Breastfeeding Past the Societal Norm
What’s “normal” isn’t always what’s common. What’s common isn’t always what’s acceptable. By definition, normal is conforming to a standard, usual, typical, or expected. Common is defined as occurring, found, or done often. The definition of acceptable is, able to be tolerated or allowed. Breaking down the societal norm on breastfeeding isn’t anything new. As the decades roll by, breastfeeding becomes acceptable or obscene. No matter how you slice it, breastfeeding is a means of feeding, nourishing, protecting, consoling, and healing a baby.
What is the Societal Norm?
The average nursing journey for babies in the United States is six months. The CDC (Center for Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization), and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends exclusively breastfeeding (or solely human milk) for the first six months of an infant’s life. These organizations then recommend at least two years of breastfeeding/milk or as long as the baby/nurser wishes, along with the addition of solid foods.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding Past the Societal Norm
What if you had the means to continue to provide the nutrition to a baby with the abilities of the body. Extended breastfeeding past the societal norm is expressed as being any length from 6 months to 1 year. The average breastfeeding relationships in other countries are 2-5 years. While human milk is the optimal first food for infants, the benefits trickle into the baby, toddler, and beyond phases.
For a child that has had a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), the breastfeeding act bridges that “bonding” that may have may been lost. While also providing immunity building and protection long after they are home. For the child that has a high sensitivity to foods, breastfeeding/breastmilk long after six months to two years provides gut health that protects and heals the gut as it develops and matures. The mental and emotional connection to breast/chestfeeding is beneficially unmeasurable.
Going beyond “feed the baby”, lies an undertone of “but do it this way or that for the comfort of society”. YOU are nurturing and raising a tiny human. Find peace in knowing that YOU are doing what’s best/right/etc for you and your baby…. toddler…big kid.
HAPPY NATIONAL BREASTFEEDING MONTH!