We Are Not the Breastfeeding Gestapo
Though the culture of breastfeeding and attachment parenting has been growing so much, and spreading the good news of natural parenting so far and wide over the past decade, I still come into contact with so many women who see breastfeeding supporters as women to be wary of.
Anyone who truly loves and advocates for breastfeeding gets a bad rap once in a while for “pushing” breastfeeding. Even though our society truly needs the connected and compassionate culture that exists in the natural parenting community now more than ever, breastfeeding advocates are too frequently still seen as the “Breastfeeding Gestapo”. . . and I’m writing today to reassure you that it couldn’t be farther from the truth!
In a world that needs a good dose of compassion, the nurture and nourishment of nursing at a mother’s breast is vital to our children now more than ever. But many still struggle with questions surrounding breastfeeding. Is it “for me”? Will I be good at it? Will my milk come in? Do I have to change my whole life in order to breastfeed? Do I have to be an attachment parent to breastfeed?
And the best place to go for answers to those questions is to another breastfeeding mama. So, don’t fear. We are not the “Breastfeeding Gestapo”. Go out and find yourself a fellow breastfeeding mama – we are all just like you, and we want to connect and help!
As I traversed the beautiful and crazy trails of parenting, I found that a great place to find a breastfeeding mama is at a La Leche League Meeting. But regardless of this truth, even my own mother, a child development expert who would agree with everything that the La Leche League advocates – gave me a slight warning when I mentioned that I had called the La Leche League for advice with my first child (now 4).
“Some of those ladies can be a bit extreme.” she warned.
And yet the stubborn, “radical” views . . . the”cult” ideology that many people attribute to the group . . . couldn’t be farther from the truth. The ladies in my La Leche League group could have been cut and pasted from any parenting magazine, coffee shop, or Babies R Us catalog, and they’re all devoted to helping each other.
Wearing normal, stylish tops and jeans and toting our diaper bags, snack cups, and sippies, we gather in the parish hall at the church that hosts our meetings, and parent our little munchkins while talking about the latest news and sharing advice from mom to mom.
This kind of group also exists in attachment parenting groups and holistic moms groups and parenting groups in every community. Getting together with other parents is so healthy for us!
The only difference is that at the sign of need from our little ones, we lift or shift our shirts up or down and offer a breast for nourishment – instead of shaking up a bottle of formula.
We should all have a beautiful parenting experience
I wouldn’t go back on my breastfeeding experience for anything. . . and my vision is that more women worldwide will get the chance to say that about their experience feeding and raising their children. That’s why I breastfeed my children, why I advocate for breastfeeding, and why I proudly pursue my goal to become an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant with fervor and pride.
Breastfeeding is more than food- it’s nourishment and nurture. And those of us who love, educate about, and advocate for breastfeeding. . . don’t be afraid of us. We really are not “breastfeeding Nazis” – we’re not the Breastfeeding Gestapo. . . we’re just moms (and dads and friends and neighbors) just like you, who want you to have a beautiful time nourishing and nurturing your baby!
This post has been edited from a previously published version posted at www.amywilla.com.
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