I breastfed both of my sons till they were two and I’ve never even thought about how much time that worked out to be.
Until I read this tweet:
Someone just told me she had spent roughly 4866 hours of her life breastfeeding and that breastmilk is only free if we think of women’s time, bodies, and carework as worthless.
. . . . . . . ??
— Kera Lovell, Ph.D. (@keralovell) January 11, 2019
Breastfeeding definitely gives you a new appreciation of time and how you spend it. I often wondered to myself what I did all day before I started!
There’s no second to waste when you have a baby to look after.
But as this woman on Twitter so rightly points out, when we espouse that one of the biggest benefits of breastfeeding is that it’s free, we’re inadvertently discounting the emotional and physical “cost” for the mother.
Read more on breastfeeding:
- 5 things that make breastfeeding easier for new mums
- Supply and demand: tips for increasing milk supply
- 10 things women worry about when breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is no walk in the park
Even if you’re one of the lucky few who finds breastfeeding easy, those first few weeks of adjustment are painful and tiring.
I remember working with a woman who had triplets that she was breastfeeding – she said when she wasn’t eating she was resting to maintain her epic supply.
We’re all so quick to say how “easy” breastfeeding can be because it’s so portable. But great self-care is vital when you’re breastfeeding.
With my second son, I especially sought out the advice of Heidi Sze, a postpartum nutritionist because I remembered how hungry I was the first time around.
She set me straight with some simple, nutritious recipes to fuel me up and also, some pointers for what to include in all my meals to make sure they were energy dense.
It made a difference
Drinking lots of water and getting enough rest is also vital to the quality of your milk supply, but also how well you feel.
Point being: there is no such thing as a free lunch and breastfeeding mums need lots of love and support as well as the practical stuff.
So, next time you have a friend with a baby breastfeeding near you, pour her a glass of water, offer her a pillow to support her back and make her something yummy to eat while you’re at it.
She’s sustaining life with those breasts.