Disclaimer: I never thought I'd be a breastfeeding activist, but I have come to feel passionately about it. I know there are mothers who are unable to breastfeed for one reason or another, and that most certainly does not make you a bad mother! I just think people should not discount breastfeeding because it's weird or gross. I don't think it should even be considered "crunchy"--it should be the norm! And here's why:
1. Breast is best. This isn't a "slogan" to advance some agenda. It's not an opinion. It's not a bunch of women advocating their right to let their boobs hang out. It's a fact. Breastmilk is absolutely and utterly amazing--we don't even know all the amazing aspects of it. God Himself gave mommies the ability to feed their babies exactly what the babies need. Breastmilk prevents cancer. Breastmilk prevents sickness. Breastmilk can help heal sick babies. Breastmilk changes as a baby grows to adjust to the baby's digestive needs. There is no real substitute for breastmilk. Breast is best.
2. The bond you achieve by nursing your baby is like no other. I don't think anyone who hasn't breastfed a baby will understand this bond. That feeling you get when your baby is born and you see him for the first time? I get that feeling all over again every time I nurse.
3. I am horrible at packing a diaper bag. I *always* forget something (just ask my husband). Half the time I forget to bring the kids something to drink. I always forget snacks. Imagine what kind of pickle we'd be in if we were out for the day and I'd forgotten milk for the baby. Thankfully I don't have to worry about that so I can concentrate on making sure there are actually wipes *in* the diaper bag and not on the table beside it.
4. I have no clue how much my baby eats. 5 oz? 6 oz? 8 oz? I would not know how much to put in a bottle for her. But my body knows exactly how much she needs. We both know when it's time for her to eat, and if she decides she needs to eat a little early, that's fine too. She gets what she needs without eating too much or too little.
5. Breastmilk makes babies smarter. It's a fact. And why wouldn't you want to give your kids that extra advantage?
6. I believe babies need that special snuggle time with Mommy. It makes me sad to see babies holding their own bottles--that's not how God intended for babies to eat! They're supposed to be snuggled up to their mommies getting security and comfort as well as nourishment. There is no more content sound in the world than the sound a nursing baby makes--kind of a half-sigh, half-hum. It relaxes you just to hear it.
7. The memories of nursing your baby will stay with you for the rest of your life. Every time I see a picture of a baby nursing, his little fist holding onto his mommy's shirt, I think of nursing my own sweet babies, their chubby little dimpled hands tugging on my shirt or my hair. I know other nursing mommies have the same experience. I think that's why we like to share pictures so much. :)
8. It's free.
9. When it's time for my baby to eat, she is all mine. No matter what is going on or who is holding her, I'm the only one who can feed her. I have an excuse to be selfish.
10. Breastfeeding empowers you as a mother. You are confident that you are doing what is best for your baby. You don't worry as much about your baby getting sick because you know that your antibodies will fight for her. Making milk truly is a God-given superpower.