My mum breastfed me until I was three. Think about what you were doing three years ago, and grasp how much time has elapsed since then. For that entire period, I sucked glorious milk out of my Mum's boobs. She has no shame in telling people this, and neither do I. I don't care that I could walk. I don't care that I could form sentences and hold conversations. I don't care that Mum would put breast milk onto my weetbix and warm it in the microwave.
My mother and I proudly tell how I was an aggressive little tucker when it came to obtaining what I needed from her body. Having worked closely with Aboriginal people, Mum raised me unawares of crass Western terminology such as tits, breasts, happy sacks, chimichongas, love melons, and snuggle pups, referring to them exclusively under their Banggarla name of 'Mimi'. In the middle of the night I would call out, demanding with conviction that 'MUM, I WANT THE MIM' and after disposing of one milk jug, I would stare up at her and squint my eyes before instructing her it was time. 'Other One', I would tell her and deliver a violent headbutt right in the knockers.
Although it's not something that I go around waving on a flag, it does, at times, come up naturally in conversation with people.
"What did you do today?"
"Oh, worked, went to the shops, met John for a coffee at that new place down the corner, it's actually pretty cool"
"Yeah, awesome, did you know I breastfed till I was three?"
The response is always the same. Eyes widen, heads drop and they look at you as if you just said you masturbate with a rusty coat hanger -
Seriously. And I'm tired of everyone thinking that its indicative of a troubled childhood, or that my Mum's real name is actually Flo when in actual fact - these breastfeeding habits were something to be proud of. If you disagree with me, take this into consideration first.
There's a plethora of reasons why you should aim to get as much of that liquid gold from your Mum as possible. Aside from the fact it's a perfect concotion of every protein, nutrient, vitamin and fat to ensure the development of a healthy child, there's a couple of other things you probably didn't know about the benefits of breastfeeding.
1. Babies are born with no immunity. When their fragile new body contracts a virus, it passes it back to the mother while feeding. The mother is able to develop an immunity to the virus, based on what her system is already familiar with and then pass immunity back to the child through the breast milk. How amazing is that?
2. To put it in layman's terms - the shit of a baby who has been breastfed will smell less foul then that of a baby who hasn't. Three years of that milky goodness has meant my ass and everything that passes through it smells like a bouquet of fresh roses, despite what my housemates might say.
3. Breastfed babies have better jaw alignment and are less likely to need orthodontic work as they get older. So everytime some ripped spunk gets the opportunity of a lifetime to suck face with me and my pearly whites (proof below) they have my mother and her mammary nutrients to thank.
4. Healthy social development is more common in kids who are breastfed. To those who call me a freak because I was learning how to catch a football, remember that I'm probably more socially advanced than you. Think about that the next time your standing awkwardly against the wall of a nightclub, wondering how the bottom of your overpriced vodka soda got so warm so quickly. You probably have your mother and the lack of 36 months worth of breast milk she deprived you from to blame.
5. If you get formula instead of Mumma's vanilla shake, you have to use cow's milk. Using cow's milk increases bovine flatulence, one of the leading green house gases. It's reasonable to assume, then that if aren't breastfed, you are more or less single handedly responsible for climate change, global warming and the impending doom of human beings and subsequent disposition from the face of planet earth. Those poor little polar bears, they didn't deserve to lose their icy homes because you were too proud to be an advanced toilet user and require manual feeding from your mother at the same time. Selfish, really.
Photo via Organic Lifestyle Magazine
If all that wasn't enough to impress you, then get this - the nutritional composition of a mothers breast milk will be entirely determined by what a baby requires, as indicated by it's sucking behaviour. The mothers diet has no part in it. A woman in India, who eats spicy chickpea curry day by day will produce the right milk for her child, as will a socially disadvantaged bogan from the outer-suburbs of Brisbane who lives entirely on KFC or a middle class woman from L.A. who fancies Kale and Quinoa alongside a glass of pressed juice. Now who's going to argue that the bonding between mother and child that goes on during breastfeeding is overrated?
Photo via Healthy Newborn Network
It's not weird that I breastfed for three years. It's just seems extravagant by the unjustified social standard put forth by conservatives who get queasy at the site of an exposed nipple. I say - don't subscribe to such absurdity, it's a perfectly natural and perfectly beautiful thing.Suggest a correction