all this information which may have helped you if you’d had it several years ago. Maybe you came into my teaching wondering if I was going to make you feel guilty? Maybe you thought that you were one of those women who ‘just can’t breastfeed’, and now you realize you were bamboozled by inaccurate or old-fashioned advice. How hard it must be for you to sit there and look interested while all the time your heart is hurting.
- The unconvinced. You probably do not want to be at my teaching at all! Breastfeeding is irrelevant to you, or you just aren’t that persuaded by what you’ve heard before. I respect you. I really do. You have a whole world of life experience and knowledge that I’d love to know about. Maybe I’ll change your mind with some compelling information or evidence. Maybe I wont, but thank you for coming.
- The defensive formula advocate. Maybe you formula fed your babies by choice. Maybe you were formula fed. Maybe you don’t really care about breastfeeding. You have to do my training so you’ve diligently shown up but your heart is not in it. Maybe you care passionately about the mothers you know who bottle feed and you want to protect them from the pressure of breastfeeding. Maybe you don’t believe the breastfeeding evidence. It’s not my job to persuade you, just to help you give correct information to mothers. All I ask is that you remain impartial, and know where to send mothers to get help with breastfeeding if you don’t want to, or don’t have the skill.
- The eager beavers. I love a bit of enthusiasm! Thank you for loving breastfeeding mothers too. Thank you for nodding and smiling emphatically when I make an interesting point. Thank you for laughing when I do my silly imitations of what babies do, and how mothers sometimes act. I hope I can teach you something new that will re-invigorate your practice.
I’m for mothers
Mothers are incredible. They are hard-wired to love their babies. Most of them will walk on hot coals for their infant. They are selfless, sacrificial, and resourceful. They do not know their own strength. I’m always amazed by women who have gone through so much before they see me. I’m humbled at their perseverance, their hopefulness and their resilience. I do not approach women remember – they come to me. I am often the last of several people they have asked before in desperation wondering if there’s ‘one last shot’ out there which might help. I love these women. I instantly love them. I often feel that if I wasn’t their lactation consultant we would be friends. They are amazing.
I’m for babies
Babies are other-worldly aren’t they? There’s something almost divine about this wonderful human who didn’t legally exist just a few minutes/hours/days before. They seem so utterly vulnerable and defenceless. And yet, they’re not! Have you watched a baby crawl to the breast himself? Have you watched a baby copying faces and imitating their parent’s noises? Have you seen a baby initiate ‘conversation’ with an adult? Have you witnessed a baby know just what to do to get from one side of the rug to the other, or get a toy that is just out of reach? We have not even begun to understand the depths of their cognition, feeling, emotions and ability. Babies deserve our unswerving respect and compassion. Is my obsession about just ‘loving babies’? No. Maybe before I had my own children it was. A little bit. But not now. Maybe I’ve grown up, or maybe I’m content with my own two wonderful boxes of potential! But, no, I don’t want to cuddle your baby. He needs his mother, not me.
So, that’s a few reasons. Not all, granted, but I’ve let you in a little on my story so far. I’m on one heck of a journey. I will never know all I need to know about breastfeeding. I refuse to tout myself as an expert, because I wont always know the answer. I will never stop learning though, and I thank you all so much for allowing me to learn just a tiny bit more through your personal experiences.
Love – a woman obsessed,